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 NWCN.com 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)
I *think* that in many places, a “not guilty” plea is required in this stage. Pleading guilty is something that becomes an option later in the legal process.
I believe that they could plead guilty, but it rarely happens. In that case, if I’m not mistaken, they would not defend themselves at all, and proceed directly to sentencing.
Christie, at this stage of a trial like this, I don’t think anyone pleads guilty. . . The Paddocks and Schatzes also pleaded Not Guilty.
So tragic. Why the not guilty plea?