Prosecutor: Twins’ injuries not accidental

Date: 2006-12-20
Source: candgnews.com

Prosecutor: Twins’ injuries not accidental

Defense denies allegations of abuse

By Brian C. Louwers
C & G Staff Writer
   
WARREN — A preliminary exam was expected to begin this week for a woman accused of torturing her two adopted twin girls, as prosecutors prepared to present their case, the second of just two such cases ever brought in Michigan.
   
Tamika Shuntell Williams, 30, of Warren, remained held on a $1 million cash bond last week ahead of her preliminary examination, which was rescheduled for Dec. 19 at the request of Ronald Goldstein, her defense counsel.
   
Last week, Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Smith spoke about the extent of the injuries suffered by the children. He said the alleged abuse began after Williams was awarded custody of the twin 8-year-old girls, and he elaborated on why the charge of torture was authorized in the case, a felony punishable by up to life in prison, along with two counts of first-degree child abuse, a 15-year felony.
   
“There’s a huge difference there. When you see the actual pictures and bruises that the girls had on them — they were beaten with metal springs off of exercise equipment — you can actually see the bruises where the springs spread out,” Smith said. “There were bruises from the individual springs on their bodies, on their backs, and on their arms. They were tied with ropes and belts, held over their doors and beaten with baseball bats.”
   
Smith said this is the first time that the charge of torture has been brought in the tri-county area and just the second time it has been brought by prosecutors in the state.
   
Goldstein, a Sterling Heights-based defense attorney, declined comment on the specifics of the case, but said the allegations of torture at the hands of his client are false.
   
“It’s our position that there was no abuse,” Goldstein said.
   
Smith disagreed sharply with that assessment.
   
“It’s almost laughable to even address that. The amount of bruising that these two girls endured, it would be impossible to have those be accidental bruises,” Smith said.
   
The girls are reportedly doing “very well” in foster care. Smith said the girls would be called to testify about the alleged abuse at the preliminary examination, and later at trial, if necessary.

“They were pretty much punished for doing anything that little girls do, including eating and playing,” Smith said. “The good thing is that, while they had to endure this, we got them out of there.”
   
Williams was scheduled to be back in court for an exam before Judge Dawnn Gruenburg on Dec. 19, after the Warren Weekly went to press.

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