Competency again questioned for woman in Middletown murder-for-hire case

A Middletown woman who was charged with plotting to kill an acquaintance in 2018 and declared incompetent to stand trial has been restored to competency, but her attorneys have raised more questions about her mental health.

Jody Back, 50, formerly of the 800 block of Fifth Avenue, was arrested Sept. 28, 2018 by Middletown police and charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, a first-degree felony.

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A Jan. 22 trial date was set earlier this year after doctors determined she was competent to stand trial. In February, after declaring Back incompetent to stand trial, Judge Greg Stephens sent Back to Summit Behavioral Healthcare facility in Cincinnati for treatment.

In August, Stephens received a report from doctors stating she was competent and could assist attorneys with her defense. But defense attorneys Ched Peck and Chris Fredrick again raised questions about Back’s mental health while preparing her case and requested further forensic evaluation.

On Monday, Back was in court again, and Stephens said the latest evaluation indicated Back was competent to stand trial with “maintenance” in a mental health treatment program.

“The doctor does have the opinion she is competent to stand trial, but there are concerns about maintaining a proper maintenance plan to keep her competent through trial,” Stephens said.

MORE: Middletown woman ruled incompetent for trial in murder-for-hire case

The defense requested another evaluation for Back, which Stephens granted. The trial date was vacated and Back is scheduled to be back in court Feb. 9.

Middletown police say Back wanted the alleged intended target out of the way so she could leave the country with her daughter. Back met with a confidential informant on Sept. 26, 27 and 28, 2018 to negotiate a monetary deal to have another woman killed, according to court records obtained by the Journal-News. Back provided an address for the woman and a time frame to have her killed.

The confidential informant contacted police on Sept. 26 and told them that Back was trying to hire someone to kill the woman, according to detectives

The informant indicated the agreed amount was $5,000, but Back said she could not afford the price. That is when there was an agreement to turn over a house she owns on Yankee Road to the informant.

While Back was under surveillance by the police department, she went into a local credit union and signed over the house to the informant. Back was arrested shortly after.

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