Friday, February 8, 2008

Bobby Cutts Murder Trial: Day Five

Morning session...

Jessie’s family is in their usual seats, as are the Cutts family.

The State calls Jonathan Mendillo. He works with T-Mobile and provided LE with the records of the phone activity for Jessie’s cell phone as well of Cutts’ 2 cell phones.

The records reflect calls and text messages. June 14th at 7:11am, Cutts called Jessie’s phone (which we already know).

The network records also indicated if the phone is inactive; dead battery or shut off. If the phone was shut off and then turned back on, the network time would be reset.

FBI Agent McMurtry requested the cell tower sites for the calls on Jessie and Cutts’ phones.

Mendillo also provided access to the voicemail systems. Voicemails are stored on the system servers not on the actual phones.

No further questions.


Ranke: You provided information on several phones, not just the 3 we are talking about?
A: I would have to check the files.

Ranke: The towers track both the person making the calls as well as the person receiving the call?
A: Yes they do.

Nothing further. Jury has questions.

When a person receives a voicemail and the deletes it, is it still on the server? A: No it gets deleted from the server.

If voicemail is not deleted, how long does it stay on the server? A: 14 days.

Witness excused.

State calls Dr. Craig Polifrone, Jessie’s Ob/Gyn.

Jessie was being seen once a week because she was so close to her due date. (She was 2 weeks away from her due date when she was murdered.)

Jessie saw this physician when pregnant with Blake in 2004.

Jessie had a miscarriage Nov. 11, 2005.

On June 4th, Jessie was seen and the pregnancy was normal. She was seen again June 11th. Jessie’s demeanor was happy and excited about the baby. Again, things were progressing normally.

Her next appointment was June 18th, which of course, we know she never kept.

Both Chloe and Jessie were in excellent health.

No further questions.
No cross-exam.
No jury questions.

Witness excused.


Judge needs to take care of some issue and calls for a 30- minute break.

State calls Dr. Lisa Kohler, Summit County Medical Examiner.

Kohler is giving her CV, which is pretty extensive. Anatomic (hospital) pathology and Forensic (court evidence) pathology are her Board Certifications. She teaches at the local medical school and has authored a number of papers. She has performed 1500 autopsies and supervised over 2000 autopsies.

Prosecutor Barr asks for a definition of an autopsy and Kohler explains to the jury what an autopsy entails.

On June 23rd, Kohler was called to the park where Jessie and the baby were dumped. There was insect activity at the bottom of the body. The fetus was noticeable. The body was removed and the ground under the body yielded small bone and fingernails.

June 24th, the autopsy was done on Jessie. Externally, examination showed advanced decomposition.

The comforter was soaked in purged body fluids and body tissues, some grass and leaves. The comforter and Jessie’s cloths were packaged as evidence. Jessie’s body was mostly skeletalized; the fetus remains were visible. Most of her organs were gone, including the brain and eyes. Her stomach was gone as well as the spleen, liver.

Jessie’s body was putrefied. The body gases build up and the skin starts to slough off. Insects then access the body and lay eggs and then maggots appear and insects begin to feed on the body.

Jessie was in advanced putrefaction because the body was lying in the open with no protection.

Kohler could not see body injury because of the decomposition of the body. Jessie was positively identified through dental records.

The remaining flesh was removed from Jessie’s body to examine the bones. There were 3 areas where bones were missing; the neck, the fingertips and toes.

An anthropologist was called in to assist in seeing if there were injuries to the bones. They could tell that there were no identifiable injuries.

Toxicology results showed no drugs in the tissue (there was no body fluid remaining to test).

Cause of death was ruled as unspecified homicidal violence. Homicidal intent is evident by the way the body was wrapped and left out in the open. Date of death appears to be June 14th.

Jessie’s sisters look absolutely devastated and how they are not openly weeping is beyond my comprehension. Jessie’s dad left the court for this testimony. Cutts is just staring ahead.


Sorry, I have to say it. This bastard needs to fry! What a heartless monster!

If the body had been recovered on June 15 or 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th would you have been able to make a more specific cause of death? Yes.

They show photos of Jessie and Chloe’s remains. OMG this is so awful.

Q: If you heard that someone had made a statement that something happened to his baby’s mother in conjunction with making an arm movement could you assume that a cause of death my have been asphyxiation?

A: Yes, it’s possible. The decomposition of Jessie’s body inhibited being able to give an absolute cause of death.

Photos of well-preserved victims of strangulation are shown which show the actual damage that occur during strangulation

Manual strangulation takes several minutes to accomplish. A person can’t apply the pressure to the throat consistently because the victim is struggling until they lose consciousness.

Q: Would a victim of strangulation loose body fluids during strangulation?
A: Yes, an amount of fluid can come up through the mouth or nose.

The condition of the body did not allow Kohler to determine if there were stab or gunshot wounds.

Q: You aware there was no blood at the scene and no trauma to the bones; is manual strangulation a reasonable cause of death?
A: Yes, it is.

The death of the viable fetus was due to the maternal death.

Q: If a person is manually strangled and wrapped in a sheet and a comforter and placed in the back of a truck, would you expect to find bodily fluids in the bed of the truck?

Objection, overruled.

A: Highly unlikely that the fluids would pass beyond the comforter.

Kohler provided LE with samples from Jessie and Chloe for DNA purposes.

No further questions.


Q: Cause and manner of death are not the same thing?
A: Correct.

Q: Homicide is death at the hands of another?
A: Yes.

Q: Your findings are based on the information you received from LE and the way the body was found?
A: Yes

Q: The crime lab did DNA testing on the fetus. Did you do DNA testing?
A: No that isn’t done at the coroner’s office.

Q: No evidence of injury to the fetus?
A: Correct.

Q: You aren’t able to say the fetus was actually alive when you did the autopsy?
A: Jessie hadn’t informed her Ob/Gyn of any problems, so I believe the fetus was alive.

Q: Time of death is listed as 17:30, but you have no idea of the actual time of death.
A: That was the time Jessie was declared dead at the scene.
Q: You can’t actually give a cause of death?
A: Correct.

Q: You can’t rule out blunt force trauma as a cause of death?
A: Correct.

Q: You have no specific evidence of manual strangulation.
A: Correct.

Ranke is laying out all types of scenarios for how Jessie may have died.

Q: The best you can do in this case in determining the time of death based on the last time the person was seen?
A: Correct

Q: How can you say the cause of death is homicidal violence?
A: Based on a review of the case and evidence and circumstance.

Ranke claims that Kohler can’t say how Jessie died and continues to say it over and over. She completely ignores that Kohler keeps saying that you have to look at the complete case.

No further questions.


Q: Is it unusual for you to rely on information provided by LE?
A: Not, it is common.

Q: Cause of death is unspecified homicidal violence?
A: Correct

Q: Manner of death?
A: Homicide

Q: The mechanism of death is what you can’t determine?
A: Correct.


Ranke asked if an unintended act that leads to death would still be ruled a homicide. Kohler said yes, it would.

Attorneys are done with questions.

Jury has questions.

Kohler says that she feels confident that this was not an accidental death.
There is no evidence that she had any injuries prior to her disappearance.

She says she doesn't know what affect bleach would have on decomposition.

Witness is excused.

That testimony was extremely difficult to listen to and my heart aches for Jessie, Chloe and the Davis family.

Court has to hear matters this afternoon. Jury will be back 8:30 on Monday.