April 24, 2014

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Prosecutor: Classmate helped hide woman’s body

Joe Milicia
The Associated Press
CANTON — Prosecutors on Monday accused a woman of helping dispose of the body of a pregnant woman, who authorities say was slain by her police officer boyfriend.
Previously, investigators have said Myisha Ferrell lied to authorities investigating the deaths of Jessie Davis and her unborn daughter, but they had not given further details about the accusations against her.
Ferrell, charged with obstruction of justice, is a former high school classmate of Bobby Cutts Jr., the Canton police officer accused of killing Davis and the girl she planned to name Chloe.
Davis’ family says she did not know Ferrell.
Cutts, 30, is the father of Davis’ 2½-year-old son, and her family says he was the father of the unborn baby that had been due to be delivered Tuesday.
Cutts on Monday gave up his right to a preliminary hearing on two murder counts, a move his attorney said will help ensure a fair trial by keeping evidence from the public for now.
Attorney Bradley Iams said he plans to do everything he can in “not allowing bits and pieces of the evidence out.”
Authorities say Davis was killed in her home near North Canton on June 14. Her body was found nine days later about 25 miles away after thousands of volunteers searched the area. Authorities have not said how they found it.
In a separate court appearance when Ferrell sought a reduction to her $500,000 bond, a prosecutor said she helped hide Davis’ body and lied to authorities several times during the investigation. Judge Richard Kubilus would not lower the bond.
Ferrell’s attorney John Alexander Jr. said he was upset Canton Prosecutor Frank Forchione discussed the accusations against his client after she too waived her preliminary hearing.
“I didn’t think it was necessarily appropriate to say that,” Alexander said.
Forchione said Ferrell could face additional charges and defended saying she helped dispose of the body.
“That comment was important for the judge to hear so we could keep a high cash bond of half a million dollars on an obstruction of justice case, which is generally a higher bond than necessary,” he said.
Earlier, when Cutts entered Canton Municipal Court shackled at the wrists and ankles, his mother Renee Horne broke into tears.
He stood before a packed courtroom that included Davis’ mother, Patricia Porter, and her sister, Whitney Davis. He was barely audible when he answered “yes” three times when Kubilus asked whether he understood what he was doing in waiving the hearing.
If the hearing had gone forward, prosecutors would have been required to inform the court why Cutts was arrested in Davis’ murder.
“I already know the answer to those questions,” Iams said.
The case will be sent to a grand jury where prosecutors will seek an indictment.
Cutts’ family and his pastor, C.A. Richmond, declined comment afterward.
Davis’ mother sat just a few feet from Cutts in court and said afterward that she has no feelings toward him.
“I want him to have a fair trial probably more than anybody because at some point I’m going to have to explain all this to my grandson,” Porter said.
Davis was reported missing when her mother went to her home near North Canton and found Davis’ son, Blake, in a dirty diaper, the bedroom furniture toppled and a pool of bleach on the floor.
Blake provided authorities with the first clues, saying: “Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy’s in rug.”
Cutts, who also has a child with his estranged wife, was arrested the day the body was found and has been held on $5 million bond.
A medical examiner is determining the cause of death and testing the paternity of the fetus.
About 750 mourned Davis at her funeral Saturday at a church in nearby Akron.
Porter said at the service that 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.