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Ohio man pleads to charges related to death of girlfriend's son

Last week, the boy’s mother, Brittany Gosney, 29, pleaded guilty to murder and two counts of felony child endangerment.
Credit: Middletown Division of Police

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — A man has pleaded guilty to charges related to the death of his girlfriend’s 6-year-old son who authorities say died when she tried to abandon the child and his two older siblings at an Ohio park.

James Hamilton, 43, pleaded guilty Tuesday to kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse and two counts of child endangering in the death of 6-year-old James Hutchinson in February. Judge Noah Powers II told Hamilton he faces up to 19 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 4.

Last week, the boy’s mother, Brittany Gosney, 29, pleaded guilty to murder and two counts of felony child endangerment. She faces 15 years to life in prison when she’s sentenced Sept. 13.

Authorities have said Gosney told investigators that she was under pressure from Hamilton to get rid of the boy and his two siblings, ages 9 and 7. Gosney drove the three children to the park in rural Preble County on Feb. 26, where she planned to abandon them, authorities said, but there was no indication that Gosney planned to kill them. James Hutchinson died after he grabbed for a door on his mother’s vehicle and was dragged, police said.

Gosney and Hamilton dumped the boy’s body into the Ohio River near Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on Feb. 28, authorities have said. Flood conditions initially prevented a search effort there, and the body has not been recovered despite multiple searches.