UPDATE, 5:46 p.m.| Here is the latest from The Associated Press:
MOUNT VERNON — A Sedro-Woolley couple were convicted Monday in the malnutrition-and-hypothermia death of a teenage girl they had adopted from Ethiopia.
A jury found Carri Williams guilty of homicide by abuse as well as manslaughter. Larry Williams was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter. The jury also convicted them both of assault of a child. The jury couldn’t reach a decision on the homicide by abuse charge for Larry Williams, and the judge declared a mistrial on that count
Larry and Carri Williams face a maximum life sentence, the Skagit Valley Herald reports.
Hana Williams died in the backyard of the family’s home in May 2011. Prosecutors said she was starved, beaten and forced outside as punishment.
Defense lawyers argued that questionable parenting practices don’t necessarily amount to a crime.
Hana is believed to have been 13, but no documentation of her birth in Ethiopia was available. The trial was postponed several times and her body was exhumed in January in an effort to determine her age. Tests on her teeth and bones gave varying estimates, and experts were unable to agree on her age.
Her age was significant because the homicide by abuse charge applies only if the victim was younger than 16.
Hana Williams was adopted in 2008.
UPDATE, 4:38 p.m.| Reporters in the courtroom are tweeting:
- Larry Williams not found guilty of homicide by abuse. Jury was not able to reach a verdict on this count.
- Larry Williams guilty of first-degree manslaughter.
- Larry Williams guilty of first-degree assault of a child.
- Carri Williams guilty of homicide by abuse.
- Carri Williams guilty of first-degree assault of a child.
ORIGINAL POST | MOUNT VERNON — A verdict has been reached in the trial of a Washington state couple accused of homicide by abuse in the death of their teenage daughter who was adopted from Ethiopia.
The case against Larry and Carri Williams of Sedro-Woolley went to the jury Friday in Mount Vernon.
The two also are charged with manslaughter in the death of Hana Williams in the backyard of the family home in May 2011. The girl died of hypothermia and malnutrition. Prosecutors say she was starved, beaten and forced outside as punishment.
Larry and Carri Williams also are charged with first-degree child assault, for allegedly abusing their son who also was adopted in 2008 from Ethiopia.
They have pleaded not guilty to all charges. Defense lawyers told jurors that questionable parenting practices don’t necessarily amount to a crime.