Man convicted of murder starts appeal process

Shane Hoover

Bobby L. Cutts Jr. took the first step in appealing his aggravated murder conviction Friday with the filing of paperwork with the 5th District Court of Appeals.

The notice of appeal, which doesn’t include detailed arguments, lists change of venue, failure to instruct on a lesser included offense, allowance of impermissible hearsay, inconsistent verdicts and sufficiency of evidence as probable issues for review.

“Those are the big issues,” said Carolyn Ranke, one of Cutts’ attorneys.

More than a year could pass before a three-judge panel rules on the case.

The trial transcript is upward of 1,700 pages, and the defense continues preparing its appeal brief, Ranke said.

Cutts, 30, is serving a life-sentence for the deaths of Jessie M. Davis and their unborn daughter and won’t be eligible for parole until he has spent 57 years behind bars.

A Stark County jury convicted the former city police officer in February of two counts of aggravated murder, murder, aggravated burglary, child endangering and two counts of gross abuse of a corpse, but decided against recommending a death sentence.

County prosecutors argued that Cutts strangled Davis, 26, in her Lake Township home on June 14, 2006. She was just weeks from giving birth to her second child by Cutts.

He told jurors that he killed Davis with an accidental elbow to her throat when she tried to stop him from leaving her home during an argument.

After Davis died, Cutts said, he panicked and dumped her body in a Summit County park, where it decomposed for more than a week before he led investigators to the location.

The case attracted national media attention, and Cutts’ attorneys asked Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. to move the trial to a different county.

Brown denied that request, as well as defense motions to limit testimony about Cutts’ love life and statements made by the 2-year-old son he had with Davis.

The judge also refused to let the jury consider the lesser offenses of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

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