Mother changes plea in drowning death
A mother who is accused of allowing her 13-month-old to drown in a bathtub will have her case heard by a jury after all.
During what was to have been her sentencing hearing this morning, Tonya N. Thomas, 26, of Clarksburg, changed her plea from guilty to not guilty. Her attorneys have said, as they did again this morning, that Thomas is being prosecuted for what was a tragic accident.
Thomas was charged with criminal homicide and aggravated assault and other crimes after her son, Ryden, drowned in a bathtub in her home on Feb. 2, 2013. Prosecutors contend Thomas was reckless and negligent in leaving Ryden, along with two other young siblings, alone in the tub while she did some other chores.
In January, Thomas reached an agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter and a felony count of recklessly endangering the welfare of a child. Other charges were dropped and prosecutors agreed to recommend that she be allowed to serve concurrent sentences on the remaining counts.
The case, however, will now go to trial. Judge Thomas Bianco scheduled it to begin on June 23.