Middletown mother pleads guilty to killing 6-year-old James Hutchinson

A Middletown woman has pleaded guilty to killing her 6-year-old son, whose body was disposed of in the Ohio River.

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.

Gosney pleaded guilty to murder and two counts of felony child endangering this morning. Thirteen other charges against her were dismissed.

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Noah Powers II told Gosney she can be given life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years and 36 months each for the child endangering charges. She will be sentenced on Sept. 13.

Gosney was facing felony charges related to all three of her children, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse and endangering children. Hamilton faces charges of kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, kidnapping and endangering children.

The charges Gosney admitted to were for the torture and hog tying of Hutchinson’s two older siblings. The murder charge states Hutchinson died as result of child endangering when Gosney tried to abandon her three children and in the process recklessly caused the death of the boy before bringing his body back to the Crawford Street residence she shared with Hamilton.

Hamilton was also in court today after Goseny’s plea and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing next Monday.

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.

Gosney was in court this morning for a previously scheduled hearing on a motion to suppress her statements to police. Her trial had been scheduled to start Sept. 20. Hamilton has a trial date of Oct. 4.

Attorney David Washington wrote in his motion to suppress statements 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.

The motion to suppress was withdrawn late Friday, according to prosecutors.

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.

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

“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.

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

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 had been set at $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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