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Evans Mother Charged with Child Cruelty in Accidental Shooting of Toddler


The Evans mother who left her three children unattended in a home with a loaded gun was arrested Monday.

Stephanie LaWanda Thomas, 30, was arrested two weeks after her 2-year-old daughter was accidentally shot in the abdomen by her 8-year-old brother. That girl required multiple surgeries at Augusta University Medical Center.

Thomas was charged Monday with three counts of cruelty to children and later released on $22,800 bond.

A warrant says she caused the children excessive or mental pain by leaving her 8-year-old son unattended April 13 in an unsafe environment that she had prior knowledge of.  That led to the boy locating a handgun and accidentally shooting his younger sister. There was also a 6-year-old child in the home who was not hurt.

After the shooting, a drug-dealing suspect confessed to leaving his loaded gun at the home on Cummings Road. On April 14, Andre Armon Green showed up at the sheriff’s office and said the loaded Ruger 9mm belonged to him. He was a family friend to the residents who lived in Evans.

Green, 24, was charged with tampering with evidence and reckless conduct. Sheriff’s Maj. Steve Morris said Green led investigators to the area where he threw the gun into the woods.

From the original press release: “It was determined that a 2 year old, an 8 year old and a 6 year old arrived at the residence with their mother, Stephanie Thomas.  The children were watching TV alone in the living room when the 8 year old male discovered a handgun and began playing with it.  He then accidentally fired the handgun and the 2 year old female was struck in the abdomen.”

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Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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