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Ex-cop guilty in murders of girlfriend, unborn baby

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« on: February 15, 2008, 11:17:32 am »

Ex-cop guilty in murders of girlfriend, unborn baby

Story Highlights
NEW: Bobby Cutts Jr. guilty of murders of Jessie Davis, unborn child

Jury deliberated for nearly 22 hours in murder trial of former police officer

"I didn't mean to hurt her," Bobby Cutts Jr. testified

Cutts faces the death penalty in death of baby Chloe

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By Mallory Simon

(CNN) -- A jury in Canton, Ohio, found former police officer Bobby Cutts Jr., guilty of murdering his pregnant girlfriend, Jessie Marie Davis, and their unborn child.

Grasping tissues and moaning, Bobby Cutts Jr. testitfied he never meant to hurt girlfriend Jessie Davis.

 1 of 3  The jury of six men and six women reached the verdict after more than 21 hours of deliberations.

Jurors found Cutts guilty of aggravated murder for the unlawful termination of Davis' pregnancy.

But the jury found him guilty of a lesser murder count in the death of Davis.

Davis was nine months pregnant when she disappeared. She had chosen the name Chloe for her daughter.

Jurors found that baby Chloe was killed during the commission of another crime, making Cutts eligible for the death penalty.

As the verdicts were read, Cutts remained stoic, a stark contrast to his tearful testimony on Monday.  Watch the verdicts »

Jurors began deliberations late Tuesday afternoon. They had been sequestered, spending nights at a nearby hotel, cut off from exposure to the media and other potential influences.

According to testimony, Cutts, 30, rolled Davis' body in a comforter and dumped it in a park, leaving their 2˝-year-old son alone.

Cutts sobbed on the witness stand as he admitted killing Davis and their unborn child, whom Davis intended to call Chloe. But Cutts insisted that their deaths were an accident.

"I didn't mean to hurt her," Cutts testified, clasping a handful of tissues. "This isn't real," he said he kept telling himself.

Prosecutors discounted Cutts' story, claiming he buckled under the financial pressure of child support, killed the mother of his child and then created a cover story to try to get away with it.

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On the stand, Cutts said he went to pick up his son Blake and became agitated when Davis, 26, wasn't moving fast enough to get the boy ready. He said he tried to leave her house but she grabbed him to keep him from leaving, and he accidentally elbowed her in the throat.

Cutts told the jury he performed CPR on Davis and then tried to revive her with bleach. When he realized Davis was dead, Cutts said he panicked and put her in the back of his truck, so Blake wouldn't have to see his mother.

Myisha Ferrell, Cutts' longtime friend, testified for the prosecution that when Cutts appeared at her home at 6 a.m, -- after Davis died, she learned later.

She said she could tell he was distraught. When they left her home in his truck, she found out why.

"We drove off and he said something was wrong," she said. "He said, 'Something bad.'"

"He said something was wrong with his baby's mother."

Ferrell told the jury Cutts started speaking erratically as they drove, then blurted out, "She's in the back."

Ferrell admitted she helped dump Davis' body in a field and said Cutts later coached her on what to say to police.

Ferrell was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to lying to authorities and complicity to gross abuse of a corpse.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Dennis Barr said Cutts strangled and killed Davis and her unborn child because of his mounting debt and child support for what would have been his fourth child.

Cutts' own actions following Davis' disappearance were a clear indications of his guilt, he said.

"His reaction is the reaction of person who committed a crime and is trying to cover it up," Barr said.

Davis disappeared in June and the search for her attracted national attention. At that time, Cutts repeatedly denied he had any involvement. But Cutts eventually led police to her body.

"For nine days he kept the location of [Davis' body] a secret and went on about his life, every day knowing that Jessie and Chloe were laying there rotting away, destroying the evidence," Barr said.

Prosecutors also reminded the jury of the testimony one of Cutts' friends, Richard Mitchell, who claimed the former police officer threatened to kill Davis one month before she disappeared.

"I'm going to kill that [expletive] and throw her in the woods," Mitchell quoted Cutts as saying.

In their closings, Cutts' attorneys acknowledged their client's poor judgment after Davis' death, but said the prosecution had not presented any witnesses to support their claim that Cutts was in financial distress.

They urged the jury to find Cutts not guilty on the basis that the prosecution did not prove their case that he intentionally killed Davis.

Fernando Mack, a defense lawyer, admitted Cutts' judgment lapsed when he wrapped Davis' body up and went to dispose of it, leaving their toddler alone with the bleach-soaked rug.

But he cautioned jurors against deciding Cutts' fate based on an emotional response to ugly facts. "Will it outrage you? Absolutely. But, Blake being left home alone doesn't tell you about aggravated murder."

"You don't know what happened in that house," defense attorney Carolyn Ranke said. E-mail to a friend
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"Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances."

Thomas Jefferson

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