Franklin Township bus monitor pleads not guilty in choking death of 6-year-old

A bus monitor accused of failing to notice a child was being strangled by her car harness was in court Friday facing more serious charges.
Amanda Davila appeared in court facing first-degree aggravated manslaughter charges in the July 17 death of Fajr Williams, the 6-year-old special needs child who was strangled by her harness on a bus ride to school.
Davila was indicted by a grand jury and arraigned Friday on new manslaughter charges and pleaded not guilty. She turned down a plea deal from the state that would possibly put her behind bars for 8 ½ years.
Davila was initially charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree child endangerment. She received an offer from the prosecutor to plead guilty to manslaughter with a 10-year prison sentence under the No Early Release Act, which meant she would have to serve 85% of her sentence before being eligible for parole.
Authorities say Davila sat toward the front of the bus and was using her phone while wearing earbuds. Her attorney said Friday that it wasn’t Davila’s job to harness the child, who had slumped into the seat during the ride. He said it was Fajr’s parent’s responsibility.
"Once they come onto the van, then she’s supposed to strap the wheelchair in properly,” said defense attorney Michael Policastro. “What you’re going to find is the harness wasn’t properly fastened.”
Policastro also said Fajr’s mom, Najmah Nash, called Davila that morning to say her younger daughter would be getting the 6-year-old ready for the bus.
Najmah Nash's attorney, Jason Weiss, had no comment on the ongoing criminal process, but he said they would be filing a civil suit.
Davila is expected back in court on Jan. 8.