A Texas man who allowed a toddler to drown so that the family could have more room in their home has been sentenced to life in prison, The Associated Press reports.
Bobby Woods Jr. was convicted last Friday of capital murder in the death of Mason Cuttler, and on Thursday, he was sentenced.
Back in 2015, as The Associated Press reported at the time, Woods, then 17-years-old, was living in a crowded home with three families when he learned that his girlfriend, later identified by Lufkin’s KTRE-TV as Billie Jean Cuttler, was pregnant. As Woods would later tell police, he decided that another child would be too many people in the home, so he decided that Cuttler’s nephew, Mason Cuttler, had to go.
Woods took the young boy to a pond, knowing he didn’t know how to swim, and threw him in. Woods then turned his back and ignored the boy’s cries for help.
Mason’s parents, Kevin Cuttler and Brandi Wonzer, didn’t know what Woods had done, and believed the lad had wandered off while playing outside, while the adults were inside cleaning. They reported him missing.
Mason’s body was found three days later.
According to KTRE’s coverage of Woods’ trial, prosecutors testified that Woods “freely and voluntarily” gave police information about when, where, why and how he killed Mason.
Closing arguments have wrapped up in the capital murder trial of Bobby Woods Jr. He's accused in the 2015 drowning of 3-year-old Mason Cuttler. KTRE's Khyati Patel was in court for both statements> https://t.co/zuW8w9Jgvx pic.twitter.com/Wr6zilXSDW
— KTRE News (@KTREnews) August 16, 2019
However, his defense team tried to get his confession to be disallowed as evidence — a motion which a judge denied. Woods later told jurors that his confession was a lie, and that he was “intimidated” by police officers who were questioning him. He also told the jury that he waived his right to have a lawyer present during questioning because he believed that lawyers were for guilty people.
The jury, however, instead sided with the prosecution, and found Woods guilty of murder. He has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Billie Jean Cuttler was also implicated in this crime. As KTRE-TV reported in a companion piece in June, Cuttler took a plea deal that allowed her to plead guilty to second-degree felony conspiracy to commit murder; she had been facing charges of capital murder, like Woods. With the plea deal, Cuttler avoided life in prison and instead was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
According to prosecutors, at various points during her case, she tried to pass herself off as mentally incompetent to stand trial, at one point being recorded laughing and saying, “I’ll play stupid.”