PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A jury found Jessica Dutro guilty of killing her 4-year-old son because she thought he was gay.
The jury received the case late Wednesday afternoon. They returned a verdict around 5:20 p.m. and found her guilty on all seven counts — one count of felony murder, five counts of murder by abuse and one count of second-degree assault.
She will be sentenced April 18.
In closing arguments, defense attorney Chris Colburn argued to the jury that in order to convict her of murder, the onus is on the prosecution to prove she caused the fatal injuries.
Her boyfriend, Brian Canady, already pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case, and Colburn argued Canady is the only one who could have killed the boy named Zachary.
The defense said that, despite the prosecution’s evidence — including a Facebook message Dutro sent saying her son was being punished because she believed he was going to be gay — there was no way she killed her son.
“Is it a motive for beating the child to death? That’s ridiculous,” Colburn told the jurors. He said the Facebook messag “occured three months before” Zachary was injured and died in 2012.
But District Attorney Megan Johnson painted a picture of a mother with an extreme indifference to the value of human life.
“Not only do we know that she did it, because (her daughter) said so, but because the evidence about Jessica Dutro’s opportunity to do it backs up what (her daughter) said.”
Dutro’s daughter was 7 at the time of Zachary’s death. The girl testified she saw both Dutro and Canady commit the deadly beating.
Prosecutor Johnson said that was among the most convincing evidence.
“They kept hitting him and hitting him because he wasn’t listening,” Johnson said, quoting her daughter’s testimony.