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Jessica DUTRO





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Her motive for the murder was believing the little boy was gay
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: August 14, 2012
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: 1988
Victim profile: Her son Zachary Dutro-Boggess, 4
Method of murder: Beating
Location: Tigard, Washington County, Oregon, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on April 18, 2014. She will be eligible for parole in 25 years
photo gallery

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 second-degree assault.

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 Dutro's.

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 -

April 18, 2014

For her 4-year-old son’s death, Jessica Dutro received a life sentence Friday in Washington County Circuit Court.

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 killing.

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 relatives wrote.

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 month.

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 said.


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 his murder

  • 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 the mother

  • 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 shelter.

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 murder.

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.

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.

He died of blunt-force trauma to his abdomen and delay in medical treatment, prosecutors said.

In shocking 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.

The message established Dutro's motive for inflicting a pattern of abuse, prosecutor Megan Johnson said.

Dutro assaulted 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 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 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 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 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.'

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

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 '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 infection.

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.

The 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 -

April 3, 2014

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 own eyes?

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 not."

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 her mom:

"She would be beaten for her transgressions because that's what Jessica Dutro does in the face of perceived insolence and disobedience."

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 die."

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 him."

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 hospital:

"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 messages:

"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 -

April 2, 2014

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.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Megan Johnson told jurors that Dutro and her boyfriend, Brian Canady, together committed a deadly beating in August 2012.

Johnson argued that Dutro assaulted her son and then allowed him to die because his mere presence angered her.

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.

Zachary’s 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 Zachary.

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.

Though Canady’s statements had evolved, Colburn said the evidence still pointed to him.

“It is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Brian Canady did it,” he said.

The 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.

To infer 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 -

March 27, 2014

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 beatings.

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 evidence.

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 violence.

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. Ugh.”

Canady would have to “work on” Zachary, she wrote.

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 evidence.

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 -

March 26, 2014

A 7-year-old girl told a Tigard detective how her little brother, Zachary Dutro-Boggess, “got dead.”

“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 doing it.”

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.

Dutro’s 7-year-old 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 tell anybody.”

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 siblings.

She put him in the shower because he had wet the bed, Dutro said. His body was limp, his head and eyes rolled.

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.

“We didn’t see him until he essentially was dead,” the doctor said. “We didn’t get a chance to fix him.”

Zachary’s bowel 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 testified.

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, Leonhardt said.

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 emergency care.

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 son.

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 abuse.

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 saying.

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.”



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