Ohio cop accused of murder wants media banned

Shane Hoover

Bobby L. Cutts Jr.’s lawyers are asking a judge to bar the press from  attending pretrial hearings related to evidence in the case.

Attorneys Fernando Mack and Myron P. Watson argue the media’s reporting on

the evidence could taint the pool of prospective jurors, according to court papers filed Friday.

Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday with Mack and Watson. Defense attorneys often ask judges to limit the evidence prosecutors are allowed to present at trial. Those hearings are held before the case goes to a jury and are open to the public.

Cutts’ attorneys say his right to a fair trial outweighs the public’s right to attend those hearings.

Cutts, 30, of Plain Township, Ohio, is accused of killing 26-year-old Jessie M. Davis and her unborn daughter, Chloe.

The suspended Canton police officer faces three counts of aggravated murder -- two of the counts are for Chloe’s death -- that could bring the death penalty if he’s convicted.

Cutts also is charged with aggravated burglary, endangering children and two counts of gross abuse of a corpse.

Hundreds of volunteers searched for Davis after her family reported her missing from her Lake Township home on June 15.

Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. has placed a gag order on all participants in the case, but court hearings have been open to the public. The judge has not ruled on Cutts’ request, and no hearing has been set.

John Kurtzman, chief counsel for the Stark County prosecutor’s office, said prosecutors are analyzing the issue and have yet to file a response.

Ferrell, 30, is charged with obstructing justice and complicity to gross abuse of a corpse. If convicted, she faces up to six years in prison.

Her attorneys have not asked the judge to close the hearing to the public.

Reach Canton Repository writer Shane Hoover at (330) 580-8338 or e-mail

shane.hoover@cantonrep.com