Crime And Law

Boyfriend who helped cover up 6-year-old’s murder pleads guilty

Police said Brittany Gosney (top left) and James Hamilton (bottom left) have been charged in connection with the murder and disappearance of the body of Gosney's 6-year-old son James Hutchinson.

HAMILTON — The boyfriend of a Middletown woman who admitted to killing her 6-year-old son also pleaded guilty to charges and will avoid a jury trial.

>>PREVIOUS REPORT: Boyfriend accused in death of 6-year-old James Hutchinson planning to plead guilty to charges

James Hamilton, 42, changed his plea to guilty to charges of kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, and two counts of endangering children stemming from the events around the death of James Hutchinson in late February. The remaining 11 charges he was facing will be dropped as part of the plea agreement.

>>RELATED: Middletown woman pleads guilty to murder in death of 6-year-old son

Hamilton will be officially sentenced on Oct. 4. He faces up to 19 years in prison when he is sentenced.

>>RELATED: Mother, boyfriend accused of killing 6-year-old indicted on 31 felonies

Hamilton was due to change his plea Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court, but the hearing was delayed until Tuesday afternoon after some questions were raised during the hearing about his possible sentencing.

>>RELATED: Timeline: How the investigation into James Hutchinson’s death unfolded

His change of plea comes about a week after Hutchinson’s mother, Brittany Gosney, 29, entered guilty pleas to charges of murder and endangering children.

>>RELATED: Mother charged with James Hutchinson’s murder not eligible for death penalty

Both of the endangering children counts for Gosney and Hamilton came after investigators said they “hog-tied” and put cloth rags in the mouths of Hutchinson and his two siblings before Gosney attempted to abandon them.

>>Court records: Mother, boyfriend ‘hog-tied’ James Hutchinson, siblings before boy’s death

Gosney is set to be sentenced in her case Sept. 13. She could face a life in prison sentence for pleading guilty to murder and Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser previously said he will recommend a life sentence.

Gosney and Hamilton were charged earlier this year after investigators said Gosney killed Hutchinson while trying to abandon him, then both Gosney and Hamilton threw the boy’s body into the Ohio River.

Gosney had taken Hutchinson and her other two children to Rush Run Wildlife Area in Preble County with the intent on abandoning them in the early morning hours of Feb. 27. Hutchinson suffered a deadly injury when he grabbed onto the vehicle Gosney was driving as she sped away.

According to investigative records, Gosney said she intended to abandon the children after feeling pressure from Hamilton to do so.

After bringing Hutchinson’s body back to Middletown, along with the two other children who were not hurt, Gosney and Hamilton drove to Lawrenceburg, Indiana about 24 hours after the boy died. Investigators said the boy’s body was dumped into the Ohio River from the Carroll Cropper Bridge, the I-275 bridge that crosses the river.

Hutchinson’s body has not been recovered, despite multiple attempts by search crews in the months following his death.

Court records also allege Hutchinson and his two siblings were hog-tied and tortured in the hours before Gosney drove them to Preble County with the intention of abandoning them. They were left in that position for hours and “with purpose to terrorize and/or inflict serious physical harm,” prosecutors allege.

Additionally, investigators allege after Hutchinson’s death, Gosney and Hamilton tied a concrete block to the boy’s body when they dumped it in the Ohio River.