by: Lee Stoll Updated:
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - A Skagit County couple convicted of beating, starving and freezing their adopted daughter to death has learned their fates.
Larry and Carri Williams were convicted this summer of killing their adopted daughter, Hana, and assaulting their adopted son, Immanuel, in the name of discipline.
Hana froze and starved to death outside the Williams' Sedro-Woolley home 2 1/2 years ago.
Prosecutors recommended at least 14 years for Larry Williams, but his attorney asked for a short 5-year sentence.
She argued that Larry Williams was away at work and didn't know what was happening, while Carri -- a stay-at-home mother, horribly abused the adopted children.
"She was the primary actor, in all of the treatment of Hana and Immanuel," said Larry Williams' attorney, Rachel Forde, during the trial.
But the judge did not agree, giving him an exceptionally high sentence of 27.75 years.
Carri Williams, who had the added conviction of homicide by abuse, was sentenced to the maximum of 37 years.
The Williams couple plan to appeal.
For the first time, the Williams faced a packed courtroom dressed in jail jumpsuits. Members of Seattle's Ethiopian Community were in the crowd — many were there for the 7 1/2-week trial, listening to how the parents beat and starved their adopted children, Hana and Immanuel.
"You suffered in isolation where no one could hear your cry for help," said Elsabet Legesse, who read a note she wrote to Hana.
In two years, Hana lost 30 pounds. She collapsed and died outside the family's Sedro-Wooley home.
Immanuel, who is deaf, testified the pair was fed frozen food, slept in closets and showered outside— treatment the Williams never gave their own seven children.
"You have to wonder how will these kids turn out? One of the children put it best when he said 'I'm just confused,'" said prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula.
The couple refused to speak, leaving friends to argue the parents are not monsters, just misguided.
"They were in over their heads and they didn't seek outside help," said Carri's attorney Laura Riquelme.
Judge Susan Cook says the pair's legacy of abuse and death left her speechless.
"What I see is one child dead, one child with PTSD and seven biological children who apparently believe that degrading, dehumanizing and cruel behavior of another person is completely acceptable," said
Katherine Bach, a juror on the panel that convicted the pair, expected nothing less.
"I feel justice has been served. I hope it never ever happens again," said Bach.
Previous KIRO 7 coverage of the Williams trial
Aug. 8: Adopted boy snaps on the stand
Aug. 15: Teen takes stand
Aug. 26: Judge throws out testimony
Sept. 5: The jury gets the case
Sept. 9: Jury convicts the Williams
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