After a jury convicted Ron Thomas, 63, last Friday, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward drew a hard line on the child sex offender’s sentencing.
Because Thomas has an extensive criminal history, the DA’s Office is seeking 50 years to life at his July 9 sentencing.
“Without the defendant’s prior crimes being considered, all three of which qualify as strikes, his maximum punishment would have only been a little over six years,” Ward said in a news release. “Our office did not, and will not, make any offers or concessions in this case.
Served 22 Years in Arkansas Prison
“At two prior court hearings, two separate Superior Court Judges ruled that his entire criminal record should be considered at time of sentencing. Make no mistake, our prosecutors will do everything in their power to ensure that this child predator is put behind bars for the rest of his life.”
The jury convicted Thomas of one count of annoying or molesting a child after a prior sex crime conviction, and failure to file a change of address as a sex offender.
In early 2019, Thomas would sit in his van at Porterville’s Veterans Park with binoculars. Two female victims, ages 13 and 15, said that Thomas would whistle and “cat call” the girls, calling them “pretty” and “hot.” On February 19, 2019, the victims called the police.
“I’m grateful for the victims’ bravery in contacting law enforcement and proud of our Crimes against Children Division for getting justice,” Ward said.
Thomas was released from prison in Arkansas in 2018 after serving 22 years for sex crimes against victims ages 5, 6, 11, and 12. His convictions there included rape, sexual abuse, and sexual solicitation of a child.
Deputy District Attorney Kelly Habroun prosecuted the case.