Judge rejects supervised release for babysitter charged in infant’s overdose death

Judge rejects supervised release for babysitter charged in infant’s overdose death

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A state judge Wednesday refused to release the babysitter charged in the overdose death of a 7-month-old girl in Aliamanu.

Circuit Judge Faauuga Tootoo reduced Denise Villa’s bail from $500,000 to $200,000, but denied her request for supervised release because of potential witness tampering.

“There’s also concern based on the audio that the court was able to listen to ... that the defendant may engage in illegal activity," the judge said.

Prosecutors cited the audio recordings of phone conversations Villa made while in prison. They said it shows that she was trying to get witnesses to change their testimony.

One of those witnesses was Villa’s adult daughter, who was at Villa’s home the day Abigail Lobisch died due to a fatal overdose of benadryl.

In an Aug. 26 call from the Oahu Community Correctional Center, prosecutors said Villa attempted to get her daughter to "go back to court and tell them (she was) lying.”

But Villa’s attorney said the recorded phone conversations related to testimony in a separate family court matter not the manslaughter case.

“The conversation they referred to in the calls were not discussing illegal activity," said Megan Kau, Villa’s lawyer.

The criminal trial is scheduled for January.

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