Tigard woman gets life in prison for killing son
April 18, 2014
TIGARD, Ore. – The mother of a murdered 4-year-old Tigard boy
was sentenced Friday to life in prison.
During Jessica Dutro’s trial, prosecutors argued that she
killed her son, Zachary, in part because she believed he was gay.
She was found guilty of murder, murder by abuse and
Investigators said Dutro and her boyfriend, Brian Canady, beat
the child to death in August, 2012 at a Tigard homeless shelter.
Canady pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 12.5
years in prison.
Neither can ever again have contact with Zachary's three
siblings, including his 8-year-old sister who witnessed the
beating and testified in the case.
"You made an 8-year-old come here and testify, in front of a
jury, when you have no tryable case," said Washington County
Circuit Court Judge Don Letourneau. "That is very low."
He added that Canady's actions were low, but not as low as
She will be eligible for parole in 25 years.
Jessica Dutro gets life in prison for son's
death; Brian Canady gets 12 years
By Emily E. Smith - OregonLive.com
April 18, 2014
For her 4-year-old son’s death, Jessica Dutro
received a life sentence Friday in Washington County Circuit
She'll serve 25 years before she gets her first
chance at parole.
In half that time, her boyfriend, Brian Canady,
will have been released from prison for his role in the child’s
Prosecutors say the pair committed a deadly
assault on Zachary Dutro-Boggess in a Tigard homeless shelter,
then watched as his health deteriorated. They called for help only
when he was beyond saving.
Emergency crews took the unresponsive boy to a
Portland hospital Aug. 14, 2012, the day after his 4th birthday.
He was taken off life support two days later.
Washington County jurors convicted Dutro of
murder and second-degree assault earlier this month. Canady
pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and second-degree
manslaughter in March. They were both sentenced Friday afternoon.
Authorities say the pair subjected Zachary, his
older sister and one of his brothers to a pattern of abuse.
When Zachary arrived at the hospital his
brother, then 3, had five broken ribs and bruises all over his
body. His then 7-year-old sister was also covered in bruises.
She eventually disclosed that Dutro and Canady
gave the children “lickins.” The girl, who testified against Dutro
at trial, told investigators she witnessed the couple’s fatal
attack on Zachary.
Dutro, 25, and Canady, 24, have one son
together. Doctors did not find evidence of abuse on the child, who
was still a baby when Zachary died.
On Friday, prosecutors put up a poster-sized
picture of the smiling, surviving siblings – now ages 8, 4 and 2 –
in the courtroom.
Canady’s eyes froze on the image when he came
into the room Friday afternoon. He sat with his attorneys in the
jury box for the duration of the hearing.
Canady watched Dutro as she entered and took
her seat with her lawyers at the defense table. Both defendants
were in jail scrubs and handcuffs. Both declined to speak.
Dutro’s parents and sisters, who now care for
her children, wrote a statement, which prosecutor Dustin Staten
read during the hearing.
In Dutro’s and Canady’s care, the family wrote,
the children were ruled by violence and lacked any sense of joy.
“These four beautiful children lived every day
in fear. Fear of wondering if they would be beat or not,” the
When Zachary died and his siblings began living
with their grandparents, the children showed clear signs of
neglect, the family said.
The two youngest didn’t move or play like
children their age. All three were behind in their physical,
social and educational development. Over time, the family wrote,
they have begun to catch up.
Zachary’s older sister is a sweet, caring
third-grader, Dutro’s family said.
His younger brother, now 4, “rarely ever stops
talking” and “plays joyfully with his many friends.”
His baby brother, now 2, learned "on
fast-forward" to hold himself up, crawl and walk.
The family wants to draw attention to child
abuse and neglect in Zachary’s memory. “His short life will always
be cherished, never forgotten,” they wrote.
Dutro’s sentence was mandated by Measure 11.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Megan Johnson said there was no
sentence appropriate for the level of harm and devastation that
Dutro had caused.
Judge Don Letourneau kept his comments brief.
“Parents are supposed to protect their kids,”
Letourneau told Dutro. “And you were the most dangerous thing in
your kids’ lives.”
Letourneau told her she’d failed to learn from
her prior assault conviction in Hawaii and the court-ordered
parenting classes she’d taken there.
“And then you made an 8-year-old come here and
testify in front of jury when you had no triable case,” he said.
“That is low.”
Canady’s sentence was determined as part of a
plea agreement. Prosecutors originally charged both defendants
with Zachary’s murder. The plea offer for Canady came after the
judge ruled his statements inadmissible, prosecutors said last
Dutro was escorted out of the courtroom in
tears before Canady was sentenced.
Letourneau told Canady he was a “close second”
to Dutro in dangerousness to the children.
