MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (FOX19) - The man accused of disposing the body of his girlfriend’s 6-year-old son, James Hutchinson, and hog-tying him and his siblings returned to court Monday morning.
James Hamilton, 43, of Middletown, appeared for a brief hearing before Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Noah Powers. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.
On Monday, he waived his right to a speedy trial and now will appear again on May 24.
Hamilton and Brittany Gosney, 29, face a combined 31-count indictment in connection with the death of the first grader on Feb. 26 in Preble County and the disposal of his body in the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
Their tentative trial date is May 24, but some expected it to be delayed with Gosney recently pleading not guilty by reason of insanity and her attorney raising questions about her competency to stand trial.
The judge has ordered a psychological evaluation for her.
A competency evaluation hearing is scheduled for April 26.
According to Middletown police, 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 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.
Searchers have been unable to find James’ body in the Ohio River.
In the hours leading up to his death, Gosney and Hamilton hog-tied the children, put cloths in their mouths, and left them that way for hours “to terrorize and/or inflict serious harm” to them, prosecutors wrote in court records filed last month.
Court records also state they removed the hard drive from video cameras at their residence along with tape and rope and hid them at another location.
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.
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