Mom gets life for beating 3 y.o. son to death, thought he was gay

Jessica Dutro was just sentenced to life in prison for the beating death of her 3 year old son, Zachary, one day before his 4th birthday.

Prosecutors say Jessica asked her boyfriend, Brian Canady, to “work on” the boy “big time,” because she feared he would turn out gay, based on the way he walked and talked.

The two then kicked and punched little Zachary, according to his older sister. The boy suffered five broken ribs, then received the fatal blow to his stomach that ripped his intestines.

Then the family ignored this injuries until Zachary was beyond help, and only then called the ambulance.

Jessica Dutro

Jessica Dutro

A search warrant turned up a mesasge the mother wrote to her boyfriend on Facebook about her son: “hes (sic) going to be a f*g he walks and talks like it ugh it p*sses me off.”

Again, the boy was 3 when they beat him.

The beating happened three months later.  It was instigated, prosecutors say, by the boyfriend becoming angered by an argument with another resident of the shelter they lived in.  He then took his anger out on the boy after Zachary refused to sit in front of the TV as directed.

Among other things, Zachary was kicked in the stomach.

The boy suffered for two days before they called an ambulance.  He had diarrhea and vomiting, and then developed difficulty walking and staying alert. It was only after he fell unconscious that they called for help.

Doctors say the boy would have likely lived had his mother and her boyfriend called for help sooner.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • Dale

    …and fundie christian hate groups across America celebrate.

  • chunt

    I agree; especially in little kids.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    No one could ever excuse that behavior unless they are a monster.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    You cannot predict sexual orientation by behaviors. I never had any interest in girl toys. I was fairly good at sports as long as I didn’t have to catch a ball. Baseball was a disaster for me. Ditto for basketball, but I was a whiz at football and soccer. However, there is no doubt I was gay, which I kept to myself until I was 18.

  • ComradeRutherford

    But if he was holding a gun at the time, then he would be Standing His Ground, and therefore a hero to the Republicans. He would never, ever go to jail and he’d have a reality show within the month.

  • chunt

    Sterilization should be mandatory for child abusers.

  • chunt

    That is not nearly enough time. Not only did he deliver severe injuries, he allowed the egg donor to inflict injury also.

  • chunt

    Me too.

  • chunt

    Cases like this is exactly why I support the death penalty.

  • chunt

    I think it’s their “job” to test their parents. I’m surprised more parents don’t end up bald.

  • chunt

    I understand what you are saying, but should we excuse their behavior due to financial hardship? Kids can really challenge you sometimes. I have never touched anyone in anger,unless you count the pinching fests with my sisters. So glad you had the resources that helped you break the cycle of abuse.

  • chunt

    I think a lot of the hate comes from fear of the unknown and lack of courage to ask questions.

  • chunt

    It’s a real shame that we all have the same rights, People like this should have their rights taken away. She should have never been able to reproduce, Just looking at her, I can’t believe how anyone would voluntarily get close enough to even chance reproduction.

  • chunt

    Braid hair? I love it!

  • chunt

    Sometimes biological parents aren’t the best. Too many kids have ended up dead because of this train of thought. I couldn’t work in child services because at the first sign of trouble the kids would be taken away and never returned. Abusers don’t stop no matter how many classes they take. But the law doesn’t feel the same way. They put rights of the adult higher the abused child’s.

  • chunt

    I don’t know how to feel about that. In my eyes, a child needs a balance between a mother and a father so the child can learn about interacting with both sexes. I’m not saying that gays aren’t capable of this, I just don’t understand how. Little boys associate themselves with their fathers and need to learn how a man interacts with females. The same is true for little girls and their mothers. It just seemed to me that with 2 parents of the same gender there would be more questions than perhaps they were ready for. I know there are successful families with parents of the same sex, but I don’t know any personally so I don’t know how they handle raising a child on a day to day basis. i’m not gay bashing because i’m sure they have plenty of questions about how heterosexual families operate.

  • chunt

    Sterilizing the biological “parent” and the bedmate sounds like a great option. I try to understand and take into consideration the home life these people are brought up in, but abusing and murdering a child? That’s just too much. Making a poor decision on what to have for dinner? okay. But killing a child is wrong and unless they were raised in total isolation, they knew what they were doing was wrong. What makes this even more atrocious, if there can even be such a thing, is beating a toddler to death because they thought he was gay!!! I have seen young men grow up to be fine heterosexual young men who played occasionally with what is considered girl toys. I have seen a rambunctious little boys sit down and play tea party with his sister, raised pinkey and all, and head outside to play in the dirt with his toy cars with a male neighbor friend. There isn’t anything gay about him. I would like to know how a toddler acts gay? Even if he was hay, it shouldn’t matter especially to his own mother.

  • vickif

    All children piss off their parents now and then. It’s normal for kids to test their parents to see how much they can away with. I know I did.

  • Ernest

    Thank you for the info.

