Defense presents case for former officer accused of killing pregnant girlfriend

AP Photo OHTD103, OHTD101

By JOE MILICIA

Associated Press Writer

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Defense attorneys began presenting their case Monday in the trial of a former police officer accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend and called a witness who said scientists couldn't find blood on items taken from his home.

Kylie Graham, a criminalist for Stark County crime lab, testified that she couldn't confirm blood on gloves, a sweat shirt and other clothing collected from former Officer Bobby Cutts Jr.'s house on June 20, five days after Jessie Marie Davis was reported missing.

Investigators found a large bleach stain on the carpeting in Davis' bedroom and could not find any blood evidence in the room. Gary Rini, an independent forensic science consultant, testified that bleach won't make blood stains undetectable.

"It actually enhances the ability to detect blood because it dilutes it and spreads it in a further area," Rini said.

Cutts' attorneys told the jury during opening statements that there was no evidence linking Cutts to Davis' killing. Prosecutors warned the jury that common sense, not DNA evidence, would determine the case.

Cutts' friend, Myisha Ferrell, is the case's key witness and testified earlier that Cutts demonstrated to her that he choked Davis with his arm. Defense attorneys have not challenged Ferrell's testimony that she witnessed Cutts dumping the body in a park about 20 miles from Davis' northeast Ohio home.

Cutts, 30, also father of Davis' 2 1/2-year-old son, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges, and could receive the death penalty if convicted. He resigned from his post as a Canton patrolman.

Prosecutors have said Cutts was feeling the pressure of his crumbling marriage, financial debt and supporting several children.

Thousands searched for the 26-year-old Davis in the area surrounding her home in the days she was missing after her death and before Cutts led authorities to the body.