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Jury finds mother guilty of murdering 4-year-old son she thought was gay

Thursday, April 3, 2014
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PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon woman has been found guilty of the murder of her 4-year-old son.

Prosecutors said Jessica Dutro believed her son was gay, and that was the motive behind the beatings that led to his death.

Jessica Dutro (left) and Brian Canady.

Jessica Dutro (left) and Brian Canady.

Dutro, 25, was convicted Wednesday on one count of murder, five counts of murder by abuse, and one count of second-degree assault in the death of 4-year-old Zachary Dutro.

The jury deliberated for little more than one hour before handing down the unanimous verdict.

According to trial records, Dutro had instructed her boyfriend, Brian Canady, to “work on” her son, sending Canady a Facebook message that she thought Zachary was gay.

“He walks and talks like it. Ugh,” Dutro wrote.

An autopsy conducted by the state medical examiner’s office determined that Zachary died due to complications resulting from blunt force abdominal trauma.

Court records revealed that Canady admitted kicking the boy in the stomach before his death.

The investigation ultimately revealed a history of physical abuse by the Durto and Canady.

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Senior Deputy District Attorney Megan Johnson told jurors that Dutro subjected her children to “systematic dehumanization” through brutal beatings — her method of discipline, reported The Oregonian.

When Zachary went to the hospital, doctors examined his siblings, too. His then-7-year-old sister and 3-year-old brother were covered in bruises; doctors found the 3-year-old had five broken ribs. Only Dutro’s infant son was uninjured.

Dutro’s family members are now caring for her surviving three children.

Last month, Canady pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault for his involvement the child’s death.

Dutro’s sentencing was set for April 18. Canady has not yet been sentenced.

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