Mother accused of killing her daughter goes head to head with prosecutors

by: Lee Stoll Updated:

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Mount Vernon, Wash. - Day 24 in the Skagit murder and abuse trial as the mother accused of killing her daughter goes head to head with prosecutors. A calm, controlled Carri Williams answered pointed questions from prosecutors about disciplining her children.

"Did you read child raising books?" asked Rosemary Kaholokula. "I did," answered Williams. Williams admits she hit her children with a wooden spoon, switch, gluestick and belt. She read controversial book "Train Up a Child," which tells parents to train children almost like dogs — to use cold food, cold weather and spanking as punishment. "That doesn't mean I followed that book as the Bible. I got a couple ideas from it, is all," said Carri.

Kaholokula showed Carri her application to adopt Hana and Immanuel from Ethiopia. The couple never mentioned striking their own 7-children as discipline. "The reason why you wouldn't want to put it in there is because you might not get the child. Is that right?" said Kaholokula. "No, I put it in there," said Williams.

Carri says she saw pictures and records from Hana's orphanage stating she was 10 or 11 years old when she arrived in 2008. Those records mean Hana was 13 when she starved and froze to death at the family's gated Sedro-Woolley home. The Williams are charged with homicide by abuse, manslaughter and assault. Homicide by abuse can only be charged if the victim is a child — 16 or younger. The couple says Hana herself told them her uncle lied about her age when he took her to the orphanage so she could live there longer. "She told me she was 16," said Larry Williams.

Prosecutors say Carri wanted to get rid of Hana. Carri says the girl was oppositional. Hana was the only one forced to sleep in a barn, use a Porta Potty and shower outside with a garden hose. "By claiming she was 16 you were that much closer to getting rid of her, right?" said Kaholokula. "No," answered Carri.

The day ended before prosecutors could question Carri about the night Hana died. Carri will resume her testimony Friday.