The mother of a boy who received national attention because of his illness has been found guilty of attempted murder and injury to a child.
A Tarrant County jury convicted Cleburne mother, Danita Tutt Friday afternoon. The national attention came when a celebrity professional wrestler visited her sick son, Colby.
However, the jury agreed with prosecutors that Tutt not only faked Colby's poor health but actually contributed to it by withholding food.
Tutt put her head on the defense table and wept after the verdict and the jury had left the courtroom. She was found not guilty on two counts of injury to a child, but she was found guilty of one count of injury to a child and attempted murder.
“It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Serena Bair, a family friend. “It’s breaking our hearts.”
Prosecutors argued Tutt made up symptoms for her Colby to get doctors to perform surgeries they said he didn’t need. The state said she later withheld food.
Defense attorneys told the jury the state invented details to create a crime when no crime existed and that all Tutt ever did was show love for her children.
Prosecutors, Tutt's attorneys and family members did not comment after the verdicts. Only one of her friends did.
“This poor family has been through such heartache for two years and longer,” Bair said. “How can anybody feel this is justice.”
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.
“Those people are good parents. They deserve the best out of the system and they got the worst. Absolute worst,” Bair said. “They are great parents. Loving, nurturing, wonderful parents.”
The injury to a child conviction carries a punishment range of 5 to 99 years. The attempted murder charge carries could lead to 2 to 20 years in prison. Tutt is eligible for probation in both cases.
The trial has already taken a month. The jury will return Monday morning for the punishment phase of the trial.