by: Lee Stoll Updated:
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - A juror was dismissed for sleeping during testimony on Wednesday, the 13th day of the Skagit County homicide and abuse case.
The jury was excused for a morning break last Wednesday when Judge Susan K. Cook alerted attorneys a male juror was sleeping in his seat.
"Take my word for it, he's sleeping," said Cook.
The jury was brought into the courtroom and warned to pay attention to witnesses describing what led Hana Williams to starve and freeze to death at her adopted Sedro-Woolley home two years ago.
"If you find yourself having a difficult time (staying awake), feel free to stand up and stretch to get the blood flowing to your brain again," said Cook.
Jurors trying to stay focused as they listen to five to six hours of testimony a day, take notes and stand up to stretch. They have also asked for the air conditioner to be turned up.
But a week after the judge's warning, the male juror was dismissed for falling asleep again and was replaced by an alternate.
Jurors will decide if Larry and Carri Williams caused Hana's death through abuse and if they also abused her adopted brother, Immanuel.
He says the couple beat the Ethiopian kids, fed them frozen food and forced them to sleep in locked closets as punishment.
The parents could spend the rest of their lives in prison if convicted.
The trial, which is expected to take six weeks, started with three alternate jurors. There are now two left, so the juror's removal will not disrupt the trial.