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YOUNGSTOWN Judge sets trial date for mother



Published: Wed, July 31, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The mother is accused of leaving her children and a pit bull in a home that was uninhabitable.

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 30-year-old South Side mother will fight accusations of child endangering and animal cruelty in court.

Tonya Rushton, whose children were found alone in a filthy home on West Indianola Avenue last month, told a municipal court judge Tuesday that she will take the case to trial. Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly scheduled a Sept. 17 trial date.

Assistant City Prosecutor Michael J. Krause said lawyers had discussed the case but were unable to come up with a plea agreement. But he said a possible resolution could come before trial.

Judge Kobly said she did not get the impression that such an agreement is forthcoming and scheduled the trial date.

The charges

Police have accused Rushton of leaving four of her children and a pet pit bull alone in the South Side home that smelled of human and animal feces and was littered with garbage, dirty clothes and cockroaches. There was no food or water.

The children were evacuated, and the dog, which had eaten foam stuffing from a couch for food, had to be euthanized. The children were initially taken by Mahoning County Children Services. Rushton has said the children are back with her.

She also said she and her seven children had not been staying at the Indianola house for two months. She is staying with a sister on the city's North Side. Rushton is free after posting $30,500 bail.




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