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Judge orders competency evaluation in case of Middletown mother accused in son’s death

Posted at 11:30 AM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 05:20:45-04

A judge ordered a competency evaluation for Brittany Gosney in a court appearance Monday morning, according to the Journal-News.

Her attorney filed a motion this morning to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, and Judge Noah Powers II set a hearing date for April 26 in her case.

Her boyfriend, James Hamilton, also charged in the case, will have his next hearing on April 12. His attorney said multiple motions will be filed soon.


A Middletown mother and her boyfriend charged in the death of her 6-year-old son and throwing his body in the Ohio River are scheduled to be in court this morning.

Brittany Gosney, 29, and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, 43, were indicted March 5 on a combined 31-count indictment for the slaying of 6-year-old James Hutchinson on Feb. 26 in rural Preble County and the disposal of his body days later in the river near Lawrenceburg, Ind.

Court-appointed attorneys David Washington for Gosney and Jeremy Evans for Hamilton entered not guilty pleas on behalf of the defendants, and Judge Noah Powers II set bond at $2 million for Gosney and $750,000 for Hamilton.

They are scheduled to be back in Power’s courtroom today. Gosney’s plea could change to not guilty by reason of insanity during the hearing.

Washington filed a motion last week indicating his intention to pursue a not guilty by reason of insanity plea and a question of competency for Gosney to stand trial.

“(Gosney) struggles to assist in her defense and counsel has serious concerns regarding defendant’s mental health,” Washington wrote in the brief motion.

Washington told the Journal-News he is concerned about Gosney’s mental health and her circumstances at the time “the alleged offenses occurred, that is the (not guilty by reason of insanity plea).”

He added that the competency question is based primarily on the statement she made at arraignment in Middletown Municipal Court on March 1.

“I have a learning disability ... I don’t understand what you’re saying,” Gosney told Judge James Sherron when he read the charges against her and asked if she wanted an court-appointed attorney.

Law enforcement and search and rescue teams have continued to search the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Ind., for the boy’s body, but as of Friday it had not been recovered.

Middletown police say Gosney confessed to killing James Hutchinson, a first-grader at Rosa Parks Elementary, as he clung to her minivan when she attempted 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. on Feb. 28, they drove down Interstate 275 in the van to the Lawrenceburg, Indiana, area and threw the body into the Ohio River, according to police.

Gosney and Hamilton are facing felony crimes against all three children, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse and endangering children for Gosney and kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, kidnapping and endangering children for Hamilton.

According to the Preble County Sheriff’s Office report, Gosney said she was under pressure from Hamilton to get rid of Hutchinson and his two siblings, ages 9 and 7. The 29-year-old mother drove the three children in a 2005 Dodge Caravan to Rush Run to abandon them.