After 11 hours of deliberation over two days, a Stark county jury rejected a death sentence for Bobby Cutts Jr.The jury recommended a sentence of 30 years to life in prison for Cutts in connection to the death of his unborn child who died when Cutts killed Jessie Davis. The same panel deliberated for about 24 hours over four days before convicting Cutts on Feb. 15.
Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. held a sentencing hearing after the jury’s decision was announced. After Cutts’ lawyers, prosecutors and Davis’ family spoke, Brown sentenced Cutts to 57 years to life in prison for charges related to the slayings.
His defense throughout the trial was not one of denial, but of seeking mercy after acknowledging that he killed Davis, who was his girlfriend and the mother of his son Blake. Cutts testified for four hours Feb. 11, when he laid out what he said happened June 14 — and argument escalated to physical violence in the early morning hours of June 14, he said.
He took the stand again Monday, this time begging the jury to spare his life.
The jury could have recommended death, life without parole or life with parole eligibility for 25 years or 30 years.
Cutts sat passively, but appeared to bite his lower lip as the decisions were read.
Cutts’ lawyers had asked that all the prison time run together for a total of 30 years before parole eligibility. He noted that Cutts had no prior felony convictions and had saved lives as a Canton police officer, and said Cutts took responsibility for the deaths.
Defense attorneys Fernando Mack, Myron Watson and Carolyn Ranke said Cutts was remorseful.
Before sentencing, Brown noted that Cutts took the witness stand twice and still could address the court, but the defendant declined. Cutts’ parents also chose not to address the court.
Then, the Davis family had a chance to speak.
“Bobby Cutts took my sister from me,” said Stephanie Davis, reading from a letter she read for her cousin, Jessie Davis’ brother, Caylon. “Jessie was the one I ran to.”
“You say it was an accident but I don’t believe that,” she said, insisting that he tell his son, Blake, why he killed his mother, once the boy is older.
She said she would never have an answer for Blake as to why his father would hurt his mother.
Jessie’s sister, Audrey Davis, followed, tearfully denouncing Cutts for lying about her sister’s fate for nine days. sister Whitney Davis sounded a similar theme, and said Cutts’ only regret was getting caught.
“When I hear Blake cry, I hate you,” she said.
“Don’t even look at me, put your head down,” said Ned Davis, the dead woman’s father, said to Cutts as he began his statement to the court.
“You killed her. You murdered her violently,” Mr. Davis said.
Patty Porter, the victim’s mother, read a statement: “It was a day I will never forget. When I walked in that room, the presence of evil was so strong I could hardly breathe,” she said referring to her daughter’s home and the place where she was killed.
Ned Davis, Jessie’s father, said after the hearing that justice had been served. He also offered an expression of sympathy to the Cutts’ family:
“We lost in June. They lost today.”