An Oregon mother was found guilty Wednesday of beating her 4-year-old son to death, and prosecutors say because she believed he was gay.
Jessica Dutro, 25, was found guilty on all seven counts: one count of felony murder, five counts of murder by abuse and one count of second-degree assault.
The jury received the case late Wednesday afternoon, and returned the verdict around 5:20 p.m., CNN affiliate KOIN reported.
Four-year-old Zachary Dutro-Boggess died in August 2012 from complications resulting from blunt-force trauma to the abdomen.
On August 14, 2012, the child was rushed to a Portland Hospital after he was found unconscious at Good Neighbor Center, a family homeless shelter. The family, which includes three additional children, had all been residing at the shelter while they were waiting to transition into newly acquired housing.
Doctors said the blows to the child’s abdomen caused the contents of his intestines to leak out of his bowels for at least two days before he was admitted to the hospital. He was taken off life support on August 16.
“The investigation led by Tigard Police Detectives ultimately revealed a history of physical abuse by the child’s mother and her live-in boyfriend,” police said in a news release when the case first broke.
Brian Canady, 25, the mother’s boyfriend, took a plea deal in March for his role in the boy’s death. He agreed to testify against Dutro in exchange for pleading guilty to lesser charges of manslaughter and assault.
HLN reached out to Canady’s defense attorneys Thursday morning, but calls were not returned.
Washington County District Attorney Megan Johnson argued at trial a Facebook message from Dutro to Canady proved the mother’s motive for killing her son.
The mother wrote the boy was going to be gay: “He walks and talks like it. Ugh,” the message read, the Oregonian reported.
However, the words of Dutro’s young daughter, who witnessed the murder of her brother, may have been the most damning evidence against the mother.
“They beat up my brother, then he died,” the girl told her counselor, according to the Oregonian. “I seen them.”
“Jessica and Brian, they kept hitting him and punching him. He didn’t listen to them so they kicked him and punched him and stuff and they kept doing it and doing it. …They knew he were sick and stuff. And they didn’t tell anybody,” the girl told a police officer, the paper reported.
Dutro’s defense team argued there was no evidence that the mother fatally assaulted her son, saying the evidence points to Canady as the killer. They also said the statement made by Dutro’s young daughter could not be trusted. And the Facebook message, according to the defense, was meant as a joke.
HLN reached out to Dutro’s defense attorney, but calls were not returned.
The mother showed no reaction when the jury returned with their verdict, the Oregonian reported. Sentencing is set for April 18.
She faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.