By Zhuoshan Liu
SACRAMENTO – Assistant Public Defender Michael Mullan disagreed late last week with Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Aarseth in a Sacramento County Superior Courtroom about whether the suspect, Owens Whisper, gave her own three-year-old daughter the drug GHB.
Whisper claims that her daughter found a bottle that may have been laced with GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), a depressant, at a local park. However, DDA Aarseth claims there was a witness at the park who can testify that the daughter never had a bottle in her hand.
Whisper, who had been previously arrested in August for the possession of an illegal substance, now is pleading with the court to release her.
While in custody, Whisper pointed out that she took general knowledge and dance classes to prove that she could behave well. She noted that she was required to be drug tested a minimum of three times a week in jail, which Whisper passed each time.
After listening to Whisper’s case, the judge then asked, “Is CPS involved with you and your child?”
Whisper said that her daughter had been with her husband’s mother since November of last year. Due to COVID-19, she could only contact her daughter by phone.
When asked by the judge what she did for work, Whisper replied that she has been employed as a housekeeper from March to August, cleaning about three houses a week to earn a living.
The judge proceeded to ask where Whisper lived to understand what her living situation was at that current moment. Whisper claimed that she is renting a house and has a roommate, who does not have a criminal record.
Prosecutor Aarseth stated that Whisper’s three-year-old daughter was sent to the hospital by Whisper. It was there that the doctors determined the daughter had GHB in her system. They believed it could have been possibly blended into a drink and given to her in that form.
Whisper explained that her daughter drank water from a bottle at the park, which was shown to be a lie according to a witness who was at the park when Whisper was there with her daughter.
PD Mullan suggested Whispers should be released from jail while she awaits trial; however, the district attorney argued Whisper had two previous charges on her record relating to her substance abuse.
DDA Aarseth claimed Whisper was recently arrested in August, and arresting police officers found 1.3 grams of an unknown substance in her purse. The DDA said Whisper also failed to appear for the pretrial hearing for her most recent charges.
Whisper maintained there was a problem with her identification card, and that’s why she was not allowed to get into the courtroom. The judge then asked if she tried to contact her attorney when she was having issues with her identification card. Whisper pointed out that she did not have an attorney at that time.
APD Mullan pointed out that there was no evidence to prove that Whisper gave her daughter the GHB, and insisted Whisper did everything she could do to save her daughter’s life.
He added that, when she arrived at home from the park, Whisper found her daughter vomiting; Whisper took the child to the hospital immediately.
After this incident, the daughter was placed in the care of the grandmother, and Whisper was no longer allowed to have contact with her.
Mr. Mullan said because the daughter has been removed from her care, Whisper’s release should not be affected by this, reminding the court that Whisper behaved well while in custody, demonstrated change because she had taken classes while in custody, and passed all of the drug tests, proving she was now sober.
However, Ms. Aarseth restated that Whisper’s failure to appear in court in the past shows that she does not take the situation seriously.
The judge told Whispers that this is her wake up call, and that she needs to take care of her daughter. He granted Whispers’ release, and gave her the opportunity to visit her daughter two times a week, so long as she followed the rules of her probation.
The next hearing will be on October 14, in Sacramento Superior Court.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9