CANTON, Ohio (AP) – Jurors considering the fate of a former police officer who murdered his pregnant lover and their unborn child didn't believe he meant to kill the woman in her home.
"Nobody ever felt he went there to kill her. Whatever came about, came about as a result of something that happened when he got there," jury foreman Charles Gillespie said Wednesday.
The jury determined that they would not recommend the death penalty for Bobby Cutts Jr. for the aggravated murder of the unborn female fetus. He also was convicted of the lesser charge of murder for killing Jessie Davis, 26.
Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles Brown Jr. sentenced him to 57 years to life in prison for the murders and other convictions associated with the deaths.
Gillespie said jurors didn't buy the prosecution's argument that Cutts went to Davis' house planning to kill her over mounting child support, and that they didn't recommend execution because the 30-year-old Cutts didn't have a history of violence.
But, Gillespie said, Cutts didn't do himself any favors when he took the witness stand and testified that Davis died last June when he accidentally hit her in the throat with his elbow during an argument, and that he dumped her body in a park in a panic.
"He didn't grab a cell phone and try to get help," Gillespie said. "He just rolled her up in the blanket."
He said jurors also were concerned that Cutts had left the couple's son Blake, then 2½, alone at Davis' house after the deaths.
"How could he be so callous? How could he leave his son for over a day? It sure came down against him," Gillespie said. "There was a lot of testimony about him being a good father. One of the things we talked about was 'How much effort did he really make?'"
Davis' mother, Patty Porter, found Blake home alone at the Lake Township home in northeast Ohio. He gave investigators their first clues to his mother's disappearance when he said, "Mommy's crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in the rug," and later, "Daddy's mad."
Porter said Wednesday she knew from the start that Cutts was to blame for the deaths but she has forgiven him.
"I never in my heart wanted to believe you could hurt her, but in my soul I knew you had," a sobbing Porter told Cutts just prior to his sentencing.
Porter offered forgiveness, in part because she must raise Blake, now 3.
"I would have never been able to raise Blake and hate you," Porter said as Cutts' family quietly cried and court deputies passed around tissue boxes to the families of both Cutts and Davis. "And I hope and pray I'm able to raise him to forgive you. He knows what you did. You would not believe the stories he's told us."
Porter said she was risking the disapproval of relatives by offering forgiveness.
"Your honor, I may not have a family to go home to after this, but I pray that you make a way for this man to someday be able to get out of there and begin a new life, and to hold his son, maybe as a man," she said.
For more than a week, Cutts denied knowledge of her whereabouts as thousands searched in the area amid national media coverage. He finally led authorities to the body, wrapped in a comforter.
Cutts' attorney Fernando Mack said Cutts would appeal his conviction. Assistant Prosecutor Dennis Barr said he was confident the conviction would withstand any appeal.
Outside the courthouse, Davis' father, Ned Davis, was asked about his ex-wife's offer of forgiveness and said he hadn't forgiven Cutts.
"He violently murdered my daughter and granddaughter. What would you do?" Davis said. "Mr. and Mrs. Cutts did not raise him to do this, of that I'm sure. Everybody lost today."
Associated Press writer Joe Milicia in Cleveland contributed to this report.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.