FORT WORTH, Texas - A Tarrant County jury on Friday sentenced a woman to five years in prison for trying to kill her son by faking illnesses and making him undergo needless surgeries.
Danita Tutt was convicted earlier this week for injury to a child and attempted murder. She was given the minimum sentence of five years in prison for the first charge and will be eligible for parole after two and a half years. She will be on probation for the next 10 years for the second charge.
Tutt faced up to life in prison for faking her son Colby’s illnesses and even starving him. As a result, he had a series of unneeded surgeries.
The case first attracted attention and made national news in April 2016 when Colby, who was a big WWE fan, got a surprise visit from wrestler Eric Rowan at his Cleburne home. Tutt had said he was terminal at the time after being chronically ill since birth.
Her trial lasted about five weeks. She was convicted after the first week but then her attorney presented more than a dozen witnesses who testified that she is a good mother. They argued sending her to prison and breaking up her family would hurt her two sons who were living with her while she was free on bond and awaiting trial.
The defense asked the jury for probation on both counts. Prosecutors wanted prison time but didn’t suggest for how long. The jury sent the judge at least one note indicating they were having trouble deciding on a punishment.
“The jury had spent 3 and a half days deliberating guilt-innocence. We wanted to leave it in the jury’s hands to see what they thought was appropriate for this case,” said prosecutor Melinda Westmoreland.
Tutt appeared emotional as the judge issued her sentence. She held her hand over her mouth and then began to cry. She blew her family kisses as she was led out of the courtroom.
Defense attorneys say they will appeal.