Jailhouse phone calls could keep babysitter accused of killing infant behind bars

Jailhouse phone recordings could keep babysitter accused of killing an infant behind bars

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The babysitter who’s charged with manslaughter in the fatal drug overdose of an infant she was watching is seeking to get out of jail as she awaits trial.

But that could hinge on jailhouse phone recordings that prosecutors say there’s a risk she’ll tamper with witnesses if she’s allowed back out in the community.

Dixie Denise Villa told the courts she cannot afford her $500,000 bail and wants supervised release or a bail reduction.

Villa, a babysitter on Aliamanu Military Reservation, was indicted for manslaughter in the Feb. 24 death of a 7-month-old girl she was watching.

Authorities sayd Abigail Lobisch had a fatal dose of Benadryl in her system.

Deputy Prosecutor Tiffany Kaeo told a Circuit Court judge Monday that Villa will intimidate witnesses if she is allowed to be released ahead of trial.

“There is a serious risk that the defendant will attempt to obstruct,” Kaeo said.

She cited three telephone calls that were recorded from the internal system at the Oahu Community Correctional Center.

All the calls were between Villa and her mother, a retired police officer on the mainland.

On July 31, the court documents show, Villa’s mother said, "I’m gonna be talking in riddles here so figure out what I’m saying.” The conversation continued with the mother suggesting that Lobisch was being given breast milk from the child’s mom, instead of formula.

Villa initially denied that and that’s when, according to the court documents, Villa’s mother appeared to coach her. “Denise, Denise, Denise. Listen to my [expletive] words," the woman told Villa.

In another recorded phone call on Aug. 26, Villa tells her mother to have her adult daughter "go back to court and tell them she was lying.”

Deputy Prosecutor Kaeo said that adult daughter is considered a witness because she was in the home the day Lobisch died.

Villa’s attorney, Megan Kau, denied her client was trying to obstruct or intimidate a witness.

Kau told the court that Villa and her mother were actually talking about the adult daughter’s testimony in a different family court matter involving a temporary restraining order.

Kau also said Villa could possibly afford a $50,000 bail but not the current $500,000.

“There’s no indication in any record that Ms. Villa is a flight risk," Kau said.

The judge wants time to listen to the recordings. He’ll issue a ruling on Nov. 7 on whether Villa should be released or her bail reduced.

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