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Updated Jun 3, 2014 - 3:39 pm

Death penalty sought in Arizona child poisoning

FLORENCE, Ariz. — Prosecutors said Tuesday they plan to seek the death
penalty for a Casa Grande mother accused of killing her teenage daughter and
trying to poison her three other children last Christmas Day.

Connie Villa, 36, is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death
of her 13-year-old daughter and four counts of attempted murder of her three
younger children and of her ex-husband.

Casa Grande police say Villa didn’t want her ex-husband to have custody of the
children.

Police said Villa told investigators she suffocated her oldest daughter when
the girl wouldn’t take prescription narcotic drugs.

The teen’s body was discovered in a bathroom of the home, and Villa was found
with stab wounds said to have been self-inflicted.

The other children _ 3, 5 and 8 _ were treated at a hospital and released.
Police said all three had trace amounts of opiates in their systems.

Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles filed a notice of intent to seek the death
penalty in the case against Villa.

In a statement, he said the decision was made after consideration and review of
the statutory aggravating and mitigating factors.

Defense attorney Mark Tallon said putting Villa to death would only compound a
family tragedy.

“Connie Villa is a sick woman and to take the surviving kids’ mother away from
them is compounding their psychological problems,” Tallon added.

Adam Villa told authorities he was trying to pick up his kids on Christmas Day
in accordance with the couple’s custody agreement. Police said he told a 911
dispatcher that he had been stabbed by his ex-wife.

During the 911 call, Adam Villa said he did not see the children at the house
before he was stabbed.

The three children are living with him now.

Connie Villa was arrested Dec. 29 after she was released from a hospital.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for July 15 in Pinal County Superior Court
in Florence.

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