It took a Portland-area jury about an hour Wednesday to reach a guilty verdict for a mom who, along with her boyfriend, fatally beat her son a day before his fourth birthday, after she complained that he seemed gay.
In a Facebook message that was read to the jury, Jessica Dutro told her boyfriend, Brian Canady, that her son, Zachary, was “facing the wall,” and that she knew he was going to be gay. “He walks like it and talks like it, ugh, she wrote, adding that Canady needed to “work on” the boy “big time.”
As part of a plea deal that convicts him of lesser manslaughter and assault charges, Canady admitted before Dutro’s trial to kicking the boy in the stomach.
During the trial, prosecutor Megan Johnson suggested the Facebook message showed Dutro’s motive. However, in her closing arguments Wednesday, she focused not on the message but on the recorded words of Dutro’s daughter, which were shared during the trial.
“They beat up my brother, then he died,” the girl told her counselor, “I seen them,” The Oregonian reported.
When Zachary went to the hospital Aug. 14, 2012, two days after the fatal beating, doctors examined his siblings, according to medical testimony, The Oregonian reported. The sister, then 7, and a brother, then 3, were covered in bruises and the boy also had five broken ribs. Only Dutro’s infant son was uninjured.
Defense lawyer Chris Colburn argued there was no evidence tying Dutro to the beating which, he said, happened outside of her presence. He said the Facebook message was offensive, but was meant as a joke and had nothing to do with Zachary’s death.
Dutro is scheduled to be sentenced April 18 in Washington County Circuit Court.