Judge reduces bail for couple; Parents charged with manslaughter in daughter's death.Byline: Gary V. Murray
WORCESTER - Bail was reduced yesterday for a city couple charged with manslaughter in the antihistamine antihistamine (ăn'tĭhĭs`təmēn), any one of a group of compounds having various chemical structures and characterized by the ability to antagonize the effects of histamine. overdose death of their infant daughter nearly three years ago.
Christopher Watt, 36, and Julia L. Herne, 34, both of 5 Almont St., Apt. 2, were arraigned Friday in Worcester Superior Court on involuntary manslaughter The act of unlawfully killing another human being unintentionally.
Most unintentional killings are not murder but involuntary manslaughter. The absence of the element of intent is the key distinguishing factor between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. and reckless endangerment of a child charges in the Dec. 13, 2005, death of their 11-month-old daughter, Courtney Watt. Prosecutors said the child died as a result of "acute diphenhydramine diphenhydramine /di·phen·hy·dra·mine/ (di?fen-hi´drah-men) a potent antihistamine, used as the hydrochloride salt in the treatment of allergic symptoms and for its anticholinergic, antitussive, antiemetic, antivertigo, and antidyskinetic intoxication" after ingesting more than one capsule of the drug, an over-the-counter antihistamine sold under brand names that include Benadryl.
Judge James R. Lemire lowered Mr. Watt's bail from $20,000 cash to $15,000 cash and Ms. Herne's bail from $10,000 cash to $7,500 cash after a hearing yesterday. While the couple remained in custody after the hearing, Ms. Herne's lawyer, Peter L. Ettenberg, said he expected both to be bailed out by tomorrow.
Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers said during the couple's arraignment A criminal proceeding at which the defendant is officially called before a court of competent jurisdiction, informed of the offense charged in the complaint, information, indictment, or other charging document, and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or as otherwise permitted Friday that police investigators learned Ms. Herne took about 50 Benadryl capsules from the dispensary dispensary: see clinic. where she was working at the time of her daughter's death and kept them on a nightstand night·stand
See night table. in the June Street home in which the family was then living. Mr. Travers said it was also learned that the container of Benadryl was spilled on the floor on at least one occasion and that not all of the capsules had been found as of about a week before the child died.
The prosecutor also said Ms. Herne acknowledged that she and Mr. Watt were addicted to oxycodone oxycodone /oxy·co·done/ (-ko´don) an opioid analgesic derived from morphine; used in the form of the hydrochloride and terephthalate salts.
n. at the time of their daughter's death. Although Ms. Herne noticed that her daughter was out of sorts the afternoon before the infant died, she returned to work and no one sought medical attention for the child until she was found unresponsive the next morning, Mr. Travers said.
Judge Robert W. Gardner Robert W. Gardner was an important figure in football history. He was match arranger, goalkeeper and team captain for Queen's Park during the 1860s up till 1874, and a letter of his, dated 1868, is the oldest surviving letter pertaining to soccer. Jr. set the couple's bails "without prejudice" Friday, clearing the way for yesterday's hearing before Judge Lemire.
Mr. Ettenberg and Mr. Watt's lawyer, Jennifer L. Ginsburg, argued yesterday that their clients did not pose a flight risk and had remained in the area fully aware that a criminal investigation was under way in connection with their daughter's death. The two were arrested on warrants Thursday night after a grand jury returned indictments against them earlier in the day.
Mr. Ettenberg asked that Ms. Herne's bail be lowered to $5,000 cash, and Ms. Ginsburg asked Judge Lemire to reduce Mr. Watt's bail to $10,000 cash.
Citing their past substance abuse problems and defaults on their criminal records, Mr. Travers asked that bail for each suspect be increased to $25,000 cash.
Before lowering the bails, Judge Lemire noted that the primary purpose of bail was to ensure an accused person's appearance in court, and said he did not consider either Mr. Watt or Ms. Herne to be a flight risk.
As conditions of their release should they post bail, Mr. Watt and Ms. Herne were both placed on pretrial pre·tri·al
A proceeding held before an official trial, especially to clarify points of law and facts.
1. Of or relating to a pretrial.
2. probation and ordered to submit to random urinalyses. Judge Lemire removed the GPS monitoring requirement that had been imposed by Judge Gardner.
The couple's cases have been continued to Dec. 10.