(Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Bob Ryder)
An American couple has been found guilty in the death of their adopted daughter and abuse of their adopted son.
Larry and Carri Williams were convicted of first-degree manslaughter of their adopted teenage Ethiopian daughter, and first-degree assault of a child for their abuse of an Ethiopian boy they adopted at the same time. The jury also convicted Carri of homocide by abuse though they did not reach that decision for her husband. Both defendents intend to appeal.
While the maximum sentence for each conviction is life in prison, the The Skagit Valley Herald is reporting that "Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich is recommending 14 to 18 years for Larry Williams and 27 to 37 years for Carri Williams."
Hana Williams, the couple's daughter collapsed and died outside in May 2011. According to an autopsy report, her cause of death was listed hypothermia, exacerbated by malnutrition and a stomach condition.
During the trial, the prosecution accused the couple of forcing their daughter to use an outdoor portable toilet and shower, feeding her cold and frozen food, striking her with a belt and piece of plumbing line and shaving her head. The prosecution further asserted that when Hana had died, she had been locked in a closet each night and not allowed to talk to anyone.
The couple already had six adopted children when they adopted the two Ethiopian children in 2008, who were then seven and 11.
After Hana's death, The New York Times reported that the couple's abusive parenting tactics had mimicked instructions from Christian parenting book To Train Up a Child. According to the report, Carri Williams had recommended the book to a friend and beaten Hana with a plastic tube--a device recommended in the book.
"It's a good spanking instrument," Mr. Pearl said in an interview with The New York Times."It's too light to cause damage to the muscle or the bone."
Every day spectators filled the court room, supporting both sides throughout the trial. Metassibia Mulugeta was one of the members of Seattle's Ethiopian community, who came to provide solidarity to Williams' Ethiopian children.
Mulugeta questioned how the kids' suffering could have lasted for so long.
"Deprivation of food. Deprivation of socialization, within the family. Deprivation of sleep. Deprivation of total freedom. I mean, (Hana) was under control in every sense, and they both were," Mulugeta said. "…How long could she have lived and endured that?"
Final sentencing will occur later this month.