  • tedhayes

    Unfortunately, the child is probably better off than having to live with these barbarians. May she never see outside again.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I had never thought about ending poverty, but it makes great sense. I know my paternal grandfather was abusive and passed it on to his son. My father just didn’t know enough to understand that he shouldn’t behave in the same manner. I blame that on poverty. I had to learn enough to understand that I shouldn’t do that. I never touched either of my children out of anger, and they both pissed me off more than just a few times.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Totally agree on both ideas – she’s a monster and almost all parents would have been there every second. Hell, I was one of those parents who crawled into the nursery every night. I was making sure they hadn’t died of SIDS.

  • cole3244

    i have no words i am speechless.

  • Kelly A

    the irony of course is this woman is about to spend the rest of her natural life being beat like a dog by large dykes daily. karma’s a b!tch.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I know. Apparently beating and kicking a toddler to death isn’t as bad as using drugs, according to our twisted ‘justice’ (sic) system anyway.

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    It’s a shame they didn’t catch him smoking crack. He’d have gotten far worse.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Well, having grown up in an abusive household, I’d say there’s a very good chance both this woman and her boyfriend grew up themselves in such households.

    People usually beat their kids if they were beaten themselves. Depending on circumstances though, it can be worse or it can be less so. I thought my siblings and I had it bad until I learned what both my parents’ parents did to them. I have no doubt whatsoever that both my parents thought they were exceedingly lenient on us.

    Reasonable people can’t justify child abuse, but unreasonable ones try to. Add to that the stress of extreme poverty and the abuse usually gets worse. Add on top of that a society and social service system that doesn’t care about the welfare of poor families, and you’ll get a situation where a child with a ruptured bowel, living in a homeless shelter, isn’t noticed until he’s unconscious.

    How is this stopped? Well, besides education and paying closer attention to children whose parents are manifestly unfit to raise them, I’d say “end poverty” would help a lot.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I almost agree. If nothing else though, both of those adults should spend the rest of their lives in prison.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    He plead out for a 12 1/2 year sentence. It’s in one of John’s linked sources up there in the post.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Every once in a great while I find myself siding with the eugenicists of old. And that really freaks me out!

    Clearly this woman and that man must be sterilized so they can’t generate any more offspring for them to murder.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Whoever got the broken ribs didn’t get any sleep.

  • Ernest

    What happened to the “boy” friend?

  • Ninong

    The child with five broken ribs was Zachary’s 3-yr-old younger brother. That was discovered when all three surviving children were examined at the hospital. That was from previous abuse.

    Zachary himself, who had just turned 4, died of multiple trauma, including a ruptured, leaking intestine. His mother allowed him to suffer in agony for two days dying a slow death because she didn’t want to be charged with child abuse. He would have survived if she had brought him in to the hospital sooner. The 7-yr-old daughter told investigators she saw her mother and her mother’s boyfriend beat little Zachary “until he got dead.” The boyfriend admitted kicking him in the stomach, causing the ruptured intestine.

  • ComradeRutherford

    “Is she supposed to hang on his every second with the hope that his eyelids flutter?”

    If she’s not an inhumane monster, yes… But since the defense attorney is pointing out that she IS an inhumane monster…

  • ComradeRutherford

    I can’t even imagine the depravity needed to beat a child to death. And then to not care afterward.

    I recently bruised just one rib and that was painful enough! But five broken ribs??? That kid didn’t get any sleep until he died.

  • ComradeRutherford

    “I pointed out that all of her rhetoric on and off her radio show, is what makes people like Dutro-Bogges. I didn’t get a reply back to that.”

    I bet you didn’t!!! Crazies HATE it when you challenge their lies…

  • ComradeRutherford

    This is exactly why Conservatives want to do in America what Putin has done in Russia: make events like this commonplace and no longer classified as a crime.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    You’re right, it shouldn’t matter, but I think they wanted to tell the least sympathetic narrative possible in order to guarantee that these scumbags would spend as much time in prison as the law allowed.

  • keirmeister

    That’s interesting…thanks for the correction. I guess I understand that from a prosecutor’s perspective; but in the end, when it comes to beating a 3 y/o…outside of severe psychological problems the “why” doesn’t really matter.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Defense attorney Chris Colburn, 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 behalf of pretty much every parent everywhere: Yes.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I imagine they were unhappy people who treated each kid with their own special scorn.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    It’s not an “excuse” by the defense, it was the prosecutor seeking to establish a clear motive, a way of explaining why this kid was treated with brutality while the other children may not have been.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    PS: This story makes me sick. If I supported the death penalty it would be in cases like this.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    “Prosecutors say Jessica asked her boyfriend, Brian Canady, to “work on” the boy “big time”… The two then kicked and punched little Zachary, according to his older sister.”

    Everything about this crime is horrible, but as written this isn’t accurate. These incidents didn’t happen one after another, they happened months apart, as you note later.

  • The_Fixer

    The question I have is: “Where did this come from?”

