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An Ohio mother is accused of killing her son by dragging him with her car as the boy clung to the door, desperate not to be abandoned with his siblings in a park.
Brittany Gosney opted to take a murder plea this week after she was deemed suitable to stand trial.
James Hutchinson, 6, died on February 27 as his mother, 29-year-old Brittany Gosney, was attempting to abandon him and his 7 and 9-year-old siblings after hog-tying them in Rush Run Park in Preble County. According to an incident report from the Preble County Sheriff's Office, her youngest child, James, latched onto his mother’s car door handle as she sped away.
“Brittany slammed the gas trying to leave the kids and drug Hutchinson, possibly running him over,” the probable cause statement indicates. “Brittany turned the vehicle around to check on Hutchinson and he was dead.”
On Monday, Gosney accepted the murder plea and two counts of endangering children, Butler County court records show. The arrest report states that Gosney returned to the park within an hour and found her son’s dead body, which she loaded into her vehicle and drove to the home of her boyfriend, James Hamilton; around 3 a.m. the following morning they allegedly dumped the boy’s body in the Ohio River. The two had apparently spoken about getting rid of her children.
Hours later, Gosney and Hamilton went to the police to report her son missing. After reportedly giving conflicting reports, both allegedly confessed to having disposed of James’ body, according to the arrest report.
Gosney and Hamilton were subsequently indicted on multiple criminal charges, including murder, tampering with evidence, five counts of abuse of a corpse, kidnapping, and child endangerment, according to court records in Butler County.
In court on Monday, Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Heile reportedly said that Gosley’s guilty plea will spare her surviving children the further trauma that a trial could bring them.
"We have two living children that have lived through trauma that no other children should have to experience," the Journal News reported.
Lewis Hutchinson, James Hutchinson’s father, reportedly told local station WCMH-TV after his son’s murder that he’d have happily taken his son into his home.
“All she had to do was give him to me. She could have dropped him off at my sister’s house,” the station reported he said.
Butler County Children's Services has taken custody of Gosney’s two surviving children, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Hamilton is scheduled for a hearing on August 23. He has been accused of abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
In March, David Washington, an attorney representing Gosney, filed a motion to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, according to court records.
“Defendant struggles to assist in her defense and counsel has serious concerns regarding defendant’s mental health,” David Washington wrote.
In May, the Register reported that Gosney had seen a court-appointed psychologist who said that she’d faced "a number of barriers" in trying to give up custody of her three children.
Court documents show that Gosney told authorities she was removed from her father’s home at the age of 12 by the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services because she was the victim of repeated sexual abuse, the Enquirer reported; she said she’d given birth to her first child at the age of 12.
The psychologist overseeing her case reportedly said that Gosney does present with "an underlying personality disorder marked by antisocial features" but was ultimately deemed competent to stand trial.
Gosney’s sentencing is scheduled for September 13.
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