Maureen remembers Hana Alemu “Williams” and gives us a small update in Remembering Hana: May 12, 2011.
Maureen shares an update of the Barbour case, in which Kristen Barbour was sentenced to 6-12 months for pleading no contest to the felony charge of endangering her 2 adopted Ethiopian children. What I find most surprising is that she will be allowed to go home and take care of her children for 40 hours per week. This is all explained in this article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Update: More about the Barbour case in this article: Franklin Park child abuse case draws protest, counter-protest.
She then goes on to tell us about Carri Williams and the 59 page appeal brief she has filed, which she has on her site for us to read. This is a lot to read, but I’ll try to summarize what I can understand. They argue that it was not proven that Hana was under 16 nor that Immanuel’s scars were caused by Carri, that the terms “torture” and “extreme indifference to human life” were unconstitutionally vague and that she was deprived of a necessary witness. They bring up the witness who claimed to be Hana’s uncle and testified to her age being 13 and then fled instead of returning to Ethiopia. It later came out that the State had paid him for his testimony. His testimony was stricken from the case, but the jury had heard it. They also show where the prosecuting atty gave opinions and was instructed by the judge to stop more than once. For these reasons, they believe that it should have been ruled a mistrial.
For more on the Williams case, please see my Hana Alemu “Williams” tag.
Maureen, at Light Of Day Stories, remembers the verdict one year ago today.
Maureen has a follow up to the Hana Story which I found interesting.
Kathryn Joyce did a long and very thorough investigative report for Slate Magazine on Hana’s entire story. Her article also looks at adoption reform. I must warn you that if you are sensitive and/or easily triggered, please do not read this story. Here is what Maureen has to say about the same article.
The above mentioned article is perfect for sharing with any politicians or celebrities who might be willing to put pressure on Amazon.com to remove the book, To Train Up A Child. If you can’t think of anyone, here is an idea from StopSpanking.org
Please ask Patty Murray to follow Parliamentary Member Nadine Dorrie’s example to demand that Amazon remove “To Train Up a Child” — a book that advocates child abuse and has contributed to the death of Hanna Elemu, murdered by adoptive parents Carri and Larry Williams right here in Skagit County!Call Senator Murray at (866) 481-9186 OR email her at: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme
Parliamentary Member Nadine Dorrie has agreed to contact Senator Murray to advise her to speak out on behalf of children and parents! Let Senator Murray know that Washingtonians are outraged by this book!
For a sample letter and more information on this issue:
I should also mention that while Amazon.ca.uk has removed the paperback version of To Train Up A Child, the Kindle version is still available. More info here in this edited and updated post from @ADadCalledSpen.
Maureen has an update on the Williams, just to tie up loose ends.
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.
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 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.
According to recent news stories, Larry Williams’ Lawyers are trying to get him a new trial and/or a short sentence. The sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013.
Here is the story in the Skagit Valley Herald which discusses them requesting a new trial. (Clicking on this story will add a cookie to your browser to ensure that you only view 5 such stories in any 30 day period.)
Here is the story on Kiro TV which discusses them asking for a sentence of only 5 years (with 2 years credit for time served) because he had no idea what his wife was doing while he was away at work.
Also, Carri’s lawyers want her Manslaughter conviction dropped, since she was charged for the more serious crime, according to this story in the Skagit Valley Herald. (Clicking on this story will add a cookie to your browser to ensure that you only view 5 such stories in any 30 day period.)
In case anyone was worried about how Carri Williams is faring in jail, the Skagit Valley Herald reports that she is being kept safe in one of the Work Release pods. This was an upgrade from the Solitary Confinement cell she was in before, as they are not healthy to use for long term use. It’s nice to know that they are doing their best to be as humane as possible while she is paying the price for accidentally torturing her daughter to death. Maybe she will start to understand the concept of grace, (unmerited favor.)
Meanwhile, Larry has been in custody for 2 years and the article does not mention what protective measures they have been using to keep him alive, but one must assume that they are in place.
Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 29.
The Skagit Valley Herald has an article (Subscriber Content) which states that Prosecutors have dropped the charge of Homicide By Abuse against Larry Williams. Those who were following the trial may remember that the jury was deadlocked on that charge and were unable to return a verdict for it. The charge was officially dropped on Sept 23.
