MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — The mother of a 6-year-old boy who authorities say died when she tried to abandon him and his two older siblings at a park has pleaded guilty to murder and and two counts of felony child endangerment.
Brittany Gosney, 29, of Middletown, unexpectedly entered her pleas during a court hearing Monday. The hearing had been requested by her attorney, who was seeking to bar prosecutors from using statements she made to detectives at trial.
Gosney was facing 16 counts overall and initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but she was found competent to stand trial in April following a court-ordered mental evaluation. The remaining 13 counts were dismissed as part of her plea deal, and she faces up to life in prison when she’s sentenced Sept. 13.
Gosney’s 43-year-old boyfriend, James Hamilton, was also charged in the case and pleaded not guilty to the 15 counts he faces, including abuse of a corpse, evidence tampering and child endangerment. He was due to make a court appearance later Monday, but it wasn’t clear if he would be entering any pleas.
Authorities have said Gosney told investigators that she was under pressure from Hamilton to get rid of 6-year-old James Hutchinson and his two siblings, ages 9 and 7. Gosney drove the three children to the park on Feb. 26, where she planned to abandon them, authorities said, but there was no indication that Gosney planned to kill them. Hutchinson died after he grabbed for a door on his mother’s vehicle and was dragged.
Gosney and Hamilton dumped James’ body into the Ohio River near Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on Feb. 28, authorities have said. Flood conditions initially prevented a search effort there, and the boy’s body has not been recovered despite multiple searches.