- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

MEADVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania woman has pleaded guilty to child endangerment for letting her kids live in deplorable conditions, which police discovered after her 4-year-old son accidentally shot his 2-year-old brother while the woman napped.

Tiffany Whitman, 24, pleaded guilty Thursday in Crawford County to a felony count of endangering the welfare of children, the Meadville Tribune (https://bit.ly/1Fzpiwi) reported.

Her husband, Mark Whitman, pleaded guilty in December to the same charge because of the Wayne Township home’s condition, plus a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment for leaving the gun accessible to young children.

“I let my depression get the best of me enough not to let me keep my house clean for my babies,” said Whitman, who tearfully told the judge she’s been battling mental health issues. “Yes, I’m guilty.”

Tiffany Whitman was sleeping when her son found a loaded .380-caliber Ruger pistol in a dresser drawer on the afternoon of April 14, police said. He shot his brother under the eye.

The younger boy recovered after surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, but District Attorney Francis Schultz said it remains unclear whether the toddler will suffer any long-term complications.

When officers arrived, they found rotten garbage scattered on the kitchen floor, rubbish and dirty clothes in a child’s bedroom, and feces on walls, floors and a mattress. The family’s bathtub contained garbage and cigarette butts, police said.

The Whitmans remain free pending sentencing. Tiffany Whitman faces up to seven years in prison when she’s sentenced March 5. Her husband faces up to nine years when he’s sentenced Feb. 24.

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Information from: The Meadville Tribune, https://www.meadvilletribune.com


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