Ohio mother who forgave daughter’s killer fights for his release

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008, file photo, Patricia Porter, mother of Jessie Davis, listens to the judge instruct the jury in the trial of Bobby Cutts Jr., in Canton, Ohio. Cutts was convicted of killing Jessie Davis and their unborn daughter. Porter has forgiven Cutts and persuaded prison officials to allow her daughter’s surviving son to visit his father behind bars. (Bob Rossiter/The Canton Repository via AP, Pool, File)

CANTON, OH (AP) — The mother of a pregnant woman slain by her boyfriend, a former Ohio police officer, has forgiven the man and persuaded prison officials to allow the couple’s surviving child to visit him behind bars.

Patty Porter, 70, also is working for the early release of Bobby Cutts Jr., The (Canton) Repository reported.

“I think he’s been broken, and I think he has allowed God to heal him,” Porter told the newspaper.

FILE – In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008, file photo, Bobby Cutts Jr., left, talks with his attorney Fernando Mack after the jury recommended a sentence, in Canton, Ohio. Cutts was convicted of killing Jessie Davis and their unborn daughter. Davis’ mother has forgiven Cutts and persuaded prison officials to allow her daughter’s surviving son to visit his father behind bars. (Scott Heckel/The Canton Repository via AP, Pool, File)

Cutts was sentenced to life in prison in 2008 for the murder of 26-year-old Jessie Davis and their unborn daughter. He left behind their son, Blake, now 12 and in Porter’s care.

The former Canton City police officer testified that he elbowed Davis in the throat during an argument in their home in Stark County’s Plain Township.

Porter grappled with her daughter’s death after Cutts’ trial. She thought about Cutts serving his prison sentence as she took care of his son. Porter said a spiritual moment convinced her to forgive him. She said she believes forgiveness will help both her and her grandson heal.

Porter began writing letters to Cutts at her grandson’s request. After two years, she convinced prison officials at Toledo Correctional Institution to allow Blake to visit his father.

Blake was about 6 when he first visited Cutts after the boy’s counselor endorsed the idea. Porter later was able to get regular visits approved with the help of politicians and civil rights activists.

Cutts’ chances of an early release are unlikely, but Porter is still hopeful. She said Blake needs his father.

“I felt like he had to go (to prison),” she said. “But now when Blake needs his dad in his life, he’s the one that suffers the most.”

Porter is hoping Cutts will be released by the time Blake graduates from high school.

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