Attorney: Middletown mother’s statements about 6-year-old’s death should be thrown out

Defense says Brittany Gosney was under ‘significant duress’ when interviewed by police.

The attorney for a Middletown woman accused in the death of her 6-year-old son and the disposal of the boy’s body in the Ohio Rivers says her statements to detectives should be thrown out at trial because her rights were violated.

Brittany Gosney, 29, and boyfriend James Hamilton, 43, were indicted in March on a combined 31-count indictment for the slaying of James Hutchinson on Feb. 26 in rural Preble County and the disposal of his body days later in the river near Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

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Gosney and Hamilton are facing felony charges related to all three of Gosney’s children, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse and endangering children for Gosney and kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, kidnapping and endangering children for Hamilton.

Separate trial dates of Sept. 20 for Gosney and Oct. 4 for Hamilton have been set in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Gosney is scheduled to be back before Judge Noah Powers II on Aug. 16 for a hearing on the motion to suppress her statements. Attorney David Washington and Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said it’s possible Gosney’s statements will be played in court at that hearing.

Washington wrote that Gosney was interrogated extensively on Feb. 28, and he believes the presence of an attorney would have been appropriate.

“As (Gosney) was under significant duress before the time the statements were taken and she clearly didn’t understand the significance of the statements given outside the presence of (her) counsel, her statements should be suppressed,” Washington said in the motion.

Washington told the Journal-News that the detectives took advantage of Gosney’s state of mind during questioning.

“She couldn’t have realized what was going on and what was happening around her based on the circumstance,” Washington said.

According to Middletown police, Gosney and Hamilton came to the police station to report James missing on Feb. 28, but the story didn’t add up and the situation changed quickly to a death investigation.

“She didn’t go in there alone,” Washington said. “There is definitely a stronger personality and a weaker one here.”

He declined to elaborate.

Gosney’s statements to detectives could potentially be played during the hearing, Washington said. Gmoser said that “it’s possible. A lot will depend on what the judge wants to hear and what Washington and I may request.”

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Hamilton’s attorney, Jeremy Evans, indicated in May there were negotiations with prosecutors for a possible plea in the case. There have been no additional filings in Hamilton’s case.

Evans told the Journal-News there will likely not be any movement in his client’s case until after the Gosney hearing.

“The two cases are so intricately entwined that we are waiting to see what the outcome of the hearing on Ms. Gosney is before moving forward,” Evans said.

Hamilton will not be at Gosney’s hearing, but Evans plans to attend.

Court documents say Gosney and Hamilton, between Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, made efforts to “hog-tie” the hands and legs of Hutchinson and his siblings, ages 7 and 9, behind their backs and place cloths in their mouths, leaving them in that position for hours.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Middletown police say Gosney confessed to killing Hutchinson, a first-grader at Rosa Parks Elementary School, who was killed Feb. 26 after he clung to her minivan as she allegedly sped off while attempting to abandon him and his two siblings at Rush Run Wild Life Area.

Gosney and Hamilton put Hutchinson’s body in a spare room under a window at their Crawford Street home, they told police. At about 3 a.m. Feb. 28, they drove down Interstate 275 in the minivan to the Lawrenceburg area and threw the boy’s body into the Ohio River, according to police.

Hutchinson’s body was left in the house for almost 48 hours, and a concrete block was tied to his body before it was tossed in the river, according to court documents. Hutchinson’s body has not been found despite several searches in the water and along the banks of the river.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Gosney said she was under pressure from Hamilton to get rid of Hutchinson and his two siblings, according to authorities.

Bond is $2 million for Gosney and $750,000 for Hamilton.

Hutchinson’s body has not been recovered, but efforts are continuing when weather and the water current allows, according to Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson, who is coordinating the search.

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