Paul Thomas sentenced to 15 months in prison

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PULASKI COUNTY (WSLS10) - Paul Thomas was sentenced to serve 15 months in prison for child abuse and neglect.

Thomas' trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday, but he entered an Alford plea instead.

His five-year-old son, Noah Thomas, was found dead in a septic tank last March.

Paul Thomas was charged with leaving Noah and his six-month-old sister home alone for 25 to 45 minutes.

The maximum penalty for those charges is 10 years in prison. Thomas was sentenced to serve 15 months in prison altogether, and five years probation on each charge.

With time already served, he is expected to be released in the next two months.

The sentencing guidelines, which take into account things like criminal history and other factors in the crime, called only for probation and no jail time.

The judge said Thomas should serve a little bit of time in prison due to the children's young age and the deplorable conditions of the home in which they were left alone.

Thomas' lawyer, Lindsay Honeycutt, said he is worried about how Thomas will be received once he gets out.

"The court system is to serve justice, not the community, and I believe that justice was served in the case," Honeycutt said. "The process worked, justice has been served, and I think Paul should be able to get on with his life the best he can."

The judge said he believed Thomas is remorseful, and that he had nothing to do with Noah's death.

The judge said he took that, as well as a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction from 2014, into account when deciding the sentence length.

Noah's mother, Ashley White, was convicted of three felony counts of child abuse and neglect. She will be sentenced in May.