Williams Trial – Day 7: Testimony of Williams Daughter

Today, Monday, August 5, 2013, two of the Williams’ biological daughters testified according to the Skagit Valley Herald.  One of them testified that the biological children were punished the same way as the adopted children were and that she never saw marks on their bodies from the spankings.  The girls confirmed many of the details from prior witnesses testimonies.  Since these children were trained to always tell the truth and to obey adults, I tend to believe what they say.  Or at least, I believe that they believe everything they say…

The trial adjourned early so one of the jurors could go to the doctor according to the Skagit Valley Herald.

Here the article from KiroTV which has more (disturbing) information and video.  In this report, they mention To Train Up A Child.

Maureen can no longer attend the trial as she is on vacation.   I will miss her insights but I am happy that she is taking a well deserved break from this.

If you want up to the minute Tweets about the trial, you will want to follow Gina Cole of the Skagit Valley Herald.

Williams Trial – Day 6: Testimony of Torture Expert

The Skagit Valley Herald reports on Friday’s Court Session in the Williams’ Case.  Please be aware that this is very hard to read and steel yourself before reading.  If you are sensitive to abuse triggers, you might want to forgo this link as well as the rest of the links in this blog post.

Here is a report and video from Kiro 7 TV.

John Hutson is a retired Attorney for the Navy and Marines who has spent 12 years studying torture and has testified before congress on the subject numerous times.  He was the only witness on the morning of Friday Aug 2, 2013.  Larry Williams’ lawyers questioned his qualifications since his expertise was in military and international situations, but the judge allowed his testimony providing he did not try to give a legal definition of torture.  He submitted a 3 page report based on hundreds of pages of information provided to him beforehand, admitting that he did not read every word.  His testimony in a nutshell was that the 2 children were unquestionably tortured.  It was not a close call, there were no doubts in his mind and there were no two ways about it.

The afternoon saw the testimony of various people who knew the Williams family.  They testified about things like how Carri disciplined her children (both what they saw and what she told them,) the plastic tubing which she used as a “spanking rod,” how Larry would prevent Immanuel from signing with a deaf man at church and how Hana got thinner and changed her behavior over the 3 years.

Then Detective Dan Luvera of the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office testified about how he collected the evidence and took photos after Hana died.  He showed them everything and discussed the autopsy, which he watched.

There is talk about some of the Williams’ biological children testifying on Monday.

Here is Maureen’s Report for Aug 2, 2013.  She gives a lot of details of Mr. Hutson’s testimony about what constitutes torture and motivations for torture. I must share this important quote from Maureen’s report:

Mr. Hutson: That said, it doesn’t matter what the motivation is for torture. There may be an excuse, but there is no justification. To me, this is the heart of the entire day, if not the entire case.

 

Williams Trial – Day 5: Second Day of Immanuel’s Testimony

Komo News reports on what happened in court on August 1, 2013.  Immanuel gives more testimony of the horrid and dehumanizing treatment he suffered in the Williams home.  I must note that while the article says that the Williams have 3 biological children who did not suffer the same abuse, the truth is that they have 7 biological children who did not suffer the same abuse.

Also, a family friend testified that Carri had complained about hana’s lack of obedience and frequent spankings.

And here is Maureen’s report which gives us a lot more heart wrenching detail.  She also discusses the issue of the older Williams boys testifying or taking the fifth.

Maureen tells us about a new witness, John Hutson,  “…an expert about torture and interrogation techniques. He has testified many times before Congress and elsewhere.”  So far, all he has testified to are his credentials.  The judge has approved him, so he will no doubt return.

Updated to add: I just found this story and video from KiroTV.com which reports that they showed jurors the video of Hana taken before the adoption and picture taken shortly before her death. Quite the contrast. 🙁

I notice that everyone else is calling Thursday the 5th day of the trial.  I started counting on the first day of Jury Selection which adds 4 days to my count.

