A Tucson babysitter who left a 10-month-old in a tub with running water and an open drain that became plugged with a plastic toy cup was found guilty of negligent homicide Friday.
Zada Davis, 28, placed Winter Breeze Azure in the tub to help soothe a diaper rash on June 12, 2012.
She then left the bathroom, cared for another child, browsed the internet and sorted clothes and didn’t check on the baby for at least 40 minutes, Deputy Pima County Attorney Alan Goodwin told jurors Friday.
At one point she asked her 7-year-old daughter to check on the baby and the girl said she was “just fine,” Davis testified.
When Davis did go check on the baby, water was overflowing from the tub and she was floating face down in it. Winter was taken to the hospital and taken off life support six days after the incident.
Winter’s death could have been prevented “oh so easily,”Goodwin told jurors.
“All Ms. Davis had to do was check on her, all she had to do was not ignore her,” Goodwin said.
Davis’ actions showed “extreme indifference to human life,” and encouraged jurors to consider a second-degree murder conviction, Goodwin said.
The incident was a “tragic accident” and Davis did not expect that what she did would be dangerous, Assistant Pima County Public Defender Steven Sonenberg contended.
Leaving the child in the tub with running water and an open drain was something she had done before without any issues, he said.
“Ms. Davis obviously did not know that this was going to happen, she did not consciously disregard a risk,” Sonenberg said of the toy becoming stuck in the drain.
Witnesses described Davis as a caring babysitter and her actions did not warrant a second-degree murder conviction, Sonenberg said.
“You know that she is a good person and you know that she wasn’t extremely indifferent,” Sonenberg told jurors.
Davis will be sentenced on June 17 by Judge Christopher Browning.
Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4224.