Middletown woman charged in murder-for-hire plot ruled competent for trial

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Jody Back is charged with conspiracy to commit murder

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A new trial date has been set for a Middletown woman charged with plotting to kill an acquaintance in 2018 after she was declared competent for a third time to stand trial.

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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In February 2019, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens declared Back incompetent to stand trial following forensic psychological evaluation. Back was sent 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 Frederick again raised questions about Back’s mental health while preparing her case and requested further forensic evaluation.

Two more psychological evaluations of Back followed in which both doctors declared her competent.

During Monday’s brief hearing, defense attorneys said they plan to file a motion to suppress statements Back made to investigators. Back talked with her attorneys while standing at the podium stating she was “doing well” at the jail facility.

Stephens previously sent Back to Summit for housing so she could undergo a mental health maintenance program, but he ordered Monday that she stay in the county jail.

On Monday, Stephens set Back’s trial for May 5. She remains housed in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.

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

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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