Sentencing was originally scheduled for Oct 8, but it has been postponed until Oct 29 at 9:30 AM.
Mareen also writes about this, here.
The Seattle Times also has an article here.
Valerie Tarico looks at the problem of Christian discipline leading to abuse in “Bible-based” discipline has led to child abuse in Salon Magazine. I am seeing non-believers getting more and more concerned with this issue and rightly so. It breaks my heart that abusive Christians are giving Christianity a bad name. Of course, it is only natural that they are trying to find a way to stop the abuse. My only concern with that is that their definition of abuse often includes teaching children that they are sinners in need of salvation, which is the heart of the Gospel.
Because of that article, Pastor Doug Bursch (who was raised in a grace-filled, loving home) discussed the problem with M. Dolon Hickmon on his Christian Talk Radio show, Live from Seattle 820AM. This conversation is extremely interesting as well as important. Dolon explains how important it is for Christians to recognize abuse. Not only do churches fail to notice abuse, they often inadvertently encourage it. He explains how each person listening to a sermon about spanking has a different definition for the words being used. Both abused children and their parents assume that the word, “spanking” means exactly what they are currently doing and are being validated that they should continue, even if the pastor preaching means nothing of the sort. Raising awareness is very important and he has a lot of hope that the book he wrote will go a long way towards that. You can get information about his book here. ****Warning! Book very triggering for survivors of abuse****
Whatcom Mom had an interesting comment which I would like to highlight.
I’m hoping the readers here will have some ideas about improving adoption home study practice, based on what we have learned from the deaths of Hana Williams and Lydia Schatz and injuries to their siblings.
So you know where I’m coming from. I’m an adoptive parent of now adult daughters, one adopted as an infant from a local nonprofit agency, the other as a toddler through state foster care. I’ve been active in pre-adoptive education and post-adoption support and have had plenty of occasion to reflect on issues that arise in transracial, special needs, and international and open adoptions. I have long been concerned about adoption agencies that place especially needy and difficult children with naïve, unprepared (and maybe overconfident) families and then fail to follow up with oversight and support.
I followed the Williams trial especially closely because the family lives in my area and because I know people who have worked for, and adopted from, the agency that placed Hana and her brother Immanuel. [Read more…]
As I reflect with sorrow and horror at the tragedy which was the Williams Trial, I find myself trying to make sense of what happened and why.
What I see as the root problem is pride. The Bible says that God hates pride. We know that “pride goeth before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18). I believe that very few people would argue with me when I say that Carri Williams had a problem with pride. I heard her described as a person who had to be always right. She was said to have perfect children. People described her as intimidating because her children were so perfect. I was told that when someone disagreed with her, they had a hard time confronting her because she had a reputation for a very cutting tongue. So, when people had concerns about how she was raising her children, they just withdrew away from her and left her alone. What else could they do? She would not listen, and she certainly would not accept help.
I’m not sure how and when she found To Train Up A Child by Michael Pearl. [Read more…]
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 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.
I totally did not expect any more drama in this trial until the verdict was reached but I was wrong. One of the jurors disclosed that his wife works for the Prosecutor’s office during Jury Selection and both attorneys were fine with it then and accepted him. Today, he was asked to be Presiding Juror and he declined, saying that it made him uncomfortable. Then the Defense decided that they no longer wanted him on the jury and he was asked to leave. A new juror has been selected from the alternates and the 2.5 hours they had deliberated is now lost, as they need to start all over with the new juror.
Here is the story in the Skagit Valley Herald. The jury then asked to hear the 911 call and interview again.
Here is the story on King 5.
Maureen explains how to follow the trial in real time on Twitter.
At 4:30 PDT, the jurors were sent home for the weekend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cindy Kunsman, from Under Much Grace, looks at the Williams Trial and compares the Williams family with the Schatz family in
Awaiting the Verdicts in the Williams Trial: Another Michael Pearl/To Train Up A Child Associated Death. She also gives a brief outline of Pearl and his teachings and a lamentation for the devastation they have caused both to Christian families as well as to the lost who observe and turn away in disgust.
Maureen looks at the homeschoolings aspect of the Williams in Homeschooling, Christians, Identity, and Isolation. (Speaking of Maureen, I just added a (very triggering) link to the 2nd half of Carri’s testimony to last friday’s post.)
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.
