As you can probably tell, we’re pretty fond of kids around here despite the messes they may leave us and their tendency to do exactly what we don’t want them to do. Even if we weren’t kid lovers, however, sometimes a news story comes along that’s just so horrific, it’s enough to make anyone sick to their stomach.
The story of a mother found guilty of murdering her 4-year-old son is exactly what we’re referencing.
It was August 12, 2012, a day before Zachary’s fourth birthday, when the beating that would end his life occurred in the Tigard homeless shelter where they lived.
Two days later on August 14, he was taken to the hospital after mother Jessica Dutro and her boyfriend Brian Canady finally called authorities, but it was too late. By that time, “he was essentially dead,” Dr. Danny Leonhardt testified, reported by the Oregonian.
He had received traumatic blows to his abdomen, which pushed his bowel against his spine and caused two intestinal tears.
Doctors also examined Zachary’s siblings at the hospital, and it was clear that they too had suffered from abuse. His sister, then 7, and brother, then 3, were both covered in bruises, and the boy had five broken ribs. The only child left uninjured was Dutro’s infant son.
So what could possibly be the motive for brutally killing a child? Apparently the boy seemed gay.
Facebook messages between Dutro and Canady that were read to the jury revealed Dutro complaining that she knew Zachary was going to be gay. “He walks like it and talks like it, ugh,” she wrote. She also told Canady he needed to “work on” the boy “big time.”
That’s right. You thought high school was bad? A boy not even four years old was judged by his mother for seeming gay.
It wasn’t the Facebook messages, though, that sealed Dutro’s fate.
In a testimony to her counselor, Zachary’s sister said, “They beat up my brother, then he died. I seen them.” These words were played during the trial.
So if the boy’s death isn’t heartbreaking enough, his sister will now have to live with this gruesome memory of witnessing her brother get murdered by their mother.
Justice will be served. On April 2, it took the Portland-area jury just over an hour to reach a unanimous verdict – Dutro was found guilty on all seven counts, including murder, murder by abuse, and second-degree assault.
Canady had pleaded guilty and, as part of a plea deal prior to Dutro’s trial, admitted to kicking Zachary in the stomach.
Dutro’s sentencing is scheduled for April 18 in Washington County Circuit Court.
Seriously, how could any person commit such a vile act? On a child! Let alone that child’s own mother!
Our hearts mourn for this little boy and his siblings.
Give your kids an extra hug tonight before putting them to bed, and even if they’re too young to understand, let them know that you’ll always love them.
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