A Cleveland County judge sentenced a mother to 20 years in prison.
This for a party that took place in her far east Cleveland County home where a teenager drank too much and died in the bathroom.
Tonya Moss was accused of child neglect, allowing underage drinking and possessing a gun that violated her probation on a prior drug charge. Moss pleaded no contest to the charges against her and accepted the judge's verdict.
The judge sentenced Moss to five years for providing alcohol to minors, 15 years for child neglect and one year on the gun violation charge. The judge ruled for the convictions to be run concurrently.
One teen, 15-year-old Nick Faught, was found unresponsive in the bathroom during a party. Nick was one of several teenagers who attended a party where alcohol was served.
Nick was found in the bathroom the morning after the party, not breathing or moving.
The medical examiner's office ruled his cause of death as ethanol poisoning and the manner of death as an accident.
The fourth floor of the courthouse was packed with people who loved and cared for Nick.
Nick's mother gave a victim’s impact statement at the hearing.
She said in part, “Children make poor decisions every day, and as parents, it is our job to protect them. He was a 16-year-old little boy who was given free reign and had no idea how to handle alcohol. What happened to Nick that night is why there is an age limit to consume alcohol. You made a decision you had no right to make. You left all those kids unsupervised while you went on your way. You’re only concern was for yourself as you left my son on the bathroom floor. You’ll never understand the torture of seeing your son in a body bag and not knowing why."
Nick's father also wrote a victim's impact statement but did not read it in open court.
Moss took the stand and testified that she did not know a big party was going to happen at her house, and she thought it was going to be a bonfire with a few family members and to not have alcohol.
"I am truly, truly sorry for their loss. I wish it wouldn't have happened. I take responsibility for what I did," she said.
Moss testified that she did not provide money or alcohol for the party. She said she went to a casino with her boyfriend and did not return home until 6 a.m.
She said she did not know Nick or know he was in her home.
At 9 a.m., she went into the bathroom and took his pulse and that he wasn't breathing. She said she started CPR and tried for 10 to 15 minutes and yelled for the boys to call 911, but Nick was already gone.
Moss cried throughout her testimony and said her boyfriend yelled at her to leave before police could arrive. She said she was scared, panicked and did not know what to do.
The defense also called Moss’ probation officer to the stand who said Moss had successfully completed all her drug and alcohol classes.
The judge called Moss’ actions absurd, careless and irresponsible. The judge said she thinks the crime is equivalent to DUI manslaughter.