The Williams Trial: Day 30 – The Sentence

Tuesday October 29, 2013, the Williams were sentenced to prison for a very long time.  Carri has been sentenced for 37 years and Larry for almost 28 years.

Maureen was there and shares about it here.  You might also find this older post of interest, she wrote it the day before the sentencing.

Cindy Kunsman, of Under Much Grace, responds to Judge Cook’s comment, “I am at a complete loss as to why this happened,” in An Open Message to Judge Susan Cook About the Williams’ Sentencing: The Development of the Perfect Storm, in which she attempts to explain why.

After the sentencing, the Ethiopian Community Center had a graveside service for Hana.  (More about the graveside service.) They are working on getting a proper headstone for her grave.  So far, they have not been successful because the family owns the plot so they are considering making a memorial elsewhere. For more information on that, see the Facebook Group.

I should also mention that this might not be the last we hear of this story as there has been talk of an appeal.

Here are some news stories:

Skagit County couple receives long sentences in fatal abuse case on Kiro TV

Decades in prison for Skagit Co. pair who killed adopted girl on Komo News.

Williamses sentenced in adopted daughter’s death in the Skagit Valley Herald.
Decades in prison for Williams couple also in the Skagit Valley Herald and with more quotes

Skagit County couple sentenced to prison for adopted daughter’s death in the Seattle Times.

Couple given long sentences for death of adopted girl on King 5 News which includes video from the sentencing. In this video we see a family friend speaking on the Williams’ behalf calling them “two of the truest and purest people on this earth.”  I find that statement so flabbergasting that I don’t even know how to respond to it.

Religious Handbook Parents Carri and Larry Williams Given 65 Years for Killing Ethiopian Daughter in the UK Paper, the International Business Times.

Williams Trial – Day 29: The Verdict

Monday, September 9, 2013 the jury returned the verdict. Carri Williams was found guilty of homicide by abuse and
first-degree assault of a child. Larry Williams was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault of a child. There was no verdict on homicide by abuse charge for Larry.  The jury was unable to agree and/or the judge declared a mistrial on that charge.  Sentencing  is up to the judge and I heard that it would be in mid-October.

Here is the story in the Seattle Times.

Certainly, there will be many articles written on this story. In an effort to get this breaking news to you right away, I will post this now and add in a few links to the best articles as I find them.

Here is Maureen’s report.

Here is the story on KiroTV.

Here is the preliminary story in the Skagit Valley Herald, and here is the complete story.

Here is the story on Komo News.  In this story I found out that Larry’s Defense plans to file an appeal.

Here is the story in the US edition of The Guardian which appears to be an overseas paper.

Here is Janet Heimlich’s report of the story on her blog, Religious Child Maltreatment.

The Williams Trial – Day 27: Closing Arguments End, Jury Deliberation Starts

Thursday, September 5, 2013, saw Carri Williams defense team giving closing arguments and the Prosecution’s rebuttal.  Then the jury was sent out for deliberation and the No Contact Order for Larry, Carri and their 2 adult sons was lifted.

According to a tweet by Gina Cole, Dependency court will decide on dissolution of or limits on no-contact orders with the minor biological children.  I hope that means that there is no risk of them gaining access to Immanuel.  Here is her article in the Skagit Valley Herald about the Closing Arguments by Carri’s Public Defender.  As always, all stories have potential triggers and are not for the sensitive.

Here is the story on Komo News.

Here is the story on KiroTV in which they interview our own Maureen.

Here is a quick update from Maureen who promised more later.  And here is the promised follow up post which goes into great detail.

I would also like to thank Cindy at Under Much Grace for her kind words. All the glory to God.  I am grateful that He has chosen to use me in this small way.  I also thank Maureen for her kind words.  I am very thankful for her excellent reporting and am more than happy to promote it as the best source of information on this trial.


The Williams Trial – Day 26: Closing Arguments Start

Today, Wednesday, Sept 4, 2013 the Prosecutor and Defense for Larry Williams gave their closing arguments.  As always, anything to do with this trial has a serious *trigger warning* and the closing arguments are no exception.  In fact, I can’t stress enough how disturbing this whole thing is.  I am having a hard time figuring out how to summarize without triggers.  All I can say is that the jury was told how the charges work and given instructions on their options of what they can determine. By factoring in different degrees of the charges, they have over a dozen options.  The closing arguments are a summary of what was shown and what each attorney wants the jury to decide.  One of the Prosecutor’s remarks was that they wanted to kill Hana’s spirit and her pride.  Very, very true.

