Jury convicts parents in Skagit abuse trial

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

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MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - The Skagit Valley parents accused of abusing their adopted daughter were convicted by a jury Monday after a five-week trial.

Larry and Carri Williams were accused of killing their adopted daughter, Hana, and abusing their adopted son, Immanuel. Jurors convicted the Sedro Woolley couple of the most serious charges—manslaughter in the first degree and assault in the first degree. Jurors had a total of 15 counts to vote on, including third-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter.

First-degree manslaughter can carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. Both parents were convicted of aggravated domestic violence.

The jury deadlocked on one charge.  They convicted Carri of homicide by abuse but could not reach the same verdict for Larry.  That charge was dismissed by the judge.  Larry’s attorneys argued the former Boeing worker was at work as Carri home-schooled and disciplined the Ethiopian pair and their own 7-children.

The judge immediately ordered Carri to be taken into custody.  Her bail is set at 1.5 million dollars.  Larry is already in custody accused of trying to contact the couple’s children—violating a court order.

The Williams' trial has been the longest criminal trial in Skagit County history. 

Experts testified Hana and Immanuel, who were adopted from Ethiopia, were beaten and isolated through home-schooling and limited group trips to church.

Immanuel and several of the Williams' other seven children said the Ethiopian pair were fed frozen food and slept in closets. Hana showered outside and had her head shaved. She was punished for not washing the shampoo out of her hair, for cutting the grass incorrectly and for getting her homework wrong.

Hana died outside the home on a cold, rainy night in shorts and a T-shirt. Carri admitted that she sent her three sons outside to hit the girl for refusing to come in.

Larry's attorney said Carri, a stay-at-home mom, punished the kids while he was at work. They claim an eating disorder may have caused Hana to waste away to 78 pounds.

Prosecutors say the couple controlled their gated Sedro-Woolley home equally.

Larry’s attorney says they will appeal.  The next court hearing for the couple will be in October.

After the trial many people of Ethiopian decent came to the courthouse to publicly express their appreciation that “justice had been served.”   Then, many of them went to Hana’s grave for a brief prayer vigil.

KIRO 7 approached numerous members of the jury.  None wanted to comment on the verdict.

 

Previous KIRO 7 coverage of the Williams trial

Aug. 1: Jurors see before and after photos of starved girl

Aug. 2: Witness: Adopted children were 'tortured'

Aug. 5: Kids testify in parents' murder and abuse trial

Aug. 6: Jurors hear shocking details in child murder trial

Aug. 7: Boy testifies, says parents spanked adopted brother, sister more

Aug. 8: Adopted boy snaps on the stand

Aug. 9: Murder charge may be thrown out because of adopted girl's age

Aug. 12: Dead girl's cousin testifies, then disappears

Aug. 13: Defense: Immanuel getting treats to lie about Williams abuse

Aug. 14: Juror dismissed for sleeping during trial

Aug. 15: Teen takes stand 

Aug. 16: Williams’ sons carried dead sister into the house

Aug. 19: Kids say they aren't lying about abuse

Aug. 20: Mom blamed adopted daughter for dying

Aug. 21: Foster mom: Immanuel was thin and terrified

Aug. 22: Girl's exhumed body gives few answers in Skagit murder and abuse trial

Aug. 26: Judge throws out testimony

Aug. 27: Husband blames wife in Skagit abuse trial

Aug. 28: Carri Williams takes stand in her own defense

Aug. 29: Carri Williams goes head to head with prosecutors

Sept. 4: Jurors have to vote on more than a dozen charges in Williams case

Sept. 5: The jury gets the case

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