“That’s a very slim distinction,” the judge
Oregon mom, 25, sentenced to
life in prison for savagely beating her four-year-old son to death
because he 'walked and talked gay'
Zachary Dutro-Boggess, 4, died in August 2012
after being beaten so severely his intestines tore
Mother Jessica Dutro, 25, was found guilty of
On Friday she was sentenced to life in prison
Dutro's boyfriend, Brian Canady, 25, pleaded
guilty to manslaughter and assault, and agreed to testify against
He was sentenced to 12 and a half years prison
Dutro sent a Facebook message to Canady saying
that Zachary 'walks and talks like it [gay]', and that the
boyfriend would have to 'work on' him
Doctor who examined four-year-old testified
that contents of his ripped bowels leaked into his body for at
least two days
April 19, 2014
A 25-year-old Oregon mother has
been sentenced to life in prison for the beating murder of her
four-year-old son, who slowly died of severe abuse in a homeless
Jessica Dutro was sentenced Friday
after being convicted of killing her son Zachary Dutro-Burgess,
with a Washington County jury hearing earlier this month that her
motive for the murder was believing the little boy was gay.
Under state law, Dutro will be eligible for parole after 25 years,
according to The Oregonian.
Her boyfriend, Brian
Canady, was also sentenced Friday for his role in the August 2012
Canady, who received a plea deal after
testifying against his girlfriend, pleaded guilty to the lesser
charges of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault.
He received a sentence of 12 and a half years in prison.
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 in which the couple
lived with Dutro's three children.
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.
He died of blunt-force trauma to his abdomen and delay in medical
treatment, prosecutors said.
evidence revealed in court, Dutro wrote to her boyfriend on
Facebook to tell him she feared her son was gay, using a slur: 'He
walks and talks like it. Ugh.'
Canady would have
to 'work on' Zachary, she wrote.
established Dutro's motive for inflicting a pattern of abuse,
prosecutor Megan Johnson said.
all 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
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,
Earlier last month, Canady pleaded
guilty to manslaughter and assault for his role in the homicide
after agreeing to testify against Dutro as a witness for the
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 last month, the jury got to hear an audio
recording of an interview 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.'
recounted how her brother was repeatedly struck by his parents for
not listening until he got sick.
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
Dr. Danny Leonhardt, who examined
Zachary, testified that by the time his parents sought medical
help for the toddler, he 'essentially 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
Besides the injuries to Zachary’s
abdomen similar to those seen in car crash victims, 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.
physician evaluated the victim’s siblings and concluded that all
of them had been abused, save for Dutro and Canady's infant son.
Quotable moments from Jessica Dutro's murder trial in fatal
abuse of her 4-year-old son
By Emily E. Smith - OregonLive.com
Jurors listened to closing arguments in Jessica Dutro's Washington
County murder trial for more than three hours on Wednesday. They
took a little more than an hour to find her guilty.
The primary questions for the jury: Did Dutro subject her son,
4-year-old Zachary Dutro-Boggess, to a pattern of abuse that ended
in a deadly beating? And, knowing Zachary was fatally injured, did
Dutro fail to summon medical help and allow him to die before her
After days of testimony, attorneys on each side argued their cases
with passion. These are some of the quotes that stood out. You can
read all of the coverage of this week's case, including the
verdict, closing arguments and days of testimony.
Quotes from Senior Deputy District Attorney Megan Johnson
On evidence photos of Zachary's and his siblings' injuries:
"You saw the pictures of those children's little bodies that day.
If all you had was picture after picture after picture of their
little bodies, would you really need anything more? I suspect
On Dutro's parenting:
"What happens if you're not a good listener in Jessica Dutro's
home? You get beat."
On what Dutro's young daughter thought would happen if she told on
"She would be beaten for her transgressions because that's what
Jessica Dutro does in the face of perceived insolence and
On the girl's statement to a hospital nurse when her brother
Zachary was dying:
"She looked up at the nurse and said, 'At least I have other
brothers.' That is evidence that she knew her brother was going to
On Dutro's statements of denial:
"Jessica Dutro's lies are narcissistic and offensive. And it gives
you a glimpse into who could do something like this. Her concern
throughout is for herself and her own skin and not her dying son."
On Dutro not seeking medical care for Zachary:
"Zachary literally dies so that she wouldn't have to self-report.
They beat him to death, and she allowed him to die in that room,
in her presence, so that she wouldn't have to admit to having hurt
Quotes from defense attorney Chris Colburn
On the plea deal for Dutro's boyfriend, Brian Canady:
"He was facing life with a minimum of 25 years, and he was given
his life back. (The state) said all we want is for you to testify
against Jessica Dutro. And even at the end of that, he could not
provide a narrative that made the state comfortable they could put
him on the stand."