Williams Trial – Day 4: Testimony of Immanuel’s Therapist

Here is the link to Maureen’s report for Wednesday, July 31, 2013.  As usual, any potential witnesses and jurors should stay away from both this site and hers.  I will include a very brief summary below for the faint of heart and the time-strapped.

Here is a report from Tadias.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 was taken up with the testimony of Julia Peterson, Immanuel’s Therapist.  She is deaf, as is Immanuel, and testified with the help of two hearing interpreters.  She began working with Immanuel in Dec 2011.

Ms. Peterson testified that Immanuel was very fearful of making mistakes and that he is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD.)  The defense lawyers tried to get her to agree that it was possible that his PSTD came from trauma he suffered in Ethiopia, but she was very firm that it came from the trauma which he suffered at the hands of the Williams. The defense lawyers also tried to get her to agree to hypothetical statements which she refused to do.

 

Williams Trial – Day 3: Autopsy Testimony

Here is Maureen’s report from Tuesday, July 30, 2013.  I will give a brief summary below for the faint of heart and/or the short of time.

Dr. Daniel Selove testified about the autopsy and explained how he arrived at the conclusion that Hana died of hypothermia and that malnutrition and H. Pylori contributed to her death.  She showed evidence of being switched before her death, but that did not contribute to her death.  The defense attorneys asked if it was possible that Hana had bulimia/anorexia and were told that there was no sign of that.  They then went on to discuss how bulimia/anorexia can be practiced secretly.  Maureen and I both consider this idea outrageous  considering the lack of privacy they were given in that house per Immanuel’s testimony.

Gay Knutson, from  Adoption Advocates International (who handled Hana’s case) testified about the adoption documents and how adoptions are handled.  Every adoptive family is required to submit a post adoptive report every year until the child turns 18.  The Williams had not submitted one since 2009.  Families are encouraged to call if they need help and there was no record of the Williams ever calling.

Then Yohannes Kidane, an instructional assistant with Seattle Public schools, (who is fluent in English, Amharic, and Tigrinya) testified as to the veracity of the translated documents and explained the Ethiopian calendar.  Maureen noted that the Defense was asking him about his early education while they did not question any of the other witnesses about their education.  Mr. Kidane is expected to return today.

Here is the article from the Skagit Valley Herald.

 

 

Williams Trial – Day 2: First Day of Immanuel’s Testimony

Yesterday, Monday July 29th, was Immanuel’s first day of testimony.  He is scheduled for 3 half days.  Here are the reports I have found so far for that day.

Komo News reports on Immanuel’s testimony. Also, someone who apparently knows the family attempts to explain what happened in this comment.  Edited to note that the comments have been stripped from this article.

Kiro TV reports on Immanuel’s Testimony in Boy tells jury his adopted parents beat him until he bled.  From the video which accompanies this story, I found out that they played the 911 call in court today and that Immanuel will testify for 2 more days.  As usual, this story/video is not for the sensitive because of child abuse triggers.

Edited to add:  Maureen has finally posted her report of yesterday’s testimony.  This is a hard case to watch and I’m not at all surprised that she was not ready to post last night.  While not easy to read, I think that all but the most sensitive could handle it.  She does mention upsetting things, of course so those with abuse triggers should probably stay away from this case entirely (as should any jurors and potential witnesses.)

Thoughts on the Williams Trial

Maureen has been doing a great job giving us objective reports on the Williams Trial.  She now gives us her own thoughts about the trial as a “fierce advocate for adoption policy that is transparent and has integrity.”  As she warns, she takes off her gloves; and if you cannot tolerate any discussion of harsh treatment of children, this is not the case for you to be following closely.  Reading her words is heartbreaking.  Finding out that the Williams are willing to have their children testify in court, thereby reliving the trauma is heartbreaking.  Today Immanuel is scheduled to testify, reliving his trauma and abuse. Stay tuned for further updates.

