CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- A former police officer convicted in the murders of his pregnant lover and their unborn child was a devoted father and hardworking patrolman, his mother testified Monday as jurors weighed whether to recommend a death sentence.
"Having my son in my life means a lot to me," said Renee Jones, whose voice trembled as she testified in front of her sniffling son, Bobby Cutts Jr.
Prosecutors called no witnesses to buttress their case for imposing the death penalty.
Jones, twisting a tissue between her fingers, testified that Cutts, 30, was a fun-loving youngster and a serious, gifted student who sometimes cried over his class work.
"He was a child who was always happy," she said.
After his parents divorced, Cutts had a rocky relationship with his father, who sometimes failed to show up as promised at his son's games, Jones said. As a police officer, Cutts watched out for seniors and sometimes took curfew violators to their homes instead of jail, she said.
Cutts was convicted Feb. 15 of aggravated murder in the death of the nearly full-term fetus and of murder in the death of Jessie Davis, 26.
He could receive the death penalty, life in prison without parole or life with parole eligibility after 20, 25 or 30 years. If the jury recommends death, Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. can reduce the sentence to life, something that has happened just seven times in Ohio in 27 years.
The trial's sentencing phase could take several days. With attorneys under a gag order, there was no indication whether Cutts would take the stand to plead for his life. Jones was the first witness for the defense, which is trying to spare Cutts' life.
Under cross-examination by a prosecutor, Jones said she loved her grandchildren. Asked if she loved Chloe, the name given Davis's unborn baby, she responded, "If she was my grand baby, yes."
Cutts sobbed on the witness stand during the earlier trial as he testified he had accidentally killed Davis with an elbow blow to the throat during a disagreement and dumped her body in a park in a panic.
Prosecutors told the jury that Cutts killed Davis and the unborn baby last June at her Lake Township home to get out of child support payments for a fourth child.
The couple's 2½-year-old son Blake, who was found home alone, gave investigators their first clues to his mother's disappearance when he said, "Mommy's crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in the rug," and later, "Daddy's mad."
For more than a week, Cutts denied knowledge of her whereabouts as thousands searched in the area. He finally led authorities to the body, wrapped in a comforter.
Cutts, who also was convicted of abuse of a corpse, burglary and child endangering for leaving Blake by himself, resigned from the Canton police.
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