Here is an article about the Prosecutor’s closing arguments in the Skagit Valley Herald. [Link removed as it is no longer working]

And here is a more in depth article in the Skagit Valley Herald which covers the whole day.

Here is the story on Komo News.

Here is the story on KiroTV.

Here is Maurine’s report on the instructions to the jury and closing remarks by the Prosecutor.  Here is a quote from it:

Mr. Weyrich discussed the various experts who have commented on Hana’s age, noting that most put her at 15 years old, via teeth and bone analysis. (The jury needs to believe she was under 16 for the more serious charge of homicide by abuse to stand.)

And here is Maurine’s report on the closing arguments from the defense team of Larry Williams.  I will summarize it with this one quote:

Larry just didn’t know all that was going on, Ms. Forde said several times. “The evidence is overwhelming,” she said, that “Carri Williams designed, planned, and implemented” all that happened in their home.

And here is a quote which I find very interesting:

Why did this happen? Because Larry and Carri were unprepared, said Ms. Forde. They were both naive. They thought Hana and Immanuel would respond to the same disciplinary tactics that their other children had, and they didn’t foresee the mental health problems of older, internationally adopted children.

This ties in with what I suspected from the moment I found out that they were following Pearl’s teachings.  My only quibble is that the adopted children did not have mental health problems.  Quite the contrary.  It was the biological children who were raised to accept the abuse and had been mentally broken down with Stockholm Syndrome.  The adopted children were sane enough to recognize abuse and resist it.

Williams Trial – Day 25: Testimony of Carri Williams (3rd Day)

Friday, August 30, 2013 was disturbing for me.  *Those easily triggered should stop reading now*.  Carri’s testimony was about Hana’s last night alive.

Carri Williams actually said that she  believes that Hana unintentionally killed herself.  I know that I am not the only one who is disturbed by this.

Here is the story in the Skagit Valley Herald.  It boggles my mind that Carri says that she couldn’t stand to watch Hana stumbling around, throwing herself to the ground so she turned away.  Apparently it never crossed her mind to go outside and bring her in by force.  Nor did it ever cross her mind to call paramedics, as she claims that she had done things like this before.  Bear in mind that none of the family had seen a doctor since 2009 and Hana died in 2011.

Here is the  story on King5 which contains some of Carri’s testimony.  Carri actually accused the prosecuting attorney of ripping her family  apart. She clearly does not accept any responsibility, let alone guilt, in the matter at all.

Here is the story on KiroTV.

Here is the story on Komo News.

Here is Maureen’s detailed report.

Here is the 2nd part of Maureen’s report.

Carri was the last witness, Defense rests.  Court will rest for the long weekend and closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.

As always, if I find more stories from this day, they will be added to this post.

Edited to add:  There is quite a bit of  video footage of Carri’s testimony mixed into this tribute video.



Williams Trial – Day 23: Testimony of Carri Williams (1st Day)

On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, finished his testimony in which he  said that  his wife came up with many of the ideas for the children’s punishments and he did not remember about the rest.  He also testified that they did not spank Immanuel until they thought that he could understand the rules.  Then Larry stepped down and his defense rested. Then Carri’s defense commenced, starting with her sister, mother and father taking the stand. Finally Carri took the stand where she testified that parenting decisions were shared.   The morning was covered by this article in the Skagit Valley Herald.

Maureen also covers the morning session in a lot more detail.

Carri was back on the stand in the afternoon.  She testified about the night Hana died among other things.  I don’t think I need to remind you that none of these stories are for the easily triggered.

Here is the story on King5 TV

Here is the story on Kiro TV

Here is the story on Komo News.

And if you have not used up all your views of the Skagit Valley Herald you may read this article.  They report that Carri admits to telling her children to lie after training them that lying was a very serious offense because she knew that locking Hana in the closet was wrong.  If you cannot find a way to read it, Maureen gives a lot more detail anyway and includes a quote from the same article.