Also, don’t miss this chance to get to know Maureen better. <3

Williams Trial – Day 1: Opening Statements

Maureen starts her report today with a warning for prospective witnesses and all jurors to abstain from reading her blog.  I must agree with her and include this blog in that restriction.  There is a LOT here which is off limits for witnesses and jurors, and it is best to err on the side of caution.

She then went on to discuss the courts reaction to her blog which must have given her quite the adrenaline rush.  I can only imagine.  Then the motions of the morning and on to the opening statements.

I will now make a disclaimer that the sensitive  should probably not read the opening statements.  In fact, the entire case is very upsetting.  This case is a very upsetting and disturbing case and not for the faint of heart.  For that reason, I will attempt to keep you up to date without giving you the gory details.

The Prosecution gave opening statements in which they outlined the deplorable treatment of Hana and Immanuel.  They started out treating them fine but when their behavior did not meet the Williams’ standards, they escalated their treatment from bad to worse.  Their punishments were cruel and abusive by pretty much anyone’s definition.

Carri’s Defense Lawyer made opening statements in which he explained how Carrie had tried to get Hana back into the house and warmed up but was unable to.  While admitting that her discipline was excessive, he asked if it was “substantial bodily harm.”  I’m not positive, but I believe that means that he was questioning if it was the discipline which caused her death.  As I understand it, that is the real question.  He then went on to respond to many of the prosecution’s points.

Larry’s Defense Lawyer described Larry’s role in the family and how the family worked.  They had a large family and a lot of rules.  They were starting to doubt the effectiveness of spanking as it did not seem to be working during the last year as the two adopted children had become very oppositional. She went on to discuss the issues of knowing Hana’s exact age and blamed Hana’s weight loss on medical issues beyond the Williams’ control.

A large part of Larry’s defense seems to be that he was not around that much and that Carrie was in charge of most of the running of the house while he was working to provide for the family. He was not even home the night that Hana was dying. Oh, and he gave them ice cream once. That was apparently a very important point since she reminded them of that again at the end as she urged them to find him not guilty.

Now, here are some news stories about the trial today.  Again, these links are not for the faint of heart.

Trial begins for couple accused of starving adopted daughter on King 5.

Trial begins for parents accused of killing adoptive daughter on Komo News.

 

Williams Trial – Day (-1): The Jury is Selected

Well, Maureen faithfully posted yesterday’s events late last night.  Words cannot express how impressed I am by both her reporting and her dedication.  She reports that the  jury has been selected and sworn in.  She also mentions the scores of motions which have been brought before the court  and promises more details about them this weekend.   Today (Friday) there were motions in the morning and opening statements were scheduled for this afternoon.  She promises to be there for the opening remarks and I do not doubt that she will post about them as soon as she is able.

Google tells me that the Skagit Valley Herald has an article about yesterday which I will not read as I have clicked on too many of their links already this month.   (I don’t know why they don’t warn you before allowing you to land on the page and use up one your 5 monthly views.  I never would have chosen to read them if I had been given the choice as they were old articles but I was on Twitter where you can’t see what you are clicking on.)

Williams Trial – Day (-2): Jury Selection

Well, today the jury selection continued and Maureen gives us a nice and quite interesting synopsis of the day as well as what we can expect in the near future.  She also provides helpful information for anyone local who is considering attending as the trial gets underway.

Williams Trial – Day (-3): Jury Selection

If you are following along at home, you will want to read Maureen’s Update on the Williamses’ Trial: July 23 in which she describes in impressive detail the narrowing down of the jury pool from over 160 to about 80.  I found this account quite interesting, especially as the potential jurors were asked to discuss how they feel about spanking, when it becomes abuse and their definition of torture.

There is also an article in the Skagit Valley Herald about today’s court session.  I will not be linking to this newspaper much in the near future since they only allow 5 views of their articles per 30 day period and I have already used up 3 of them.  Since Maureen does such a good job of reporting, I see no reason to pay for a subscription.  In the even that Maureen cannot attend, I will get information from other newspapers.