Thursday August 30, 2013 saw yet another expert witness testifying that Hana had to be at around 15. This time it was a radiologist who analyzed xrays of Hana’s bones, according to this article from King 5.
Then Carri Williams returned to the stand to be cross examined. She testified that Larry never ordered her to stop spanking the children and that if he had, she would have stopped because she believes in “Biblical gender roles,” according to this article in the Skagit Valley Herald.
According to this article from KiroTV, she admitted to reading the controversial book, To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl but said, “That doesn’t mean I followed that book as the Bible. I got a couple ideas from it, is all.” Upon reading that, an acquaintance Carri Wiliams made the following statement in the Facebook Group, Remembrance of Hanna Williams:
LIES LIES LIES!!! She said she only used a few suggestions from the book. All lies!!! She had EVERY stinking Pearl book they had from No Greater Joy ministries. She followed it to a T!! She always bragged about it. She talked us all into reading this book. She is lying through her teeth!!!! I Guess what can I excpect? Just irritates me so bad that she is so big on telling the truth when she is so full of lies herself!! This made me shake in my boots and wanna scream to the rooftop that she is soooo lying!
Also in this story is discussion of the application they filled out when they applied to adopt Hana and Immanuel. The Prosecuting Atty said that they did not put in the application that they spank, although Carri said that they did. It was not found on the application.
Maureen has a very detailed report again for which I am very thankful. It goes without saying that this is not for the faint of heart as pretty much nothing in this trial is.
They did not finish the cross examination before the day ended.
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.
Tuesday August 27, 2013 saw both Joshua and Larry Williams take the stand. Maureen covers both stories in great detail in 2 separate posts.
Here is Maureen’s post about Joshua who is the Williams oldest child. He is 19 or 20 and is in the Army, serving in Korea. His testimony was focused on if he had heard his parents arguing and if Larry was really the boss of the household. At first he said that he was but it appears that at some point things changed. In this post is the beginning of Larry’s testimony. He admits to feeling ashamed and responsible because he did not intervene.
Here is Maureen’s post about the rest of Larry’s testimony. He said that every decision was Carri’s. He had decided that the discipline was not working and wanted her to change but she would not. When asked why he didn’t take things into his own hands, he explained that he wished that he had but Carri had him convinced by her track record that she knew what she was doing. He also went into the whole story of how and why they adopted the children and how the harsh discipline started.
Here is the story in the Skagit Valley Herald.
Here is the story on KiroTV.
In case anyone has noticed the change in my numbering, I thought I should explain. I started off numbering the first day of Jury Selection as Day 1 but since noticed that all the media was referring to the day of Opening Statements as Day 1. This causes confusion and I decided to change to reflect the common numeration. My URLs will continue to reflect my old numbering system to avoid a bunch of redirects.
Monday, August 26, 2013. The morning started with the last witness for the Prosecution, a pediatrician who specializes on child abuse. He testified that Hana was not just malnourished, but was starved and explained the cycle of abuse which typically leads to such a condition. Here is the story in the Skagit Valley Herald (which is not for the easily triggered.)
After that witness, the jury was dismissed and motions were heard. The lawyers for Larry tried to dismiss the charges for various reasons. One of the reasons was problems with Hana’s biological cousin. The problems and concerns had enough merit that the judge decided to strike his testimony which basically means that it has been deleted. The Skagit Valley Herald explains. You can also find the story on KiroTV.
Maureen is back in the courtroom and provides us with much insight from Monday’s court session. Of course, the faint of heart will read at their own risk. I applaud Maureen for her dedication, her fortitude and her excellent writing.
Also, check out this piece in the Seattle Times which brings up the teachings of Michael Pearl in “To Train Up A Child.”
Friday, August 23, 2013 the Defense started calling their witnesses. In the morning was testimony from a Forensic Anthropologist who estimated Hana’s age to be 15 but could be between 13-17 according to Gina Cole. In the afternoon were character witnesses. Interestingly, a family friend claimed that she made unannounced visits to the Williams home. Since they lived behind a locked gate, there must have been some kind of announcement made before they entered the actual residence. Some people don’t seem to understand how different people can be when outsiders are around. I sincerely hope that the jury does not fall into that category.
I have not found very much news from this day. Your best source of news may be #WilliamsTrial. As always, if I find more news stories about this day, I will add them to this post.