FAIRFIELD — A Fairfield woman who was taking care of a coworker’s two young children at her Howe Court home in March 2013 was ordered Monday to stand trial on charges of felony manslaughter and child abuse causing death because one of the children, a 7-year-old boy, drowned in her backyard pool.
Danishia Mahomes, 28, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mahomes was in court Monday for a probable cause hearing during which her defense attorney, Thomas Maas, labeled the child’s drowning as a tragic accident, stressing that Mahomes had not willfully endangered the boy’s life.
Fairfield police who testified at the hearing detailed the set of circumstances that led up to the March 23 drowning.
Mahomes and her roommate had recently moved into the rental home and the landlord told them not to use the fenced backyard pool, although police responding to the drowning call found pool toys in the water. A pool alarm at the home worked intermittently and the indoor alert horn for the alarm had been disengaged the night before the drowning.
Mahomes’ coworker dropped off his two children at the home around 5 a.m., gave $20 to Mahomes for the child care task and told her they would figure out the total due when he picked his children up after work. She did not tell their father she had a backyard pool so the subject of whether the children could swim was not discussed.
Mahomes and her roommate had two more young children in the two-story home. The roommate told Mahomes around 11 a.m. she was taking the children to a nearby park. Mahomes went upstairs and started cleaning when she discovered the 7-year-old’s sister was still in the house and had the girl stay with her while she cleaned.
The roommates and the children told police the boy was playing video games the last time they saw him.
The roommate and two children returned home after about 15 minutes. Mahomes looked out a kitchen window a few minutes later and saw the boy floating in the pool. She rushed to the pool, pulled him out of the water and gave him cardiopulmonary resuscitation until the arrival of police and firefighters. The boy was pronounced dead a short time later at a nearby hospital.
Police testified that their investigation into the drowning could not determine how the boy got to the pool – whether a back door had been unlocked or maybe he had started for the park with the others before diverting to a side gate into the backyard.
Judge Peter B. Foor said the pool was an attractive nuisance that can be extremely dangerous and that it should be up to a jury to decide if Mahomes acted criminally. Foor ordered Mahomes to return to court Feb. 26 when she is scheduled to be arraigned on the felony charges.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.