Ex-Ohio cop led police to girlfriend's body, according to court papers

Shane Hoover

Bobby L. Cutts Jr. led police to the badly decomposed body of Jessie M. Davis, and his codefendant has indicated that Cutts admitted to her that he killed the 26-year-old Davis and her unborn daughter, according to court papers filed by Stark County prosecutors.

The revelations came Tuesday during a pretrial hearing at the Stark County Jail.

Cutts’ attorneys said they don’t believe Myisha L. Ferrell¹s statement to prosecutors contains an alleged admission by Cutts.

The 30-year-old former Canton police officer is charged with three counts of aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, gross abuse of a corpse and endangering children.

He denies guilt and is awaiting trial set to start in late January.

Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. said he would hold a hearing on the issue of Ferrell’s statement and asked Cutts’ attorneys to put any request for more information in writing.

The paperwork -- filed with the court -- contains prosecutors’ most revealing public outline of the case against Cutts. Authorities have been tight-lipped about the details, and Brown has imposed a gag order barring the parties from commenting publicly.

Cutts is the one who led police to the body on June 23, court papers say.

Investigators have previously refused to disclose what led them to the Summit County park where her body was found. Davis disappeared from her Lake Township home in June.

Authorities found the body on top of a burgundy comforter, court papers show. The Summit County medical examiner determined that Davis and her unborn daughter, Chloe, were homicide victims but couldn’t give a specific cause.

Ferrell pleaded guilty in November to obstructing justice and complicity to gross abuse of a corpse. She was sentenced to two years in prison, with the opportunity to be released to probation after serving one year. As part of the agreement, Ferrell must testify at Cutts’ trial.

Arguing about evidence

Carolyn Ranke, one of Cutts’ attorneys, argued that prosecutors hadn’t provided enough information in support of an aggravated burglary charge, requiring dismissal of that charge and the capital elements of the indictment. The defense also challenged the constitutionality of the death penalty.

In their written response, prosecutors said Cutts isn’t accused of breaking into Davis’ home. Instead, he may have initially entered the home with her consent, but “once he began to perpetrate an act of violence against Jessie Davis, any consent was revoked, and he became a trespasser, thereby committing aggravated burglary.”

It also was in that response that prosecutors made public new details of the case.

Brown denied the motion to dismiss the capital elements of the case.

After the hearing, when asked if the defense is getting the information it needs, attorney Fernando Mack said that discovery is a lengthy process and that he wanted to put the court and prosecutors on notice when it came to specific items.

He wouldn’t talk about Ferrell’s statement, citing the judge’s gag order.

For the state’s part, Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Dennis Barr noted a number of experts on a list of possible defense witnesses. If those experts are writing any reports, they should be turned over, Barr told the judge.

Brown said any issues related to the exchange of information need to be ironed out before the end of the month.

Jury pool news

What to ask potential jurors about pre-trial publicity also was discussed Tuesday. The judge granted a defense request to include questions about demonstrations and the distribution of pamphlets related to interracial relationships and news stories about domestic violence and police officers.

The court has mailed 800 summonses to prospective jurors for Cutts’ trial.

Not responding to the notices has its penalty.

Sixteen Stark County residents who failed to show up for jury service in Ferrell’s case received contempt of court citations.

Fourteen of the potential jurors agreed to pay $148 fines, but two who appeared before Brown on Monday asked for hearings. A man cited a medical condition, while a woman said she thought a felony conviction disqualified her from serving on a jury.

Reach Canton Repository writer Shane Hoover at (330) 580-8338.