Tigard, Ore. (CBS SEATTLE) — An Oregon woman on trial for the murder of her 4-year-old son believed the child was gay, and that was the motive for the deadly trauma inflicted on the boy, prosecutors allege.
Jessica Dutro, 25, is charged with murder, murder by abuse and second-degree assault in the death of her son, Zachary Dutro-Boggess, which prosecutors are linking to Facebook messages Dutro sent her boyfriend describing the boy with derogatory gay slurs.
Her son was going to be gay, she messaged boyfriend Brian Canady, using a slur for homosexuals, Oregon Live reports. “He walks and talks like it. Ugh.”
She insisted that Canady “work on” the boy’s behavior in the Facebook message that Judge Don Letourneau ruled was admissible evidence for the case on Wednesday. The same day that the child’s life support was terminated, Dutro allegedly searched terms regarding anger management and parenting classes. She also reportedly searched listings for free stuff and sex with strangers, Oregon Live reports.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s autopsy revealed that the child died as a result of “blunt force abdominal trauma,” and delayed medical treatment, KOIN-TV reports.
Earlier this month, Canady pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault charges in the death of the 4-year-old. The plea deal would sentence Canady to 12-and-half years in prison if he maintains his latest admission that he kicked Zachary in the stomach two days before the boy died on Aug. 14, 2012.
The child was found covered in bumps and bruises, and later died from two holes in his intestines caused by the blunt-force trauma, Deputy District Attorney Dustin Staten told Oregon Live. Urine and feces seeped from the puncture wounds and harmed his vital organs by the time Canady called an ambulance for help on Aug. 14.
Prosecutors say that Dutro’s motive for the repeated torture and abuse of her three children focused on Zachary for the boy’s perceived homosexuality in a family she ran “like an army.”
Zachary’s 7-year-old sister and 3-year old brother both showed signs of abuse, including multiple fractured ribs, at the beginning of the investigation, Staten said.
However, defense attorneys for Dutro say that she did not hurt her children, and that the 7-year-old’s story about her and Canady beating Zachary is substantiated by no evidence.
“You’re going to hear, in short, a collection of things about Jessica Dutro and none of them are going to be horribly flattering,” Dutro’s defense attorney, Chris Colburn, told the jury on Monday. “And you’re going to hear some stuff that references some unusual parenting. But you won’t hear from a single credible source that Jessica Dutro caused serious physical injury or murdered her child.”
Colburn alleges that boyfriend Canady, who has agreed to testify against Dutro, is to blame for the boy’s deadly beating. He stated that it was Canady who did nothing about the boy’s grave injuries, and that it would be clear who delivered the deadly kick to Zachary.
“By the end of this trial, you will have heard no credible evidence that Jessica Dutro assaulted and killed Zachary,” Colburn said. “We will ask you to find her not guilty of the charges she now faces.”