Murder-for-hire suspect restored to competency in Middletown case

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

Jody Back, 50, formerly of the 800 block of Fifth Avenue, was in Butler County Common Pleas Court in February 2019, where Judge Greg Stephens considered the results of three court-ordered psychological evaluations before making the determination.

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Back was arrested Sept. 28, 2018 by Middletown police and charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, a first-degree felony.

The results of the first evaluation indicated Back did not understand the court proceedings and was unable to assist her attorney with her defense, so she was unable to stand trial. A second evaluation conducted by a different forensic psychologist indicated Back was competent.

Stephens ordered a third evaluation, which indicated Back is able to understand the nature of the proceedings and is not capable of assisting in her own defense, so she is incompetent.

The judge said both doctors who ruled Back was not competent indicated she could be restored to competency with treatment in the amount of time required by law, which is one year.

Back was ordered to be admitted to Summit Behavioral Healthcare facility in Cincinnati for treatment. In August, Stephens received a report from doctors stating she was competent and was assisting her attorney with her defense.

The judge set Back’s trial date for Jan. 22. But, a forensic examination to evaluate Back’s competency was again ordered.

Back is scheduled to be back in court today for a hearing.

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 timeframe 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. Her bond was set at $250,000 and she is currently housed in the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

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