Jessica Dutro, charged with the murder of her 4-year-old son, told prosecutors she did it because she suspected her child was gay.
Dutro, 25, is currently on trial for murder, murder by abuse, and second-degree assault. Jurors heard her explain her motive for fatally beating her son Zachary Dutro-Boggess: she questioned his sexuality.
“He walks and talks like it. Ugh,” Dutro wrote to her boyfriend, Brian Canady, in a Facebook message. Using a pejorative term, Dutro said that her son was “facing the wall” and that Canady would have to “work on him.”
Judge Don Letourneau ruled that the message was admissible evidence against Dutro, as well as internet searches she performed the day her son’s life support was terminated, August 16, 2012. Dutro searched for terms like “anger management” and “parenting classes,” as well as looking at listings for “free stuff” and “sex with strangers.”
Dutro’s 7-year-old daughter has already testified against her in the trial, explaining the horrific way she witnessed how her younger brother “got dead.”
“Jessica and Brian, they kept hitting him and punching him,” she told a detective. “He didn’t listen to them so they kicked him and punched him and stuff and they kept doing it and doing it.”
By the time a doctor saw Zachary, he had collapsed in the homeless shelter south of Portland where the family was living. It was the day after his fourth birthday.
Dr. Danny Leonhardt testified that the child died of abdominal trauma, which had caused tears in his gut.
“We didn’t see him until he essentially was dead,” the doctor said. “We didn’t get a chance to fix him.”
Two of Zachary’s siblings—all except for the youngest, an infant—had also been severely beaten.
Canady has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, admitting to taking part in a pattern of abuse. He agreed to testify against Dutro as part of his plea deal.