A Middletown mother accused of running over and killing her 6-year-old son has been declared competent to stand trial following a forensic psychological evaluation and a finding by Judge Noah Powers II during a hearing today in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
Brittany Gosney, 29, and 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, Indiana.
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.
Gosney has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and her attorney, David Washington, raised questions about her competency to stand trial. After reviewing the forensic psychology report that stated Gosney was not suffering from any mental defect and was capable of understanding the charges against her, Powers declared her competent to stand trial.
Washington said after the hearing the not guilty by reason of insanity plea will be withdrawn.
When competency is questioned, both the prosecution and the defense have the right to a second psychological evaluation. Washington said after the hearing, “that wasn’t necessary.”
Gosney did waive her right to a speedy trial. She is scheduled to be back in court on May 24 for a preliminary hearing.
Court documents say Gosney and Hamilton, between Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, made efforts to “hog-tie” the hands and legs of Hutchinson and his siblings, ages 7 and 9, behind their backs and place cloths in their mouths, leaving them in that position for hours.
Bond was set at $2 million for Brittany Gosney Monday, March 8, 2021 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. Gosney is charged with multiple counts in connection to the death of her 6-year-old son James
Middletown police say Gosney confessed to killing 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. That is alleged to have happened Feb 26.
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 area and threw the body into the Ohio River, according to police.
Hutchinson’s body was left in the house for almost 48 hours, and a concrete block was tied to his body before it was tossed in the river, according to court documents. Hutchinson’s body has not been found despite several searches in the water and along the banks of the river
Gosney said she was under pressure from Hamilton to get rid of Hutchinson and his two siblings, according to authorities.
The prosecution has filed some evidence in the case, including notice to the defense of DNA testing of two swabs from the floor of the Crawford Street house.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said he could not comment on what evidence might be contained in the swabs, such as blood from Hutchinson.
But prosecutors need to have more than just a confession to prove murder and that doesn’t necessarily mean a body, he said.
“The body, for me, while I would like to have it, is unessential,” Gmoser said. “But you have to have other evidence of the factual circumstance of the crime other than a mere confession. Confessions are important; they give you a lot of direction. It helps you find other evidence, it tells your investigators where to go and where to look for other things that corroborate certain things. But there has to be other evidence of a crime.”
Hamilton will have his next hearing May 24. He has waived his rights to a speedy trial until then.
Earlier this month, bond was set at $2 million for Gosney and $750,000 for Hamilton.