Sentencing rescheduled for man who abused Middletown children and disposed of 6-year-old’s body

Hearing postponed until Oct. 5 for man who faces a maximum of 19 years in prison.

Sentencing for a Middletown man who abused a 6-year-old boy and disposed his body in the Ohio River after his mother killed him has been rescheduled in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

James Hamilton, 43, pleaded guilty to kidnapping, two counts of child endangering and gross abuse of a corpse in connection with the abuse and death of James Hutchinson and abuse of his two siblings in February. He faces a maximum of 19 years in prison.

When Hamilton pleaded guilty in August, Judge Noah Powers II set sentencing for Oct. 4, but today the sentencing was postponed one day to Oct. 5.

The reason for the continuance was to allow for the hearing on a day when other cases were not scheduled.

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Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Brittany Gosney, 29, Hamilton’s girlfriend, pleaded to murder and two counts of felony child endangering for killing Hutchinson and abusing his siblings. She was sentenced Sept. 13 to life in prison with parole eligibility after 21 years.

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A hearing to determine if Hamilton will be required to register as a violent offender when released from prison will be held before the sentencing. Hamilton’s attorney Jeremy Evans argues Hamilton was the not primary offender in the crimes and should not be required to register. Evans says there’s no evidence Hamilton actually tied up Hutchison or his two older siblings.

The crime of kidnapping would require Hamilton to register for 10 years if he is deemed to be a primary offender. Evans said in court records that while prosecutors will state Hamilton had purchased rope a day or two before the incident and admits he told Gosney how to hog tie someone, “there is no evidence that Mr. Hamilton was the one who tied the children up, was present when it occurred or supervised the act.”

A sentencing memorandum is also a part of court documents filed by Evans on Hamilton’s behalf that include statements from family members.

A handwritten letter with the name of the person redacted by the clerk of courts office, states it is from Hamilton’s sister.

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“I would like to start by saying sorry to all involved and thank you for all the searching everyone his doing. I hope James is found so he can get a (proper burial),” the sister says in the letter. “There is no way to explain what came over my brother and he knows deep down it was wrong in so many ways (but) he really ain’t a bad person.”

The sister says Hamilton helped care for his mother who is now dead and took odd jobs to provide for his family.

Hamilton’s 18-year-old step-daughter and wife also wrote letters. Their names are also redacted, but the Journal-News has previously talked with Priscilla Hamilton, James’ wife.

In the letter, Hamilton’s step-daughter says he is a “great man” her.

“My biological father was never really a part of my life, but James stepped up and became the father I needed. To say that he never did anything bad to me is true, but it fails to show all of the amazing things he has done to support me. Phone visits are never enough. I just want to see him face to face his face, hug and kiss him, tell him how much I miss him, and introduce him to my baby that is on the way,” the step-daughter said in the letter.

Priscilla Hamilton said in the letter that she and Hamilton have been together for 17 years and married for nearly 12 years.

“My experience with James is he is a very kind, loving and caring man. He has raised my baby (his step-daughter) from six months old and never once has harmed her in any way. He was never forced to help with her, but was more than willing to do so anyway,” Priscilla Hamilton said in the letter. She urged the judge to give Hamilton a fair sentence, “instead of what you think the community is demanding.”

At Hamilton’s sentencing, Priscilla Hamilton said Hutchinson’s father is her brother and he and Gosney were living with her for a while before they started living in area hotels.

Hamilton admitted to hog tying Hutchinson, putting a cloth in his mouth and leaving him. He also admitted to doing the same to his siblings then throwing the 6-year-old’s body in the Ohio River.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said after the hearing the family is welcome to their opinion and so is he.

“It happened because of evil in the hearts of defendant Gosney and defendant Hamilton,” Gmoser said. “He did monstrous things to little Jimmy.”

Gosney and Hamilton were indicted in March on a combined 31-count indictment for the slaying of 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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Hutchinson’s body has not been found but dive teams continue efforts when the water is safe to do so.

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