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Ohio mom hog-tied, gagged children before killing 6-year-old son, prosecutors reveal

Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 6:59 PM EDT
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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (FOX19) - The Middletown mother charged with killing her 6-year-old son is accused in new court records of, along with her boyfriend, hog-tying the boy and his two siblings up by their hands and feet, putting cloth in their mouths, and leaving them that way for hours leading up to his death.

This was done “with purpose to terrorize and/or inflict serious harm” to the children, prosecutors wrote.

According to Middletown police, Brittany Gosney confessed to killing her youngest child on Feb. 26 as he tried to get back into her minivan when she abandoned him and his two siblings, 9 and 7, at Rush Run Wild Life Area in Preble County.

Gosney left the park but went back for the children about 30 or 40 minutes later, police have said. She put them in the van and returned to their Middletown home.

That’s where prosecutors say Gosney and her boyfriend, James Hamilton, put her son’s body in a spare room and left it there 48 hours before driving to the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, court records show.

At some point, a concrete block was tied to the first grader’s body before they threw it into the water, prosecutors wrote.

The latest court records also allege Gosney and Hamilton removed the hard drive from video cameras at their residence along with tape and rope and hid them at another location.

Gosney, 29, and Hamilton, 43, face a combined 31-count indictment in connection with the slaying of her son.

Both initially pleaded not guilty, but now Gosney is pursuing the insanity defense and changed her plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.

While 31 charges are listed, Gosney and Hamilton will not be found guilty on every single one because some overlap, according to FOX19 NOW legal expert Mike Allen.

“Many times, prosecutors will put charges in as a backup, so to speak,” said Allen. “Especially in homicide cases where if they don’t get a conviction on the main murder charge there is still a manslaughter charge there.”

Eighteen charges reference the allegation the children were hog-tied the day before or the day of James’ murder. The wording in the documents reads that James and at least one of his sisters were tied up.

“The abduction and the kidnapping charges overlap as well,” Allen explained. “Again, I think it was just the prosecutor acting with an abundance of caution requesting that the grand jury issue the number of charges that they did.”

Gosney’s defense team has already suggested an insanity plea, according to court documents.

What Gosney and Hamilton are alleged to have done by removing the hard drive from video cameras in their home and also removing rope, could impact the insanity plea.

“It would show that she had the wherewithal and they had the wherewithal to attempt to hide evidence and that does not help an insanity defense,” Allen said. “It doesn’t mean that it will ultimately fail for that reason, but it certainly doesn’t help

Gosney and Hamilton reported James missing the morning of Feb. 28, but Middletown police say discrepancies in their stories followed by Gosney’s statements led to the couple’s arrest.

According to the Preble County Sheriff’s Office report, Gosney told investigators she was under pressure from her boyfriend to get rid of Hutchinson and his siblings.

She is facing charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter and multiple counts of endangering children, gross abuse of a corpse, kidnapping, and abduction.

Hamilton was also indicted for kidnapping, abduction, endangering children, tampering with evidence, and gross abuse of a corpse.

Gosney is held in lieu of a $2 million bond at the Butler County Jail.

Hamilton’s bond is $750,000.

Their tentative trial date is May 24.

Both are scheduled to return to court next month first for separate hearings.

Searchers, meanwhile, have been unable to resume searching for James’ body in the Ohio River for the past week.

Divers have been stymied by the weather and rapidly-moving and rising water.

Sonar imaging indicated there was a high degree of confidence there was a body below in an area of the water in Lawrenceburg, where James was put into the water, according to Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser.

It’s not clear when the search will resume.

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