- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 16, 2008

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — The toddler’s words to investigators were chilling: Mommy’s crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy’s in the rug, and, later, Daddy’s mad.

The statements by the 2½-year-old son of former police officer Bobby Cutts Jr. and his pregnant lover, Jessie Davis, were investigators’ first clues that Cutts may have had something to do with her disappearance.

A jury decided yesterday that he did. Cutts was convicted of killing Davis and her unborn child — a verdict that could land him a death sentence. Cutts sat with his hands on his lap and held his head erect without emotion as the verdicts were read.

Miss Davis’ mother found the couple’s son, Blake, home alone June 14 and called police. Bedroom furniture was toppled, and there was a pool of bleach on her floor.

After denying knowledge of Miss Davis’ whereabouts for over a week as thousands searched for her, Cutts, then an officer on the Canton police force, led investigators to her body, wrapped in a comforter and dumped in a park about 20 miles from her home.

Faced with mounting evidence at his trial implicating him in Miss Davis’ death, Cutts took the stand and tearfully explained that he accidentally killed Miss Davis, 26, at her Lake Township home by putting an elbow to her throat when she tried to prevent him from leaving her house. He said he then panicked and got rid of her body.

Prosecutors told the jury that Cutts killed Miss Davis to get out of child support payments for a fourth child. He was the father of Miss Davis’ unborn child and the toddler; his other two children were with other women.

Cutts, 30, was convicted of aggravated murder in the death of the nearly full-term child, a girl, which carries the possible death penalty sentence. The jury found him not guilty of aggravated murder in Miss Davis’ death, a count that includes intent to kill with prior calculation. But they convicted him of a lesser charge of murder in her death.

Defense attorneys asked Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. to declare a mistrial because the differing verdicts on the two counts. Judge Brown rejected the request, saying the charges involved separate individuals: Miss Davis and the baby.

Cutts also was convicted of abuse of a corpse, burglary and child endangering. Jurors will return later this month to weigh a sentencing recommendation.

Prosecutor Dennis Barr told the jury that Cutts’ story made no sense and said a police officer wouldn’t hide a body unless he was covering up a criminal act. He noted Cutts’ testimony that he sprayed down his truck after getting rid of Miss Davis’ body because of bugs on his windshield.

Is that reasonable? Mr. Barr asked. Or is it more reasonable to think that he stopped and washed that truck to get rid of trace evidence?

Jurors will return Feb. 25 to hear evidence on whether to recommend the death penalty. The aggravated murder count could also bring life in prison without parole or life with parole eligibility after at least 20 years.

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