asFamily members, community bid tearful farewelll
Thomas J. Sheeran
The Associated Press
AKRON — Family members and the community that searched for her bid a tearful farewell Saturday to a pregnant woman who was killed along with her unborn baby.
“Our faith is challenged by what’s going on,” Bishop F. Josephus Johnson II said at the funeral service for Jessie Davis, 26.
Authorities say Davis was killed by her police officer boyfriend in her home near North Canton on June 14. Her body was found in a park nine days later, after thousands of volunteers spent three days searching the area.
Family members sobbed quietly as they approached the casket in the front of the 2,200-seat House of the Lord church, which was one-third filled with about 750 mourners.
Her mother, Patricia Porter, said her daughter — even at a young age — wanted to help the needy through Christian missionary work.
“She always had a heart for God and a heart for people,” Porter said.
Porter said her daughter had been a committed God-fearing person after doing overseas missionary work, but at some point “she took a wrong turn somewhere.”
Porter said her daughter realized in church a few weeks ago that she needed to reform her life. At the time she was unmarried and pregnant for a second time, apparently by the same married man now charged in her slaying.
According to Porter, her daughter turned to her mother in church and said, “Mom, I feel like God has really spoken to me today because I need to get my life in order.” Porter, without elaborating, said she was grateful that her daughter had done that.
Davis’ father, Ned Davis, who is divorced from Porter, made an emotional appeal to his family for reconciliation.
“May we strive to honor Jessie’s memory through reconciliation, communication and kindness to one another,” he said, addressing his comments to the couple’s six surviving children.
Then, addressing his ex-wife, he said he was hoping the two could “be the parents and grandparents we were meant to be.” The congregation burst into applause.
“I will remember the day,” said Davis, pausing to control sobs. “I will remember the day that Jessie Marie Davis came into this world.”
Canton police officer Bobby Cutts Jr., 30, has been charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Davis and her unborn baby, who was to be named Chloe. Davis was due to deliver Tuesday.
Family members said Cutts Jr. was the father of the unborn baby and Davis’ 2-year-old son.