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An Ohio mother has been sentenced to 21 years behind bars for the dragging death of her 6-year-old son earlier this year.
Brittany Gosney, 29, was handed the sentence on Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court, Cincinnati.com reports. The sentence will be soon be finalized by the Ohio Parole Board.
The mother pleaded guilty last month to one count of murder for the February death of her son James Hutchinson, 6. He was killed as Gosney tried to speed away in a car after abandoning him and his siblings, aged 7 and 9, in a park. She also pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment.
“Brittany slammed the gas trying to leave the kids and drug Hutchinson, possibly running him over,” the probable cause statement states. “Brittany turned the vehicle around to check on Hutchinson and he was dead.”
Hutchinson clung to his mother’s car door handle as she tried to leave. Investigators believe that after she discovered that she killed Hutchinson, she loaded his body into her car and drove him to her boyfriend James Hamilton’s home. The following morning, the pair dumped the boy’s body in the Ohio River.
Hutchinson’s body still hasn’t been found.
The principal of the elementary school that Hutchinson attended talked about the boy’s smiling face in court on Monday.
"That light was extinguished too soon by his own mother," Rosa Parks Elementary Principal Tracy Neeley said. "He has no more tomorrows. ... We carry a guilt that cannot be measured and months later we still ask what could we have done to predict this."
Gosney's attorney, David Washington, has maintained that his client tried to ask agencies for help because she was unable to parent.
"If you hear someone screaming for help, try to help them," Washington said, according to Cincinnati.com.
Prosecutors argued that Gosney didn’t reach out in any meaningful way.
Butler County Children's Services has taken custody of Gosney’s two surviving children.
"We have two living children that have lived through trauma that no other children should have to experience," Prosecutor Kelly Heile said last month.
Hamilton, 42, has pleaded guilty to kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, and child endangerment. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
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