Davis’ family comes home

Volunteers renovate donated house for son, mother of pregnant woman killed in June  (For the full story please continue)

Patty Porter, the mother of the late Jessie Marie Davis, center, holds hands with Ann Kagarise, left, and Jennifer Snyder and reacts as she sees Nov. 19, 2007, the Coventry Township, Ohio, home in which she and her two-year-old grandson, Blake, will be living. Blake is the son of Jesse Marie Davis, who prosecutors say was killed by her lover, Canton patrolman Bobby Cutts Jr. The home was donated by Countrywide Home Loans. THe Home Builders Association Serving Portage & Summit Counties oversaw renovations. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal)

They couldn’t undue the nightmare that will forever haunt this family.

Yet, the Home Builders Association Serving Portage and Summit Counties and others were committed to doing all within their powers to let in a little sunshine.

For 60 days, volunteers from the local building industry labored hard and long to make over a house in Coventry Township for the family of the late Jessie Marie Davis, the 26-year-old pregnant Lake Township woman who was killed last summer. Charged in that horrific crime is Canton police officer Bobby Cutts Jr., the father of Blake, who is also believed to be the father of Davis’ unborn daughter. Davis was within days of delivering her daughter Chloe.

On Monday evening, Patty Porter — Davis’ mother — her soon-to-be 3-year-old grandson Blake Davis and other family members — some blindfolded — were led to their new home, complete with a security system.

The three-bedroom, split-level foreclosure home was donated to Blake and his grandmother by Countrywide Home Loans and volunteers from the home builders association. The interior was stripped down to the studs. The exterior got new siding, shutters, windows and a garage door.

Jennifer Snyder of Charlotte, N.C. — formerly of Uniontown — who earlier shepherded a huge fundraising effort she called ”Blake’s Brighter Tomorrow” that includes an educational trust fund, also worked on securing a number of other
surprises for the family, including furnishings and a decorated Christmas tree.

June Lambert of Uniontown, who took part in the search for Jessie Davis, also played a role in turning the house into a home for Blake, his grandmother and two of her adopted sons, 17 and 12.

The refurbished home is a beautiful blend of old and new. The work was facilitated by association President Len Huddleston and 118 volunteers.

Davis’ glass dining room table, living room furniture and Blake’s old play table are there.

”It was important, we thought, to have some familiar things for Blake,” Snyder said.

Brand-new is the living room furniture, donated by Williams Furniture in Dover; a new outdoor playset from Hartville Kid’s World; a 37-inch television; a pantry and refrigerator full of food, plus a membership from BJ’s Wholesale Club; bedroom furniture from Andrea’s furniture in Sugarcreek; and a riding lawn mower, trimmer, leaf blower and snowblower from Bair’s in North Canton.

Ann Kagarise of New Franklin was the one who planted the seed for getting a house for the family by writing a letter to the home builders association.

Kagarise, who is a reporter with the Suburbanite, said she went home and wrote the letter the day after Davis’ body was found.

”We can’t help everybody,” Kagarise said about the reason for helping this family, who at the time numbered six and were living in a cramped two-bedroom apartment. ”But we can help the one in front of us.”

All of us, she said, have the capacity to do the same.

”That letter really touched us,” Huddleston said. ”So we had some conversations with our board and Secretary-Treasurer Tony Crasi.”

”And Countrywide donated the foreclosed property.”

Porter, who was tearful upon seeing the house, said she was overwhelmed and overjoyed.

”I just can’t say thank you enough,” she said.

Other surprises included:

The $31,000 gift tax associated with the house has been paid — a large portion by a couple of Snyder’s clients.

Grace Bible Church in New Franklin is preparing and serving Thanksgiving dinner for 30 at the new house.

As a special thank you to all of the people who worked on the house and gave so freely of their time, Cleveland Browns cornerback Leigh Bodden came to the post-ribbon-cutting party at nearby Tadmor Temple to meet with the family and to distribute 100 free tickets to the Browns’ last game of the season against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Browns also delivered a team jacket to Blake and goodie bags to his uncles for their rooms.          

There are 2 pages devoted of how and what all a wonderful community did to help ease the tragedy this family suffered.  Highly recommended reading if you had followed the case from the onset…… continue