And here is Maureen’s report on Carri’s testimony.  Maureen was unsure about gluesticks so I will assume that many are also.  They are used in glueguns for crafts and come in 2 sizes, 3 inch and 12 inch.  It is the 12 inch ones which are sometimes used for chastisements. I have a post about that here.

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 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 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.)

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 (-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.

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.

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.



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.


Larry Williams Returns to Jail

According to a report in the January 7th, 2012 edition of the Skagit County Herald (only available in print or by paying for the “e-edition”), some of Larry Williams family members delivered Christmas gifts and letters from Larry to four of the children who are fostered by their aunt and uncle. There is a court order in place: Larry and Carri Williams are both prohibited from contacting their spouse or their any of their children. In addition, the judge ordered them not to contact the foster parents.

No-contact order violations can occur if the prohibited party contacts the protected party, or asks a third party to do so on his/her behalf. Apparently Larry felt that it was okay for his mother (a third party) to deliver items to his children. Along with some Christmas gifts were letters to the children. One of them contained modified Bible verses from the book of 2 Timothy, where apparently Larry substituted his name for Apostle Paul’s and his children’s names in the place of Timothy. The prosecutors argued that Larry was “framing himself as a martyr to his children” and the judge told him he had violated the order and raised his bail back up to the original amount of $500,000.  The attorney of Carri Williams successfully argued that she had nothing to do with the gifts or letters, so she was not considered to be in violation of the order.  According to the defense attorney, Larry’s mother “over-stepped her boundaries” and the children were not supposed to know that the gifts were from their father. An inmate roster check at the Skagit County Jail shows that Larry was once again booked into custody.

I do not know the details of the no-contact orders, but in my mind there are two possible explanations for why Larry violated the law: 1) Larry lacks common sense and didn’t know any better; or 2) Larry willfully defied the judge’s orders. Let’s say that the court is okay with Larry showering his children with gifts (in spite of the no-contact order) as long as they don’t know they are from him. I’m seriously doubtful of that theory, but let’s pretend that is the case. So Larry purchases the children some very nice gifts and thinks that as long as his mother delivers them and just says they are from “Santa”, all is good.

But there is a problem. You may be able to explain the gifts away as plain ignorance, but what is the explanation for the letters to the kids where he where he substituted himself in place of Apostle Paul? I certainly don’t think that was an accident. I have not seen the letters and I do not know specifically what they contain, but I believe Larry was attempting to pointedly communicate to his children. It is possible that the verses included in these letters were those that encourage Timothy (the children) to remain “faithful” not only to God, but also to Apostle Paul (Larry) and/or contained verses in which Apostle Paul (Larry) describes that he is being punished for his innocent actions because of religious persecution. I believe that the defendant probably has a very twisted version of reality in which he sees himself as a man who was living in the way that God expected him to, yet  has been wrongfully imprisoned for it.  By substituting himself for Apostle Paul, Larry seems to be stating that he too is a righteous victim of religious persecution and pending martyrdom.

I doubt there is any mention of Hana in these letters, but if Larry’s opinion is the same as his spouse’s, then I believe that it’s fair to conclude that they both think that Hana “killed herself” because she was  “passive-aggressive” and “rebellious”.  As difficult as it is for me to comprehend, Larry and his wife both may really think that the true victim in this case (Hana) perished because she refused to be cooperative or obedient.  Either that, or possibly it is Larry and Carri’s  “cover story” or alibi about what happened to Hana and the other adopted child in their home.

In my opinion, Larry wrote those letters because he wanted his children to believe that he has been wrongly accused, and he was also trying to persuade them to refuse to testify about the abuse they saw inflicted upon Hana and her little brother. If this is the case, it is likely that the children would have felt emotionally torn between telling the truth or protecting their father.  That is an extremely manipulative and unfair thing to do to a child. Does this man think he is entitled to violate the order because mere human laws do not apply to him, because he is obeying a higher law?  Or is he just lacking the common sense to understand the orders that the judge issued to him in a court of law?