    What was this woman’s upbringing? For that matter, what was her boyfriend’s upbringing? Where did they learn to so thoroughly and completely hate a 3 year-old?

    Did this come from some deviant offshoot of some religion? Was it as a result of being raised in a family that “featured” homophobia as a “normal” part of growing up?

    Or was this acquired from her life experience? How can she justify this? Of course reasonable people can’t and wouldn’t even attempt to justify such horrid behavior.

    Again, where did this come from and how does it get stopped? I have no answers, only questions of course.

    I only have one observation about this. It may inspire an interesting discussion. One child’s life being taken in a completely brutal manner is, of course, not the right way to inspire such a discussion.

    This is just horrible.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    All I can say is thank the FSM this woman will never be another child’s mother.

  • Lawerence Collins

    If/when you speak to any of the anti gay, right wing. You should ask why they didn’t come out and defend Jessica. They’re always claiming were worthy of death. I’d emailed Linda Harvey a couple weeks ago. She claimed no to have heard of this story. Said no child should ever be harmed. I pointed out that all of her rhetoric on and off her radio show, is what makes people like Dutro-Bogges. I didn’t get a reply back to that.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Me, I want to ask Mark Regnerus and Loren Marks whether that child would’ve had “a worse outcome” if raised by gay or lesbian parents.

  • Indigo

    Ah . . . motherhood.

  • vickif

    I’m with you. I have a gay son and it wasn’t until he was much older than 3 that I figured out he was gay. No big deal since I grew up with a gay uncle and he and his partner were at my house all the time and this was in the 50’s They were both gone by the time my son was born.. My son came out when he was 19 and in college. I just told him I was waiting for him to tell me. Now he has a wonderful husband.

  • Ninong

    Poor little Zachary was just turning 4 when she and her boyfriend murdered him but Zachary had a younger brother, who was 3, who had five broken ribs when he was examined! Fortunately their older sister, who was 7, testified against her mother. Now the three surviving children have been removed from that horrific environment.

    I couldn’t say she testified against her parents because the story doesn’t make clear how many different baby-daddies this woman may have had. Some people aren’t fit to be parents.

  • 4th Turning

    We have had more than one boyfriend using baby as a football to stop its crying
    in my state. The next topic following such reporting always seems kimkardashian
    related…

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    Surely the “gay is a choice” notion was just about the last thing on anyone’s mind here?

  • Just_AC

    As I’ve said before, sometimes I wouldn’t mind going to hell – as long as I could be in charge onf one small part of it – like taking care of these two for infinity

    Just

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That may be my post, I was trying to think what to write. Dear Franklin Graham, did this child recruit himself into being beaten to death?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I think the child being 3 adds a particular level of egreiousness to this. YOu don’t kick any child in the stomach, but a three year old?

  • 4th Turning

    I’m not sure age is really relevant nor am I sure death is relevant… I take Matthew as my example for
    all the unnamed who’ve suffered at the hands of psychopaths. Survival is the point if one listens to
    only a couple of the coming out stories on youtube of those who somehow made it to share with an invisible family/circle of friends-no one coming to their rescue as children.
    There are all kinds of death…

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    In this case, I think we can all agree that this child would have been better off being raised by just about anyone.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Too bad Cokie Roberts didn’t think to ask about this case to the smug self-righteous hypocrites on the This Week panel yesterday.

  • silas1898

    A quick death is too good for this woman. She needs to spend many, many years locked up.

  • jomicur

    It’s not hard for me to imagine Fischer quoting Leviticus in response. Beating a 3-year old child is practically the same as stoning him, no?

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I would hope that they would be non-lethal injuries. I would hope that lady would suffer for decades. I believe the boyfriend got a reduced sentence. I would assume that he testified against the mother.

  • Sally

    Jeb Bush will say these kids should have been taken away from these lazy, deadbeat parents who didn’t work.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    But don’t you know that a child is better off in a heterosexual family with a mother and father figure.

  • oikos

    Whatever the crimes other inmates in jail are incarcerated for, most of them hate child abusers. If I were either of these monsters, I would expecting a shiv to come their way.

  • keirmeister

    A gay 3 y/o? By the age of 5, I played with girls and knew how to braid hair. Whatever….

    But honestly, the “gay” issue in this case is just an excuse. These two monsters would have found another reason to beat the poor child. The fact that they picked “gay fear” as their reason just illustrates the depths of their depravity.

  • bkmn

    This is a prime example of why the “choose orientation” mindset is so dangerous. Whether or not the child was going to turn out gay, the mother thought it was ok to try to beat the gay out of him. I hope she doesn’t have any more children.

    And I hope someone asks Toni Perkins/Bryan Fischer/Brian Brown/Peter Labarbera about this woman’s actions and ask they why they think being gay is a choice.

  • Elijah Shalis

    Wow that was a fast trial. Don’t all 3yos walk the same as in barley? Can we burn her at the stake now?

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