Prosecutors said an Oregon woman beat her 4-year-old son to death because she feared he was gay.
Zachary Dutro-Boggess was hospitalized Aug. 14, 2012, the day after his fourth birthday, with trauma to his abdomen that caused tears to his bowel, and urine and fecal matter seeped into his body cavity and damaged his vital organs.
He had collapsed at the homeless shelter where his family was living, reported The Oregonian.
He was removed from life support two days later, and his mother, Jessica Dutro, was charged with murder, murder by abuse, and second-degree assault.
Her boyfriend, Brian Canady, initially confessed to kicking the boy in the stomach because he would not sit down and watch television, like he was told, and instead took off his shoes first.
But the 24-year-old Canady later changed his story and took a plea deal earlier this month, admitting to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault.
He will testify against the 25-year-old Dutro, who prosecutors said ran her family “like an army” but took discipline to abusive extremes.
Authorities said her 7-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son showed signs of abuse, including multiple fractured ribs for the younger boy.
Only Dutro and Canady’s shared biological child, an infant, was uninjured, investigators said.
The daughter told investigators that her mother had beaten her, and she said both Dutro and Canady had beat her brother before he died.
A judge ruled Wednesday that jurors would be allowed to hear about a Facebook message Dutro sent to Canady, saying the boy had been sent to stand facing a wall because he’d angered her.
She told Canady she suspected her son was gay, using a homophobic slur.
“He walks and talks like it. Ugh,” she said, adding that Canady would have to “work on” the boy.
The judge also ruled that jurors could hear about web searches conducted by Dutro the day Zachary’s life support was ended.
Prosecutors said she searched Aug. 16, 2012, for information about anger management and parenting classes, as well as listing for free stuff and sex with strangers.