Ohio jury spares ex-cop from death for killing girlfriend, fetus; no parole for 57 years

By Thomas J. Sheeran

CANTON, Ohio – A former police officer was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with a chance of parole after 57 years for killing his pregnant lover and their unborn child.

Jurors spared Bobby Cutts Jr. the death penalty on the most serious charge, an aggravated murder count in the death of the fetus.

Cutts, 30, had sobbed on the witness stand when he claimed the death of 26-year-old Jessie Davis from an elbow to the throat last June was an accident during an argument. He said he dumped her body in a park in a panic. He returned to the stand after his conviction to ask jurors to spare his life.

Prosecutors argued that Cutts killed Davis and the nearly full-term baby at her home in northeast Ohio to avoid making child support payments.

The couple’s son, Blake, then 2«, was found home alone and gave investigators their first clues to his mother’s disappearance when he said, “Mommy’s crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy’s in the rug,” and later, “Daddy’s mad.”

For more than a week, Cutts denied knowledge of her whereabouts as thousands searched in the area amid blanket national cable TV coverage. He finally led authorities to the body, wrapped in a comforter.

The victim’s mother, Patty Porter, wept as she told the judge she was risking her family’s disapproval in asking for Cutts to be freed at some point to share life with his son, now 3.

“I hope and pray I can raise him to forgive you,” she told Cutts. “He knows what you did. You would not believe the stories he’s told us.”

“I do forgive you,” she said, drawing tears from members of his family.

Outside the courthouse, Davis’ father, Ned Davis, said he hadn’t forgiven Cutts.

“He violently murdered my daughter and granddaughter. What would you do?” Davis said. “Mr. and Mrs. Cutts did not raise him to do this, of that I’m sure. Everybody lost today.”

For the aggravated murder charge in the death of the unborn baby, the judge accepted the jury’s recommendation of life in prison with parole eligibility after 30 years.

The additional years without parole that were tacked on to Cutts’ sentence were for charges of murder in Davis’ death, abuse of a corpse, burglary and child endangering for leaving Blake Davis alone.

Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles Brown Jr. rejected a defense request to merge the sentences against Cutts, 30, but he could have allowed parole eligibility earlier.

Cutts, who resigned from the Canton Police Department, was acquitted of a more serious aggravated murder charge in Davis’ death. Defense attorneys said in the past that they felt acquitting Cutts of aggravated murder in Davis’ death but finding him guilty of aggravated murder in the baby’s death was inconsistent. The issue might be part of an appeal, the defense has said.