• Woman found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in son's drowning


    INDIANA COUNTY, Pa. - An Indiana County woman whose 13-month-old son drowned last year while authorities said he was bathing unattended with two toddler siblings was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Wednesday.

    A jury found 26-year-old Tonya Thomas, of White Township, not guilty of third-degree homicide. She was found guilty of three counts of endangering the welfare of children and aggravated assault.

    According to Channel 11’s Joe Holden, Thomas sobbed quietly as the verdict was read. She then asked questions about what it meant and then kept crying, Holden said.

    Holden reported Thomas is now free on bail until the sentencing. She did not speak as she left the courthouse, but her family told Channel 11 it disagrees with the verdict.

    Authorities alleged that Thomas left Ryden and his 2- and 3-year-old siblings unattended in the bathtub and later found him facedown in the water.

    Thomas earlier agreed to an involuntary manslaughter plea but later decided to withdraw the plea and go to trial.

    Defense attorneys argued that the boy's drowning was a tragic accident and nothing more.

    Prosecutors had hoped for a third-degree murder conviction.

    “Based upon the evidence we presented, I thought it would be difficult.  It’s a high standard,” said Geoff Kugler.

    The boy's father, Wesley Thomas, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment and was sentenced to three months to two years in prison.

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