A 25-year-old mom in Oregon was found guilty of beating her 4-year-old son to death because she thought he was gay. The judgment was passed on April 2. Zachary Dutro Boggess lost his life in August 2012 after being beaten up severely. Zachary’s mother Jessica Dutro and her boyfriend Brian Canady participated in the crime but the latter managed to escape murder charges by requesting a plea deal. After agreeing to testify against Dutro in March 2014, Canady had the serious charges against him dropped though he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault. Neither of the two has been sentenced yet.
On August 14, 2012, the duo called 911 to report that their son had been discovered unconscious at a family homeless shelter called Good Neighbour Center. Zachary was immediately rushed to a hospital in Portland where doctors found that he had suffered a blunt-force trauma in the abdomen, which had caused his bowels to tear. Initially, he was put on the ventilator but he succumbed to his wounds two days later.
Evidence in court revealed Dutro had written a letter to Canady telling him she feared Zachary was gay and that she wanted Canady to “work on” the young boy.
“He walks and talk like it,” she said in the letter.
According to prosecutor Megan Johnson, this message established Dutro’s motive to inflict abuse though the judge ruled additional searches on the internet by Dutro were also admissible. The day Zachary was taken off life support, Dutro had reportedly searched terms such as parenting classes, anger management, free stuff and sex with strangers.
During the hearing in March 2014, Dutro’s 7-year-old daughter described how her mother and Canady beat Zachary until he “got dead.” She also recollected instances of herself being beaten up for “not being good.”
Danny Leonhardt, who diagnosed Zachary, testified that the boy was “essentially dead” by the time his guardians sought medical help. Apparently, contents from his torn intestines had already leaked into his body for approximately two days, leading to a deadly infection. Apart from his abdominal injuries, there were signs of prolonged, repeated abuse on Zachary’s body. Leonhardt examined both of Zachary’s siblings and found that one of them had scrapes on the face and five broken ribs in different stages of healing.
Photo Credits: Oregon Live