At the end of the day and regardless of the reason, Larry defied the court order. He did this by having his mother help him. I cannot say what his mother’s motives were. Perhaps she was completely unaware that her participation would be viewed as a violation and that her son would be sent back to jail. Perhaps she knew it wasn’t “completely” legal, but made a choice to do it anyways because this is her son, and she will always love him, unconditionally.  I am sure the last few months have been terrible for the entire family, and I am sure they are hoping that the accusation of homicide is just one big misunderstanding. Unfortunately, Hana Williams is dead, and her horrific suffering and tragic death make it difficult for most people to believe it was an accident. I hope this family will be able to accept the likely outcome of the trial.

Lastly, I want to applaud the aunt and uncle who refused the gifts and contacted the court to let them know that the order had been violated. They had the courage to come forward and report this to the authorities. I’m sure it was extremely painful, and I’m sure they wished that they didn’t have to do something that would put Larry (who is part of their family as well) back in jail, but they did the right thing. I am so grateful for that. Thank goodness these wonderful and brave people showed us all that there is still hope for truth, honesty and justice in the world.

Bail Increased for Larry Williams

According to Komo News, the bail reduction for Larry Williams was revoked in court today and he is back in custody.  The article doesn’t exactly say that he is back in custody, but it implies it and his name is listed on the Skagit County Jail Roster.

Carri Williams’ 911 Call Released

Komo News reports on the 911 call that Carri Williams made to report Hana’s death in Charged mother of dead teen: ‘ I think my daughter killed herself‘.  See link for video.  Story pasted below for permanence.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. — Hana Williams died of hypothermia after she was starved and abused, according to the Skagit County prosecutor.

But during the 911 call made while Williams was on the ground, unconscious, her adoptive mother claimed it was the girl’s own rebellious and self-destructive attitude that led to her death.

“Yes, I think my daughter killed herself,” Carri Williams told the 911 operator.

When asked why she thought that was the case, Williams answered, “She’s really rebellious and she’s been outside, refusing to come in. And she’s been throwing herself all around, and then she collapsed.”

It was May 12, a chilling 40 degrees and raining. Police learned 13-year-old Hana Williams had been in the backyard of her Sedro-Woolley home for half the day.

911 Operator: “Is she breathing?”

Carri Williams: “I don’t think so, no.”

911 Operator: “How old is your daughter?”

Carri Williams: “I don’t know. We adopted her almost three years ago.”

911 Operator: “You don’t know how old she is?”

Carri Williams: “She’s somewhere between the ages of 14 and 16.”

Prosecutors have charged Carri Williams and her husband, Larry Williams, with homicide by abuse, but the Williams claim their daughter was acting out and refused to come inside.

“She was throwing herself all over the gravel, the yard, the patio,” Carri Williams said. “We went to bring her in. My sons tired to carry her in, and she took her clothes off.”

But court documents state Carri and Larry Williams had forced the girl to spend the day outside as a form of punishment. Detectives say the girl led a hellish existence, often starved, beaten and locked in a dark closet for hours.

The girl’s brothers dragged her into the house, and the 911 operator coached Carri Williams through CPR. Hana Williams had a lump on her head, and was covered in blood, and investigators believed marks on her body were from repeated whippings.

Carri Williams insists the girl killed herself.

“She’s very passive-aggressive…I don’t’ know how to describe it,” she said.

A witness told investigators the parents took their discipline cues from a controversial book that recommends withholding food and putting children in cold weather to punish them. The Williams’ eight other children have been taken into protective custody.

The two suspects have been released on bail, and have refused to comment.

The Williams Plead Not Guilty

This has hit the news big time, I will share a few of the stories here for you.

King 5 News aka has posted the following news article which I will copy here for permanence

Skagit County couple pleads not guilty in death of adopted daughter

by KING 5 News
Posted on October 6, 2011 at 10:38 AM
Updated today at 12:11 PM


MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — A Sedro Wooley couple accused of torturing and starving their adopted  13-year-old daughter to death pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.

A judge set bail at $150,000 each for both Carri and Larry Williams. Investigators believe the couple repeatedly starved and beat Hana Williams, a girl they adopted from Ethiopia, and charged both  with asasult of a child and homicide by abuse.

