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

HAMILTON — A Middletown woman accused of killing her 6-year-old son James Hutchinson earlier this year has changed her plea to guilty on three of the 16 charges she was facing, according to court records.

>>PREVIOUS REPORT: Trial dates set for Middletown mother, boyfriend accused in James Hutchinson’s death

Brittany Gosney, 29, changed her plea to guilty on charges of murder and two counts of endangering children stemming from the events that led to the death of her son in late February.

>>RELATED: Middletown mother accused of killing son ruled competent to stand trial

The other 13 charges Gosney was facing have been dropped as part of the plea agreement.

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

Her sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 13.

Monday’s change of plea comes about a month before she was scheduled for a jury trial. The change to guilty pleas will avoid the trial.

“It absolutely is justice (for Hutchinson),” Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said during a news conference after the change of plea Monday. He further explained that the guilty plea, as charged to the murder charge carries a required sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

Gmoser added his office will recommend a life sentence to Judge Noah Powers for Gosney during the sentencing next month.

When Gosney is sentenced in September, she will not be eligible for the death penalty as this was never a death penalty case, Gmoser went on to explain.

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

“There are many in this community that in their heart of hearts the death penalty should apply. It absolutely does not and never did,” he said. “Felony murder requires causing the death as the result of an underlying offense of violence. In this case the child endangering did not occur with respect to that child.”

“The death penalty was never an option, it was never something that could be considered,” Gmoser said.

The “guilty plea as charged” that Gosney submitted today on the murder charge also eliminates any chances at appeal, Gmoser said.

“All doubt has been removed. All questions of how this happened have been removed,” Gmoser said.

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

Gosney’s boyfriend, James Hamilton, 42, who was also charged in the incidents, is scheduled for a court appearance Monday as well. Monday’s appearance is listed as a final pretrial hearing with his trial set to start October 4, according to court records.

Hamilton continues to face 15 charges including kidnapping, abduction, endangering children, and others.

>>I-Team: Could Middletown mother have legally surrendered kids to state before son’s death?

Gosney and Hamilton were accused of killing Hutchinson, dumping his body in the Ohio River, then tried to report the boy was missing to Middletown police hours later.

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 fatal 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.

In April, Gosney was ruled competent to stand trial after initially entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.