On the statements from Dutro's daughter:
"Don't confuse bravery and courage and charm and sympathy with
reliability. Because we have to decide if her story is reliable,
not just in broad strokes."
On evidence that Dutro was unemotional as Zachary was dying in the
"It's poppycock, it's not legitimate. ... What at that point is
Ms. Dutro supposed to do? Is she supposed to hang on his every
second with the hope that his eyelids flutter?"
On Dutro failing to seek medical help for Zachary:
"All the evidence that you've heard in the last eight days has
suggested, if not proven to you, that she was not aware of and did
not disregard a substantial risk that Zachary was that ill."
On Dutro's use of a slur in reference to Zachary, in Facebook
"Keep in mind the context of that statement and how it was
received. The immediate response is LOL -- laughing out loud --
indicating that the recipient at least thought it was a joke. Is
it a funny joke? No. Is it a joke anyone else would make? No. Is
it proof she had unrealistic expectations of her children?
Absolutely not. Is it motive for beating her child to death? That
is patently ridiculous."
On the question of who killed Zachary:
"It is evident beyond a reasonable doubt who delivered the blows
to Zachary Dutro-Boggess. It is also evident that the state has
failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Jessica
Dutro who delivered those blows. It is clear beyond a shadow of a
doubt that Brian Canady did it."
Jessica Dutro murder trial: Defense
argues evidence failed to prove Tigard mom killed 4-year-old
By Emily E. Smith - OregonLive.com
The jury is out in the case of
Jessica Dutro, a Tigard mother accused of beating her 4-year-old
son to death.
Deliberations began in the
Washington County murder trial about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Dutro, 25, faces seven counts in the death of her 4-year-old son,
Zachary Dutro-Boggess: one count of felony murder, five counts of
murder by abuse and one count of second-degree assault.
Zachary died Aug. 16, 2012, from intestinal tears caused by
abusive trauma to his abdomen.
District Attorney Megan Johnson told jurors that Dutro and her
boyfriend, Brian Canady, together committed a deadly beating in
Johnson argued that Dutro assaulted
her son and then allowed him to die because his mere presence
Zachary went to the hospital Aug.
14, “essentially dead,” a doctor testified. He could not be saved,
and he was taken off life support two days later.
When Zachary went to the hospital, doctors also examined his
siblings. His younger brother, then 3, was bruised all over his
body and had five broken ribs. Doctors determined the rib
fractures occurred during at least two different occasions based
on their different stages of healing.
older sister, then 7, also had bruises on her back, chest, hips
and buttocks. The girl reluctantly disclosed that she and her
brothers received “lickins” for misbehaving. In counseling, she
eventually disclosed that she saw Dutro and Canady beat Zachary
before he died.
In Dutro’s home, Johnson said,
child discipline was extreme and violent.
Johnson argued that Dutro made it clear they both participated in
his killing when a doctor told her Zachary’s injuries were caused
by an assault: The doctor testified that Dutro became angry and
said the doctor should have told her sooner so she and Canady
could have gotten their story straight before talking to police.
Dutro and Canady initially had no explanation for Zachary’s
injuries. Canady later took the blame, telling police he kicked
the boy in the stomach. Last month, he took a plea deal. He also
changed his story, saying he witnessed Dutro kick and stomp on
Prosecutors and defense attorneys
agreed that Canady’s statements were not reliable.
Defense lawyer Chris Colburn argued there was no evidence that
Dutro fatally assaulted her son.
statements had evolved, Colburn said the evidence still pointed to
“It is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt
that Brian Canady did it,” he said.
testimony of Dutro’s daughter, Colburn said, could not be trusted.
He picked apart the girl’s statements and argued that she had been
tainted by adults who spoke with her about the case.
In a Facebook message to her boyfriend, Dutro said Zachary was
going to be gay and it made her mad. The message did not prove any
motive on Dutro’s part, Colburn said.
that Dutro abused Zachary because of this perception, Colburn
said, was preposterous.
In another message,
Dutro asked Canady not to hit the kids. Colburn said nothing in
the messages suggested that the mother assaulted her children.
Any possible motive was irrelevant anyway, the defense attorney
argued, because Dutro didn’t commit the crime.
Jessica Dutro murder trial: Motive for Tigard
killing was 4-year-old's perceived homosexuality, prosecutors say
By Emily E. Smith - OregonLive.com
Jessica Dutro believed her 4-year-old son,
Zachary Dutro-Boggess was gay, prosecutors told the court
Wednesday, and that was her motive for subjecting him to deadly
Dutro, charged with murder, murder by abuse and second-degree
assault, is on trial in Washington County Circuit Court.