Hana was found dead in her backyard on May 12, naked and wrapped in a sheet. She had been living with her adoptive parents since coming to America from Ethiopia in 2008.

After months of investigation, her adopted parents were charged in connection with her death.

Skagit County Prosecutor Richard Weyrich said Hana Williams’s death ranks right up there for one of the worst cases he’s ever prosecuted.

In the charging documents, Carri Williams talked about how much she disliked her two adopted Ethiopian children, a 10-year-old boy and Hana.

“She died of hypothermia and you know part of that is having lost so much weight over the past year, months…she had lost 30 pounds,” Weyrich said.

According to charging documents, Carri and Larry Williams starved Hana for days, put her in a locked closet, shower room and forced her to sleep outside in the barn in the cold.  She wasn’t allowed to use the bathroom in the house, instead, she used a porta-potty behind the barn.  In addition, Hana was struck daily with a plumbing tool, a tube with a round ball on the end.

Members of Seattle’s Ethiopian community want justice.

“She’s a child whose life was trusted in their hands,” said Azeb Aberra, Ethiopian Community Mutual Association. “And they broke that trust and so it’s heartbreaking to hear this.”

Larry Williams is a 26-year employee with Boeing. He is currently on unpaid leave.

All of the William’s biological children and adopted son have been removed from the home.

Family members in the courtroom Thursday refused to comment.

The Komo News has the following article:

Couple pleads not guilty in homicide of adopted daughter

By KOMO Staff Published: Oct 6, 2011 at 11:03 AM PDT

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – The parents of an adopted girl who died of exposure in her own backyard after she had been starved and abused for months pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday.

Larry P. Williams and Carri D. Williams of Sedro Woolley were arrested last week and later charged with homicide by abuse and assault of a child in the first degree in Skagit County Superior Court.

Each was ordered held Thursday on $150,000 bail.

According to court documents, the couple’s adopted daughter, Hana Williams, 13, was systematically starved, beaten, forced to use an outdoor toilet and sometimes locked in a dark closet for days by the Williams.

Hana Williams was found dead in May – naked, face-down in the mud in her own backyard – after she had spent much of a cold, rainy day outside as a punishment, according to court documents.

Although she died of hypothermia, there were other contributing causes to her death, including severe malnutrition and chronic gastritis, doctors said.

The Williams had adopted Hana from Ethiopia in 2008 as a diseased little girl to begin a new life in America.

Instead, according to court records, she was beaten, starved, forced to sleep in a barn at times and deprived of love and basic necessities.

Child Protective Services said there are reports that Hana had lost a significant amount of weight before her death. And the night she died, she was out in the yard naked on a rainy evening, with temperatures in the low 40s.

Further investigation revealed that Hana had a number of injuries on the night she died, including a large lump on the head, bloody marks and injuries “consistent with disciplinary impacts with a switch,” according to court documents released Friday.

Those same documents describe the hellish life that Hana endured in the months before her death – which included systematic withholding of food, forced times outdoors in the cold or locked in a dark closet, interspersed with regular spankings or beatings with a plumbing tool.

In interviews with the parents and other children in the household, investigators determined that the Williams withheld food from Hana as a punishment for being “rebellious,” court documents say.

In addition, Hana was forced to use an outdoor portable toilet behind the barn instead of the home’s indoor bathroom, and she sometimes was made to take cold showers while naked outdoors under a garden hose, the case file says.

The Williams told investigators that they made Hana use the outdoor toilet because she had hepatitis and they didn’t want any of their other children to become infected with the disease.

Other punishments included locking Hana inside a dark closet for hours or days without food while the parents played the Bible on tape and Christian music for her while she was locked inside, according to court documents.

Hana also was forced to sleep in the barn on some nights or kept outside for hours in the cold without adequate clothing or shoes, court documents say – but she was allowed to wear shoes if there was snow on the ground.

The Williams also confirmed that they used a flexible plumbing tool as a switch to punish Hana and some of the other children in their household.

The children told investigators that Hana sometimes was beaten with a switch for standing more than 12 inches away from where she was told to stand or for speaking without permission.

The Williams’ older biological children were sometimes encouraged to join in administering the punishment by their parents.

