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Motions to dismiss charges in homicide case denied


Motions to dismiss charges in homicide case denied

Williams couple’s trial still scheduled for July 22

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 2:15 pm

By Gina Cole


MOUNT VERNON — Attorneys took pretrial motions to a judge Tuesday morning in advance of next week’s trial of Larry and Carri Williams, the couple charged in the 2011 death of their adopted Ethiopian daughter.

The Williamses both have pleaded not guilty to homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter in Hana Williams’s death. Their trial is scheduled to begin July 22.

Motions Tuesday to dismiss charges were denied.

The homicide by abuse charge applies only if the victim was younger than 16, and Hana’s exact age has been at issue throughout the investigation. She is believed to have been 13 when she died, but documentation of her birth has been unavailable.

Attorneys for Carri Williams asked that the trial be postponed a week, but Judge Susan K. Cook turned them down. Prosecutors and Larry Williams’s attorneys had both opposed that motion.

The trial has already been postponed several times as attorneys squabbled over issues including whether Hana’s body should be exhumed in an attempt to determine her age at the time of her death. Those tests were not conclusive.

Hana was found lying dead in the mud in the backyard of the Williamses’ Sedro-Woolley-area home on a rainy night in May 2011. She died of hypothermia hastened by malnutrition, according to the autopsy report.

Investigative reports detail allegations that the Williamses starved Hana, beat her and forced her to live outside.

The couple also is charged with first-degree child assault, tied to allegations they physically abused their Ethiopian adoptive son.

Attorneys for the Williamses moved to dismiss the assault of a child and homicide by abuse charges based on their “vagueness,” but were denied, said defense attorney Wes Richards, who is representing Carri Williams.

In court Tuesday, Cook granted prosecutors’ motion to unseal Hana’s adoption file.

Attorneys for Larry Williams asked Cook to supress testimony by Hana’s alleged biological relative, but were denied. That testimony could be key in proving Hana’s birth date.

Larry Williams’s attorneys also moved to bar a video of Hana from being shown at the trial because it was brought up as evidence too late, Richards said.

The video is a one-minute “vignette of Hana while she was still in Ethiopia,” Weyrich said. Whether it can be shown at trial is still “a maybe,” he said.

Another motion to exclude two torture experts the prosecution plans to call as witnesses also was denied.

— Reporter Gina Cole: 360-416-2148, gcole@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Gina_SVH, facebook.com/byGinaCole

2013 Jul 17