Arizona woman charged in child poisoning case

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Associated Press

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 8 at 4:06 PM

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona woman faces murder charges accusing her of trying to kill her ex-husband and poison her four children, including a teenage daughter found dead in her home on Christmas Day, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.

A grand jury indictment charges Connie Villa, 35, of Casa Grande, with first-degree murder, kidnapping, attempted murder and child abuse, Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles said.

Police have said Villa told investigators she suffocated her 13-year-old daughter when the girl wouldn't take prescription narcotic drugs. The other children, ages 3, 5 and 8, were treated at a hospital and released.

According to police, Villa said her motive was that she didn't want her ex-husband to have custody of the children.

Voyles said Villa is charged with two versions of murder. One accuses her of premeditated murder while the other accuses her of murder while committing another crime, child abuse.

April Elliott, a public defender representing Villa, said her client will plead not guilty when she is arraigned Friday. Elliott declined further comment.

Villa was arrested Dec. 29 after she was released from a Phoenix hospital, where she was taken on Christmas for treatment of what police believe were self-inflicted stab wounds.

Police were sent to Connie Villa's home on Christmas after the ex-husband, Adam Villa, called 911 to report he'd been stabbed. He suffered non-life-threatening wounds.

Villa remains jailed without bond.

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