A witness told investigators that the Williams got their ideas for the disciplinary measures from a book, “How to Train Up Your Child,” which recommends switchings with a plumbing tool, cold water baths, withholding food and putting children out in cold weather as forms of punishment.

The Williams’ other adopted child, a 10-year-old boy who also was adopted at the same time as Hana, is deaf – and also reportedly showed signs of abuse.

Prosecutors say the first-degree assault accusation against the Williams stems from allegations relating to the boy, who was also from Ethiopia but no relation to Hana.

According to court papers, the Williams also withheld food from the boy at times and switched him regularly – sometimes for not listening to them – even though he was deaf.

After Hana’s death, CPS convinced a judge to pull Hana’s eight brothers and sister – ages seven to 17 – from their Sedro-Woolley home. Those children are all now in temporary foster care. The parents have requested a hearing to fight to get their children back.

This article was found on Reuters.  Pasted here for permanence

Couple accused of starving daughter plead not guilty
By Nicole Neroulias
SEATTLE | Thu Oct 6, 2011 7:37pm EDT

(Reuters) – A couple accused of starving their adopted 13-year-old Ethiopian-born daughter and locking her outside in the cold, where she died from exposure, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to homicide and child abuse charges.

Although investigators found the Washington state couple adhered to a harsh child-rearing regimen prescribed by a controversial Christian parenting book, the prosecutor said Thursday that religion was not relevant to the criminal case.

Larry and Carri Williams, of Sedro-Woolley — a town about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia — were arrested September 29, more than four months after their daughter, Hana, died of hypothermia in their backyard.

A Skagit County Superior Court judge reduced their bail from $500,000 to $150,000 each on Thursday, and barred them from contact with their eight remaining children, who were placed into foster care in July, or with each other.

Each is charged with homicide by abuse in connection with their daughter’s death, and first-degree assault of a child stemming from mistreatment of her adopted 10-year-old brother from Ethiopia.

If convicted each faces a prison term of between 20 and 29 years, according to state sentencing guidelines.

Hana Williams, adopted from Ethiopia by the couple in 2008, died on May 12 after she was found unconscious outside shortly after midnight, in temperatures hovering around 40 degrees, authorities said.

Investigators say the abuse she endured included beatings, starvation, being forced to sleep outside and use an outdoor toilet, and that she had lost a significant amount of weight since her adoption. Prosecutors said the 10-year-old brother was similarly mistreated.

The parents kept the family isolated from non-relatives, home-schooled the children and followed strict religious principles described in the Christian parenting book titled “How to Train Up a Child,” investigators said.

According to court documents, their 16-year-old son told investigators that Hana “was kept in a locked closet and the only light switch was on the outside of the closet. He stated that his mother would take her out every other day to walk and exercise. They played the Bible on tape and Christian music for her while she was locked in the closet.”

But Prosecutor Rich Weyrich insisted that issues of faith were not a factor in the case against the couple. “Religion’s not an element we have to probe. We have to prove that the children were assaulted, tortured and died,” he told Reuters on Thurday.

Larry Williams, 47, who works for Boeing, and his wife, Carri, 40, a stay-at-home mother, were being held in Skagit County Jail.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Greg McCune)


New Site: “No Greater Joy?”

beatenwithplumbingline has just started a new blog called, No Greater Joy?   The first, and so far only, post shows how the Pearls’ teachings violate Matthew 18:2-6.  (Note, this site has since been deleted)  This post also states the purpose of the new blog which is.

…to warn parents, pastors, and law enforcement of the dangerous and abusive parenting methods of Michael and Debi Pearl, as presented by their webside “No Greater Joy” and espoused in their book To Train Up a Child.  

Another purpose of this website is to preserve the memory of the children who have died at the hands of parents who abused them using Michael and Debi Pearl’s methods.

The blog contains 2 links, one to a news article about the Schatz story and the other to a news article about the death of Hana Grace-Rose Williams. What does her death have to do with the Pearls’ teachings? Probably nothing, but it remains to be seen. I have heard murmurings on the internet that her parents were Pearl followers, but it is all officially hearsay at this point.

Here is another article about Hana Grace-Rose Williams which includes a News Video from and here is an article from Fox News which mentions that the family homeschooled all their children.