Former Hilo woman receives conviction for murdering 4-year-old son

Published On: Apr 04 2014 09:50:58 PM HST   Updated On: Apr 04 2014 10:38:03 PM HST
HILO, Hawaii -

A former Hilo woman has been convicted of murdering her four-year-old son after repeated beatings.

Click here for Yunji de Nies' report.

This case has attracted national attention not only for the mother's cruelty, but also for what prosecutors say drove her to it.

Prosecutors say 25-year-old Jessica Analani Dutro beat her son Zachary so severely his abdominal injuries forced him to be put on life support. After two days in the intensive care unit, he died. They say she did it because she believed the little boy was gay.

"Jessica Dutro's lies have been narcissistic and defensive. It gives you a window into who could do something like this," said Hilo District Attorney Megan Johnson.

The case against Dutro unfolded in Oregon where she and her four children, along with her boyfriend, were living in a homeless shelter. After injuring the child, prosecutors say the couple waited much too long to get the little boy help.

"Her concern throughout is for herself and her own skin and not her dying son," said Johnson.

When Zachary was just an infant, he and his sister were placed in foster care on the Big Island for over a year. His foster mother Kate Cruse says he was so sweet she nicknamed him "The Kissing Bandit".

"Because he'd be playing, playing, playing and stop what he'd be doing and just run across the room to get a kiss. Then hurry back to play like he hadn't been there," said Cruse. "He just loved affection and he loved to be tickled and chased and he was just a beautiful little boy."

The guilty verdict has brought Cruse some comfort, but she says she is still overwhelmed with grief.

"When the conviction came in it was just a little bit of relief. I can't say it was like a huge relief simply because it doesn't change the facts. The baby's still gone," said Cruse.

Two of Dutro's other three children were found to be abused as well. All are now in custody with other family members.

Dutro will be sentenced later this month.

On Saturday there is a Million March Against Child Abuse taking place at 100 cities across the country.

On Oahu the march is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kalama Beach Park in Kailua. The public is encouraged to come out and take a stand against this kind of abuse.

Zachary Dutro

Zachary Dutro

Zachary Dutro


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