by: Lee Stoll Updated:Mount Vernon, Wash. —
For two years, Carri Williams has been called a killer and child abuser. The mother of nine children took the stand in her own defense Wednesday and said she begged her adopted daughter Hana to come inside the night she died. "She began throwing herself down," said Carri.
Carri said Hana bumped her head and scraped her knees deeply enough to bleed but thought the girl was just acting out. She later learned Hana was suffering hypothermia and starvation. "I decided that I couldn't watch it anymore, so I went inside," said Carri. She sent her three sons outside to hit Hana for refusing to come in. The girl finally collapsed face down, naked in the mud. Carri covered her dying daughter's body with sheet — worried about what the other children would see. "Modesty is important in our family," she said. Hana was dead a few minutes later.
Carri and her husband, Larry, could face life in prison if convicted of killing Hana and assaulting their adopted son Immanuel.
The 12-year-old boy said he was hit until he bled and that the Ethiopian pair was locked in closets and fed frozen food. Two experts called it torture. Carri said the parents only gave light spanks and time-outs. "Who determined what these possible consequences would be?" asked Carri's attorney, Wes Richards. "Larry and I did," said Carri.
The former Boeing worker and stay-at-home mom used two days of testimony to attack each other. Larry said it was Carri's idea for Hana to shower outside with a garden hose. Carri said Larry set the spot up. She said Larry bought the port-a-potty Hana was forced to use because she had hepatitis B and left the house bathroom dirty. "It's not appropriate acceptable behavior socially," said Carri.
Carri admitted the port-a-potty and other punishments were wrong. She said she wishes she could trade places with Hana in the ground.