Parents convicted of manslaughter for starving son

Friday, July 25, 2003

CARLISLE, Pa. -- A couple was convicted of involuntary manslaughter Thursday for starving their 4-year-old son to death, but a mistrial was declared on the more serious charge of third-degree murder after the jury deadlocked.

Whether prosecutors would retry the murder charge was not immediately clear.

The parents, Anthony E. and Shenique T. Thomas, also were convicted of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

When their son, Quincy, died last year, he weighed 20 pounds, and mattress stuffing and building insulation were found in his digestive tract and under his fingernails, prosecutors said.

Quincy's death was "a direct result of the active and willful neglect of his parents," prosecutor David J. Freed said in closing arguments Wednesday.

After the verdict, Anthony Thomas' attorney, Karl E. Rominger, called the jury's failure to convict his client on the murder charge a victory and said he would seek a dismissal of the aggravated assault conviction because it was not appropriate under the circumstances.

Rominger argued that expert witnesses were divided over whether Quincy died from starvation or from an unidentified disease.

Sentencing was set for Oct. 7. The defendants face up to 10 years in prison for manslaughter, 20 years for aggravated assault and seven years for endangerment, Rominger said.

The third-degree murder charge carries a maximum 40-year term.

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