A former Ohio police officer was convicted of murder today for killing his pregnant lover and her unborn baby.
After deliberating for more than two days, a jury in Canton, Ohio, found Bobby Cutts Jr. guilty of murder in the death of Jessie Davis and aggravated murder for the death of her unborn child, apparently rejecting Cutts' claim that he accidentally killed Davis during an argument June 14. Cutts, who sat stone-faced while the judge read the verdict, faces a possible death sentence for killing Davis' baby.
Cutts' family declined to comment to reporters outside the courthouse.
In emotional testimony earlier this week, Cutts said he mistakenly killed Davis by elbowing her in the throat, leaving the jury to decide whether her death was a terrible accident or whether Cutts intentionally strangled her, as prosecutors said. After taking part in a nine-day search that drew national attention, Cutts led police to Davis' body.
In closing statements on Tuesday, assistant prosecutor Dennis Barr discounted Cutts' testimony, describing instead a man growing increasingly desperate under the weight of financial pressure. "He knew he was suffocating Jessie, he was strangling Jessie, he was killing that baby inside of her," Barr said.
In an interview with ABC News earlier this week, veteran defense lawyer Ron Kuby, who was not involved in the case, said that though Cutts appeared sincere in his testimony, it would be difficult for a jury to find him not guilty.
"Usually, when you've done something awful, you pause and reflect. You call for assistance," he said. "What an innocent person does not do is wrap up a body and dump it and spend the next week searching for it. Those actions are so utterly inconsistent it will be hard for a jury to accept it."
Cutts, 30, told the jury that he swung his elbow at Davis during a confrontation in her bedroom when she refused to allow him to leave her home. The blow to her throat, which he testified happened after she bit his finger, knocked her back, killing her as their 2-year-old son, Blake, slept, he said.
Cutts, who as a cop had emergency response training, said he performed CPR and then searched for rubbing alcohol to use as a smelling salt to revive the woman. When he couldn't find any, he said, he retrieved a bleach container and tried bleach, knocking the container over and spilling bleach on the floor. Davis did not respond.
"This can't be happening," Cutts recalled thinking as he wrapped her body in a comforter. "This is not real. This is a bad dream."
Cutts testified that he went to friend Myisha Farrell's house without calling police with his lover's dead body in the bed of Davis' truck. He said he initially was going to have Ferrell watch Blake but instead, drove around in a panic, came to a dirt road and pulled into a wooded area where they dumped the body. Ferrell already has testified that Cutts showed her how he choked Davis with his arm.
Nine days later, after taking part in a search that drew national attention and more than 1,000 volunteers, Cutts led authorities to her body.
In his tearful, two-hour testimony with his defense attorney, Cutts said he was so intent on making the whole scenario go away, that he even called Jessie Davis.
"I'm like, is it real? Did it happen?" he said. "What if I call Jessie? Will everything be all right?"
But during the cross-examination, assistant prosecutor Dennis Barr zeroed in on why Cutts, a police officer in Canton, Ohio, would not call 911 immediately -- especially when the unborn child, who was to be named Chloe, could have survived with immediate medical attention. The suspect, now facing an aggravated murder charge and the possibility of the death penalty, said he could not figure out how to use Davis' cell phone.
Then, Barr asked, "You run down and get your phone and call 911?"
"No, I did not," Cutts said.
Barr also invoked a detail that seemingly contradicts Cutts' testimony that the child slept through the deadly confrontation. When police arrived at Davis' condo, they found Blake alone. Police said he told them, "Mommy's in the rug."
"How does Blake know his mommy's in the rug?" Barr asked. Barr withdrew the question after defense attorneys objected.
Ohio prosecutors have built a case around Cutts' character, arguing that he was under intense pressure in his personal and financial life as he struggled to support children from multiple mothers.