Home | News | Regional | Oregon mother 'beat her four-year-old son until his intestines tore because she thought he was gay'

Oregon mother 'beat her four-year-old son until his intestines tore because she thought he was gay'

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  • Jessica Dutro, 25, charged with murder in august 2012 death of her son Zachary Dutro-Boggess
  • Dutro's boyfriend, Brian Canady, 25, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault, and agreed to testify against the mother
  • Miss Dutro sent Facebook message to Canady saying that Zachary 'walks and talks like it [gay]', and that the boyfriend would have to 'work on' him
  • Dutro's 7-year-old daughter told detectives how her mother and Canady repeatedly beat Zachary until he 'got dead'
  • Doctor who examined 4-year-old testified that contents of his ripped bowels leaked into his body for at least two days
  • All of Zachary's siblings also showed signs of abuse, exceot for Dutro and Canady's infant son

By Snejana Farberov and Associated Press Reporter

PUBLISHED: 13:35 EST, 27 March 2014 | UPDATED: 19:09 EST, 27 March 2014



An Oregon woman accused of beating her 4-year-old son to death believed the boy was gay and that was a motive behind the murder, according to the prosecution.

Jessica Dutro's son Zachary died in August 2012, days after collapsing at the homeless shelter where his family was living southwest of Portland.

Washington County Judge Don Letourneau ruled Wednesday, after jurors were released for the day, that a Facebook message from Dutro to her boyfriend was admissible evidence.

Jessica Dutro
Brian Canady

On trial: Jessica Dutro (left) is accused of beating her 4-year-old son to death with the help of her boyfriend, Brian Canady (right), because she thought the toddler was gay

Crime scene: Zachary Dutro-Boggess was found unconscious August 14, 2012, in the homeless shelter Good Neighbor Center in Tigard, Oregon

Crime scene: Zachary Dutro-Boggess was found unconscious August 14, 2012, in the homeless shelter Good Neighbor Center in Tigard, Oregon

In the message, Dutro told her boyfriend, Brian Canady, that Zachary was 'facing the wall' because he had made her angry.

Her son was going to be gay, she wrote, using a slur. 'He walks and talks like it. Ugh.'

Canady would have to 'work on' Zachary, she wrote.

The message established Dutro's motive for inflicting a pattern of abuse, prosecutor Megan Johnson said. Dutro assaulted three of her children, but Zachary received the harshest treatment, authorities said.

The judge ruled additional web searches done by Dutro were also admissible, The Oregonian reported.

On August 16, 2012, the day her son was taken off life support, Miss Dutro searched terms such as anger management and parenting classes, prosecutors said.

She also searched listings for free stuff and sex with strangers, they said.

Earlier this month, Canady pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault for his role in the homicide.

Zachary Dutro-Boggess died of blunt-force trauma to his abdomen and a delay in medical treatment, prosecutors said.

Dutro, 25, is charged with murder, murder by abuse and second-degree assault.

Admission of guilt: Brian Canady (center) pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault earlier this month

Admission of guilt: Brian Canady (center) pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault earlier this month

On August 14, 2012, Jessica Dutro and her boyfriend called 911 to report that her son was unconscious after collapsing at Good Neighbor Center, a family homeless shelter.

Little Zachary, who just turned four the day before, was rushed to a Portland hospital where doctors diagnosed him with blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, which caused his bowels to tear.

The toddler was taken off the ventilator two days later.

On March 4, Brian Canady, 24, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in Zachary's death and agreed to testify against Dutro as a witness for the prosecution.

Under the plea agreement, the more serious charges against him, including four counts of murder by abuse and one count of second-degree assault, have been dropped.

When questioned by detectives, the man admitted that he had kicked Zachary in the stomach because the boy wanted to take off his shoes before sitting down to watch TV, as Canady had ordered him.

During a hearing Tuesday, the jury got to hear an audio recording of an interviews that detectives had conducted with Miss Dutro's 7-year-old daughter, who described how her mother and Canady allegedly hit and punched Zachary until he 'got dead.'

The girl also told police that the couple often hit her and her siblings for 'not being good.'

The 7-year-old recounted how her brother was repeatedly struck by his parents for not listening until he got sick.

Jessica Dutro pictured just days after Zachary's killing
Plea deal: Canady has agreed to testify against his girlfriend in exchange for the more serious charges against him being dropped

Plea deal: Canady has agreed to testify against his girlfriend in exchange for the more serious charges against him being dropped

The boy eventually stopped breathing, but his sister told police that Dutro and her boyfriend 'didn’t tell anybody.'

On the morning of August 14, Dutro placed Zachary in the shower because he had wet himself, but the child's body was limp and his eyes rolled.

Dr. Danny Leonhardt, who examined Zachary, testified that by the time his parents sought medical help for the toddler, he 'essential was dead.'

Leonhardt said that the contents of his torn intestines had leaked out into his body for at least two days, resulting in a deadly infection.

Besides the injuries to Zachary’s abdomen similar to those seen in car crashes, the child's body was covered in bruises suggesting prolonged, repeated abuse.

Leonhardt said that in the hospital, he caught a glimpse of Zachary's 3-year-old brother and said that the child's face was covered in scrapes. An exam later showed that the toddler had five broken ribs in various stages of healing.

The physician evaluated the victim’s siblings and concluded that all of them had been abused, save for Dutro and Canady's infant son. 

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