Parkersburg man sentenced on child-neglect charge

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - UPDATE: 07/09/18 2:30 P.M.

A Parkersburg man is sentenced in Wood County Circuit Court for his guilty to plea to a child-neglect charge.

According to the Wood County prosecuting attorney’s office, Sylvester Thomasson was sentenced to one to five years in prison and placed on extended supervision for 10 years. He will be placed on the state’s child-abuse registry.

Thomasson and Britney Willis each pleaded guilty in April to one count of child neglect creating risk of injury.

Willis was previously sentenced to one to five years in prison, but the sentenced was suspended and she was placed on probation for three years.

Court records say Willis’ 7-year-old son was left unattended outside a neighbor’s home last December while Willis and Thomasson went out of town for the night.


UPDATE: 07/02/18 2:15 P.M.

A Parkersburg woman is sentenced in Wood County Circuit Court for her guilty plea to a child-neglect charge.

Britney Willis was sentenced to one to five years in prison and given credit for 19 days she’s already served. However, Judge Robert Waters suspended that sentence and placed her on probation for three years.

Willis and Sylvester Thomasson each pleaded guilty in April to one count of child neglect creating risk of injury.

Court records say Willis’ 7-year-old son was left unattended outside a neighbor’s home last December while Willis and Thomasson went out of town for the night.

A court spokesman says Thomasson is scheduled to be sentenced on July 9.


UPDATE: 04/26/18 3:40 P.M.

A Parkersburg couple is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to child-neglect charges in Wood County Circuit Court.

Sylvester Thomasson and Britney Willis each pleaded guilty to one count of child neglect creating risk of injury.

The Wood County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says they could be sentenced to one to five years in prison pending the results of a routine pre-sentencing investigation.

According to Wood County Magistrate Court records, they were arrested by Parkersburg Police in December after Willis’ 7-year-old son was left unattended outside a neighbor’s home with only the clothes he was wearing and they went out of town for the night.

The boy was placed in the care of West Virginia Child Protective Services at the time.

Thomasson entered his guilty plea on Thursday. He scheduled to be sentenced on July 9.

Willis entered her guilty plea on Tuesday. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 26.


A Parkersburg couple is facing felony child-neglect charges after police say the woman’s young son was abandoned at a neighbor's house Sunday afternoon.

Parkersburg Police arrested 32-year-old Britney Willis and 57-year-old Sylvester Thomasson after the 7-year-old boy was left unattended and unsupervised on the steps of a neighbor’s home on 13th Street.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Wood County Magistrate Court, Thomasson dropped the boy off and told him they were going to the store and not to leave.

The complaint says Willis and Thomasson then left town, leaving the boy alone with no clothing besides what he was wearing at the time.

Police say Willis came back to town Monday but made no effort to find her son or check on him.

She told officers it was Thomasson's idea to leave the boy. However, she said she did not feel like she was fit to keep him.

The complaint says the area where the boy was left is a high-crime and high-drug area near a “very busy intersection.”

The boy is in the care of West Virginia Child Protective Services.

Willis and Thomasson are both charged with felony child neglect with the risk of injury or death.

Their bond was set at $15,000 each, and they remain in the North Central Regional Jail.