Indiana County man pleads guilty to child endangerment
An Indiana County man who investigators said was playing video games while his 13-month-old son drowned in a bathtub has pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
Wesley Allen Thomas, 25, entered a guilty plea last week to three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment. He is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 8.
The three counts were reduced from felonies as part of a plea agreement that calls for Thomas to testify against his wife, who faces homicide and related charges in Ryden Thomas' death, according to District Attorney Patrick Dougherty.
Police contend that on Feb. 2 Tonya Nicole Thomas, 26, was bathing their three children at the family's White Township home when she asked Wesley Thomas to listen for them from another room while she allegedly went downstairs, leaving them unsupervised. The children were 3, 2 and 13 months old.
Tonya Thomas returned to the bathroom and found Ryden facedown in the tub, police said. Both parents were charged Feb. 19.
Wesley Thomas was jailed for about three months before his $50,000 bond was changed to unsecured, permitting his release, according to online court records. He can have supervised visits with the children.
District Judge Susanne Steffee dismissed homicide and aggravated assault charges against Tonya Thomas following a preliminary hearing in May, citing insufficient evidence.
The same charges were refiled against Tonya Thomas about a week later. New evidence was presented during her preliminary hearing in August, and Steffee ordered all charges held for court.
Tonya Thomas's defense attorney has called the death an accident.
She is charged with homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and three counts of endangering the welfare of children. Prosecutors are seeking a conviction on third-degree homicide or involuntary manslaughter. No action is scheduled in her case.
Tonya Thomas is free on $250,000 unsecured bond and is caring for a newborn under the supervision of Thomas' mother. The two other children are in foster care.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Blairsville approves variances for Liberty Street condos
- Indiana County township ‘afraid for the water’ fights waste well
- Homer-Center OKs special education director, STEM courses
- Alumni help mark former Saltsburg school’s addition to historic register