And, in case anyone is wondering why I am covering this, Cindy from Under Much Grace ties it together.

Williams Trial – Day (-4): Jury Selection

Maureen at Light Of Day Stories shares her first hand report of  The Williams Trial – Day 1.

Komo News has an article about the case also.

Edited to add: I had originally called this Day 1 but found that there is a confusion because the media calls the day of Opening Statements Day 1.  Therefore, I am changing the numbering accordingly.

Williams’ Trial Begins Today

The Seattle Times reported on the trial of Larry and Carri Williams which begins today with jury selection.  I will be posting  updates as once a day, editing the daily post as I add new information to each day.

Update:  Komo News reports that jury selection has begun and gives a recap of events up to now.

Pre-Trial Hearing For The Williams Case

The Skagit Valley Herald reports on the Pre-Trial Hearing for the Hana Alemu “Williams” case.

This article has some very interesting information.  It appears that the Defense had made quite a few motions, all of which were denied by the judge.  It also turns out that there is now a biological relative available to testify to Hana’s true birth date.  The trial is scheduled to proceed on Monday,  July 22, 2013.

Hana Alemu (“Williams”) Trial in 10 Days

Just a reminder that the Williams trial is scheduled for July 22, 2013.  Here is an article with info about the trial.  For more info, check out the rest of  my posts about Hana Alemu.  If you are wondering what this case has to do with the Pearls, please see this post.

Prosecutors Still Trying To Verify Hana’s Age

According to an article in the Skagit Valley Herald, prosecutors in the Williams court case are seeking Hana Alemu’s uncle to testify to verify her age. Her body was exhumed for that purpose, but the examination proved to be inconclusive. The reason they need her age is that the charge they are trying to prove is only valid for children under 16 years of age.

I should mention that in the Remembrance of Hanna Williams group on Facebook there is a scan of Hana’s Baptismal Certificate as well as a higher quality version a member fixed.  I should also mention that Hana was born on March 8, 1997 (1/8/1989 according to the Ethiopian Calendar which is different from ours.)  She died on May 12, 2011.

More Court Cases Involving Abused Adopted Children

I have been watching 2 very sad cases in the news since October 2012.  I have not mentioned them before now because neither of them seem to be following any particular extreme teaching.  They are both about Christian adoptive parents who apparently tried to control their adoptive children using adversarial parenting and corporal punishment and ended up almost killing them and are now being tried for abuse.

The first case is the case of Douglas and Kristen Barbour in Franklin Park, PA. He is a Deputy Attorney General. They are accused of abusing and starving their 2 children adopted from Ethiopia. They recently regained custody of their biological children.  There was mention in this article[article no longer available] of their defense lawyer saying that they “did their best to cope with the children’s extraordinary needs.”  Update: They were going to do a deposition of the 5 year old but decided against it.

The other case is the case of the Russel and Mona Hauer. The Hauers live in North Mankato, MN. It appears that their adversarial parenting caused them to starve their 8-year-old adopted son. They took him to the hospital severely malnourished and weighing only 35 lbs. Part of this was because of existing problems the boy had and part was their failure to get help and their way of trying to control the situation. In a news story published today, I see that their parental rights over this child have been terminated. There is a quote in this story which I find very interesting:

[The judge] said the Hauers failed to follow professional advice on services he needed and how to address behavioral challenges. He also faulted them for their “aversion to traditional health care beliefs and practices,” and said their “highly moralistic” efforts to correct his behavior were the opposite of what he needed.

This very much suggests to me that there is Christian corporeal punishment and adversarial parenting involved so I decided that it was time to at least bring these to your attention.  I will continue to update this post as seems appropriate.

