Tiffany Jean Whitman, 24, pleaded guilty before Judge John Spataro in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday to a single felony count of endangering the welfare of children — a charge that carries up to a maximum of seven years in prison.
Whitman and her husband, Mark L. Whitman, 24, both of 25159 Sugar Creek Lane, Lot 8, each were charged last year by Pennsylvania State Police with a felony count of endangering the welfare of children for allowing their three children to live in what police described as “deplorable conditions.”
State police initially were summoned to the couple’s Wayne Township home after the couple’s then 4-year-old son wounded his then 2-year-old brother by firing a gun the older child had found inside the home. The young boy was hit in the face by a bullet fired from the gun, according to police.
According to the affidavit of probable cause in the case, the couple’s three children were PLAYING in their Wayne Township home while Tiffany Whitman slept, when one of the children found a loaded .380 Ruger pistol in an unlocked dresser drawer on April 14, 2014, at 2:30 p.m.
Police described the residence as being in total disarray, with rotten garbage scattered all over the kitchen floor, garbage and dirty clothing strewn about one of the children’s bedrooms with feces and other stains on the walls, floor and mattress. Garbage and old cigarette butts were reportedly found in the bottom of the family’s dirt-stained bathtub.
In entering her guilty plea Thursday, Tiffany Whitman told the judge she had been battling mental health issues prior to the incident, but she was working to control them.
“I let my depression get the best of me enough not to let me keep my house clean for my babies,” a tearful Whitman said. “Yes, I’m guilty.”