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By Helen Pow
PUBLISHED: February 19 2014
A former Las Vegas prosecutor who was found dead in her home just hours after her judge boyfriend was reprimanded for presiding over her cases did not commit suicide, officials have revealed.
Lisa Ann Willardson, 45, was found dead in the bathroom of her Henderson home at 7 p.m. on December 26 by her lover, Clark County Family Court Judge Steven Jones.
However, the Clark County coroner’s office today revealed she died accidentally from acute combined drug intoxication and insisted their was no indication she took her own life following the misconduct ruling against Jones.
Toxicology tests, which took several weeks to come back, showed the combined drug intoxication was caused by diazepam, clonazepam, citalopram and zolpidem.
None of the drugs, a sedative, an anti-depressant, anxiety medication and a sleeping aid, were in doses that would have been fatal had they been taken individually, Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy told the Las Vegas Sun.
Jones’ lawyer said at the time the judge was devastated after finding Willardson dead. The coroner revealed in December that they didn’t suspect foul play.
Willardson’s friends told 8 News NOW that she was depressed over Christmas but her mood had improved prior to her death.
Her longtime friend Johnny Jackson, who ran her campaign for family court judge, said Willardson confessed her love for Jones the day before she died.
‘She said, “I love Jonnie (her nickname for Jones) so much. He is a hard worker. I’m so glad he is helping us on this campaign. I think we’ll win this,”‘ Jackson told 8 News NOW.
‘It kind of hit me right here today. I wasn’t expecting that. It was the last thing she said.’
Friends also told the station they knew Willardson was a troubled sleeper and had taken medication in the past.
Her death coincidentally came the day a state panel handed down a ruling criticizing Judge Jones
The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline ruled there was ‘clear and convincing evidence’ Jones violated judicial codes of conduct by presiding over cases handled by Willardson while they were dating.
Jones was suspended from the bench last November after being indicted by a federal grand jury on what prosecutors call a $3 million investment fraud.
On January 28, an attorney for Jones reported his client will not seek re-election.
Jones discovered Willardson’s body after he returned from a three-day trip to Brian Head, Utah, with his children, his lawyer, James J. Jimmerson told the Las Vegas Review Journal at the time.
Willardson did not accompany the judge to Utah over the holiday, though she had family there.
Jimmerson described Jones as ‘very emotional’ and ‘very hurt.’
‘With everything else that this excellent jurist is facing, this is just an unbelievable shock, and it is devastating to him,’ Jimmerson told the Review Journal.
Willardson’s lawyer, Gary Modafferi, said he last spoke to his client a couple of days before her death.
‘Lisa was never depressed. She was in good spirits the last time I spoke to her,’ he said.
Willardson was an outspoken children’s advocate and volunteered for three years in the district attorney’s office until she was hired with a salary only to end up getting fired because of her romantic relationship with Jones.
Modafferi said Willardson was suing the district attorney’s office over her termination and had been looking forward to her day in court when she died.