I should probably mention poor little Rodrick Arrington in Las Vegas here.  He was not adopted, but it was his step father who beat him to death while his mother helped.  I’m very unsure of this case, but certainly adversarial parenting and corporeal  punishment came into play.  But then, they do in all abuse cases and there are hundreds every year.  🙁  The purpose of this blog is not to discuss undisputed abuse.  It is to discuss abusive teachings which many loving and sane parents are not recognizing as abuse and to give Biblical arguments against such teachings.  That is why this post is categorized as “blog.” Because it is technically off topic and does not quite fit into any of my categories. Although, I admit that I’m seeing a grey area and might end up changing my mind about that at some point. I just don’t see anyone defending any of these abuse cases or denying that is is abuse, except the defendants and their lawyers.

Investigation of Hana’s Remains has begun

According to an article in the Skagit Valley Herald, Hana’s body has already been exhumed and the investigation of her remains has begun.  The linked article discusses how the prosecution tried to have the expert for the defense barred from the investigation over some comments he made on the medical examiners’ Listserv.

Death by Submission

Misty Horner passed away in 2007 from an infection she sustained in an unassisted homebirth. Her husband and the cult they followed did not allow her to seek medical intervention during the 31 days it took for her to die. Her parents filed a wrongful death suit against her husband, Caleb Horner, his brother, John Horner and their cult which teaches extreme submission. You can read about the verdict in the El Dorado Springs Sun. This story is also covered by Fox TV. This is the first time I have heard of this story which was finally brought to my attention because the Sun article mentions Michael and Debi Pearl’s book, “Created To Be His Helpmeet.”

Old excerpts from this story can be found here.

In January of 2012 Caleb filed a wrongful termination suit against the city of Lee’s Summit which let him go after the death for which no criminal charges were filed.  I cannot seem to find any news stories with an update about this suit.

Update: Feb 15, 2013 Misty Horner wrongful death lawsuit: Horners want new trial after $108M ruling.

The Williams Trial Plods Along

The Skagit Valley Herald reports that the Court will allow defense experts to to examine Hana’s remains for use  in the trial.  They have yet to set a date for the exhumation. Murder trials are always slow moving and are usually continued many times.  At this time, the trial is still scheduled for Feb 4, 2013.

Update Jan 4, 2012:
The trial has been postponed until July 22, 2013.

More Details About Williams Latest Hearing

As reported yesterday, the Williams had a court hearing on Wednesday, November 28,2012. The Skagit Valley Herald has a more detailed report on that hearing today.

Also, here is a report I missed on Wednesday from Komo News. I had not heard that the Birth Certificate could not be trusted because it is from Ethiopia. I gather that means that the Baptismal Certificate I mentioned yesterday is also not valid in the eyes of the court.

Hana’s Body To Be Exhumed

According to a recent news story in the Skagit Valley Herald, Hana “Williams” will not rest in peace. The court has granted the prosecutors permission to exhume Hana’s body in order to prove her age. This is important because the charge of homicide by abuse only applies to victims under 16 years of age. According to a scanned baptismal certificate on the Remembrance of Hanna Willams Facebook page, Hana was born on March 8, 1997 (1/8/1989 according to the Ethiopian Calendar which is different from ours.) In this same hearing, Larry and Carri Williams pled not guilty to the new charges of manslaughter by domestic violence which I assume was added to the case for back up in just in case prosecutors are unable to prove homicide by abuse.

Linda Thomas has a very good synopsis of the case at MyNorthWest.com.

Also, Q13 Fox Seattle Tacoma also has a write up of the case.

Prosecutors file new charges against the Williams

The Skagit Valley Herald reports that the prosecutors in the Williams case have added the charge of first-degree manslaughter by domestic violence to the existing charges of  homicide by abuse for Hana and first-degree child assault for their younger adopted son.  They also quote the charging documents as saying, “offense was part of an ongoing pattern of psychological, physical, or sexual abuse of a victim or multiple victims manifested by multiple incidents over a prolonged period of time.”