Emergency crews brought Zachary to a Portland hospital Aug. 14,
2012, where doctors determined he was dying from trauma to his
abdomen that caused tears in his bowel. He was taken off life
support two days later.
After jurors were
released for the day Wednesday, Judge Don Letourneau ruled that a
Facebook message from Dutro to her boyfriend was admissible
Prosecutor Megan Johnson argued the
message established Dutro’s motive for inflicting on Zachary a
pattern of torture and abuse. Authorities say Dutro assaulted
three of her children, but Zachary received the brunt of the
In the message, Dutro told her
boyfriend, Brian Canady, that Zachary was “facing the wall”
because he had made her mad.
Her son was going
to be gay, she wrote, using a slur. “He walks and talks like it.
Canady would have to “work on” Zachary,
Canady pleaded guilty earlier this
month to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault in
the boy’s death.
Letourneau further ruled that
web searches thought to be done by Dutro would also be admissible
Prosecutors say on Aug. 16, 2012, the
day Zachary’s life support was terminated, Dutro searched terms
such as anger management and parenting classes. She also searched
listings for free stuff and sex with strangers, they said.
Jessica Dutro murder trial: Daughter, 7, told
police mom assaulted Tigard 4-year-old
By Emily E. Smith - OregonLive.com
A 7-year-old girl told a Tigard
detective how her little brother, Zachary Dutro-Boggess, “got
“Jessica and Brian, they kept hitting him
and punching him,” she said. “He didn’t listen to them so they
kicked him and punched him and stuff and they kept doing it and
The girl was talking about her
mother, Jessica Dutro, and her mother’s boyfriend, Brian Canady.
Washington County jurors listened to a recording of the girl’s
interview with police Tuesday during Dutro’s murder trial.
Dutro is charged with seven counts including murder, murder by
abuse and second-degree assault. Canady pleaded guilty to
first-degree manslaughter for his role in the 4-year-old boy’s
death earlier this month.
daughter said the couple routinely hit her and her siblings for
“not being good.”
She recounted a time when
Zachary was in trouble again.
“They kept hitting
and hitting him because he wasn’t listening,” she said.
He got sick after that, she said. After a while, he made soft
groaning sounds. Eventually, he stopped breathing.
Dutro and Canady knew Zachary was sick, she said. “But they didn’t
On the morning of Aug. 14, 2012,
the couple did call for help. Zachary was unresponsive. Dutro told
police that he didn’t wake up when she roused him and his three
She put him in the shower because he
had wet the bed, Dutro said. His body was limp, his head and eyes
Dr. Danny Leonhardt testified Tuesday
that the boy was beyond help by the time help arrived. Zachary was
taken off life support Aug. 16, 2012.
see him until he essentially was dead,” the doctor said. “We
didn’t get a chance to fix him.”
was torn in two places. The contents of his intestines had leaked
out into his body for at least two days, Leonhardt said. The
resulting shock and infection killed Zachary.
Doctors concluded that abdominal trauma had caused the tears in
Zachary’s gut. High-velocity car crashes or bike accidents could
cause similar injuries, Leonhardt said. Otherwise, it takes
forceful, violent kicking or stomping to cause such injuries, he
Bruises were all over Zachary’s body.
They suggested that the child had pulled himself into a fetal
position to protect himself from a beating, the doctor said. The
various injuries indicated he had been abused multiple times,
Old, dead tissue from a deep cut
hung off of Zachary’s lip. Leonardt, a child abuse specialist at
Randall Children’s Hospital and CARES Northwest, could not recall
another case where a child had that injury.
"That thing would have bled a lot," he said. "You just let this
flap of lip hang there?"
The doctor said most
children with such a wound would have been brought in for
Doctors tried to save Zachary,
Leonhardt said, but the damage was too great. As he was working on
the child’s case, Leonhardt said, he ran into Zachary’s aunt and
younger brother in the hospital. The 3-year-old’s face was covered
in bruises, he said.
Leonhardt also evaluated
Zachary’s siblings. He diagnosed all of Dutro’s children with
child abuse except for the youngest, Dutro’s and Canady’s infant
Zachary’s 3-year-old brother, the doctor
said, had five broken ribs. The fractures showed at least two
different stages of healing, indicating multiple instances of
Zachary’s 7-year-old sister, he said, had
extensive bruising on her back, chest, buttocks and hip.
When Leonhardt informed Dutro of his diagnosis, he said, she
became “very angry, very upset.”
She was mad at
the doctors, he said, for not telling her and Canady sooner about
the details of Zachary’s injuries. They’d already talked to
police. They’d been made to look like idiots, he recalled her
Leonhardt wrote down the mother's words.
He'd never heard them before. She reportedly told the doctor “had
they been made aware, they would have been able to talk to each
other and get their story straight.”