Lawyer: Embattled Judge Jones found Willardson’s body

Lisa A. Willardson, 45, the former prosecutor whose relationship with suspended Family Court Judge Steven Jones sparked disciplinary proceedings against him, has died.

Jones discovered her body slumped over the toilet of her bathroom in her Henderson home Thursday afternoon and called 911, his lawyer James J. Jimmerson said. She apparently had been throwing up.

The coroner’s office said Willardson was found dead at 6:40 p.m. Thursday. Investigators at the scene did not find signs of foul play.

Jones found Willardson’s body after he had come back to Las Vegas from a three-day holiday trip to Brian Head, Utah, Jimmerson said.

“With everything else that this excellent jurist is facing, this is just an unbelievable shock, and it is devastating to him,” Jimmerson said.

Jimmerson described Jones as “very emotional” and “very hurt” and asked that the public respect his privacy during such a “sensitive time.”

Her death followed news, first reported by the Review-Journal, Thursday that Jones committed professional misconduct by maintaining a romantic relationship with Willardson while she appeared before him as a deputy district attorney in a child welfare unit.

Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said his office was conducting an autopsy Friday, and toxicology tests were being done, likely putting off a formal cause of death for weeks.

“We were notified yesterday, and we are investigating,” Murphy said, adding his office is working with Henderson police.

Henderson police, citing an ongoing investigation, refused to release details of Willardson’s death or the 911 call made Thursday.

Her lawyer, Gary Modafferi, said he last spoke to Willardson a couple of days ago and the two exchanged Christmas greetings.

“Lisa was never depressed. She was in good spirits the last time I spoke to her,” Modafferi said.

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