This new charge is most likely a back up in case they cannot use the charge of homicide by abuse which is only applicable to victims under 16.  Since Hana’s age is not known, they cannot prove it in court at this time.  There is a hearing scheduled for mid-December to decide if her body will be exhumed in order to determine her actual age.

This article is also posted in The Seattle Times with a few minor changes.

Hana “Williams” Body Might Be Exhumed

According to a recent article in the Skagit Valley Herold, prosecutors in the Hana “Willams” Case want her body exhumed in order to back up charges against her parents. In order to charge the Williams with Homicide by Abuse, they must prove that Hana was less than 16 years old and they can find no documentation of her age and therefore wish to examine her teeth and bones in order to verify her age at the time of death. The hearing to decide this will take place Friday, November 9, 2012

Update:  This decision is being postponed.

 

Update on Williams Court Case

The Williams Court Case is in the news again.  This story in The Komo News reviews what happened to Hana Alemu “Williams” and how charges came to be filed over a year ago and brings us up to date with where the case stands now.  For more info about this case, please see my Hana Amelu “Williams tag.

According to this news story:

Hana’s death also plays a prominent role in a new report ordered by the governor’s office on the severe abuse of adopted children. The state doesn’t do any background checks or home checks on international or private adoptions, and is looking into standardizing those procedures.

The report referenced can be found here, but remember that as it discusses this case and other severe abuse cases, it is probably not for the faint of heart.

I do not have the recently released DSHS report, but I do have the very disturbing sheriff’s report which was released last year.

 

 

Williams Trial Postponed Until Feb 2013

According to the Skagit County Herald, the “homicide by abuse” trial for Larry and Carri Williams is now scheduled for February 4, 2013.

The Williams To Be In Court July 27

Habtamu Bekele posts on the Remembrance of Hanna Williams Facebook page:

Carrie and Larry Williams (Hana’s acused murderers) will appear in Mt Vernon Courthouse this coming Friday July 27th. The Greater Seattle Area Ethiopian community will be there as Hana’s advocate and family. We would like to show the court as well as Carrie and Larry that we want justice for Hana. If you want to go please come to The Ethiopian community center at 8323 Rainier Ave South at 7AM in the morning on July 27th. We will take the community van and if we need more transportation we will add cars. If you want to go please call Mulu @ 206-427-3831 to confirm.

In case anyone is wondering, this court date is for, “Order To Continue Omnibus Hrg.” The trial is still scheduled for October 1st of this year.  If anyone with legal experience cares to translate the info I just gave you, please leave it in a comment and I will edit this post.

Update: This hearing was continued to 08-17-2012.  Note that continuances are totally normal in every kind of trail and to be expected in a serious case such as this one.

1st Anniversary of the Death of Hana

Today, marks one year since the tragic death of little Hana at the hands of those who called themselves her parents.  If you visit the facebook group dedicated to her memory, you will see photos of her grave.  Notice that her grave is lacking a headstone.  The group is looking into the possibility of rectifying that situation.  This is an open group and you are welcome to join.

I reported back on April 20 that Carri was back in jail.  She went back to court yesterday, May 11, 2012 and her bail was set at $300,000 bail.  Now a search of the Skagit County Jail Current Inmate List no longer shows her name, which suggests that she might have managed to come up with the  bail.  Either that or she could have been moved or there could be an error.  I’ll keep my eyes out for more information.

 

Carri Williams Back In Court

Go Skagit has more info about Carri Williams and the reason for her re-arrest.   Apparently she tried to contact her foster son through a classmate, thereby violating the court’s No Contact Order.   The first anniversary of Hana’s death is coming up on May 12.  All posts about this case can be found here.

Update:  As of May 14, 2012 she is out on bail.

Carri Williams Back in Jail

According to the Skagit Valley Herald and KomoNews , Carri Williams is back behind bars for violating her No Contact Agreement with her adopted son.  For all posts on this story, please see my tag.