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NJ bus monitor charged in death of 6-year-old on school bus released with conditions

A judge said he watched the video and noticed Amanda Davila starring at the cellphone and laughing.

Eliecer Marte, Lanette Espy and Matt Trapani

Jul 25, 2023, 4:37 PM

Updated 329 days ago


Amanda Davila, the school monitor charged with manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child in connection to the death of 6-year-old Fajr Williams on a school bus, faced a judge Tuesday morning for a detention hearing at Somerset County Court House.
On July 17, Williams’ airway became obstructed by the harness of the wheelchair she uses, according to officials.
Davila, 27, came into the courtroom handcuffed. Prosecutors argued that she should remain behind bars for the duration of the case. But a judge ruled she was able to go home Tuesday afternoon.
The judge said that Davila does not possess immediate harm to the community. He said there was no risk of her fleeing the country and not appearing back in court.
Davila was released with the following conditions:
  • She has no contact with school-age children (18 years and below).
  • No contact with the victim’s family.
  • No contact with the school (Claremont Elementary School).
The judge based this decision on the fact that Davila was born and raised in New Brunswick, doesn’t have a criminal record and has strong ties to her family, including her 2-year-old son with special needs.
The judge acknowledged that his decision does not minimize the harm to the parents of Williams and that this is a total tragedy for this family. He also stated this is a very strong case referencing a video of the incident that will be used as evidence.
Davila is seen in a video in the front of the school bus looking at her phone with headphones on while Williams is strangled by a harness. The judge said he watched the video and noticed Davila staring at the phone and laughing.
Davila’s attorney Michael Policastro spoke with News 12 after the hearing.
"I don't know. Hypothesize on something so serious in a case like this, especially with the media present, the family present…Maybe she was looking at her phone, maybe she smiled. I don't know. But once again, I don't know how they would know that if there's no audio," Policastro said.
News 12 asked Davila’s family how they were feeling, and they said they were very optimistic. On the other hand, Williams’ family left the courtroom very disappointed.
"They did say she has been working for this company for the past seven years, which makes this whole incident worse," says mother Najmah Nash. "It also has me thinking about during these seven years, what else was missed?"
Davila is expected to appear back in court on Aug. 28.

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