exposing the dark side of adoption
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Adopted boy snaps on the stand


By Lee Stoll

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. — Wednesday was day 10 in the Skagit murder and abuse trial, and a boy who says he was beaten by his adopted parents snapped on the stand.

The defense tried to poke holes in Immanuel Williams’ story and paint him as a liar with an attitude problem.

The frustration was clear as the 11-year-old, who is deaf, fired answers through his interpreters.

"I said no! Asking me that question again and again, it's enough!" signed Immanuel.

Immanuel spent days testifying he and his adopted sister, Hana Williams, were beaten and humiliated by their adopted parents, Larry and Carri Williams. The couple could face life in prison if convicted.

Hana died of starvation and hypothermia at their gated Sedro-Woolley home in 2011.

Larry’s attorney, Rachel Forde, characterized the Ethiopian boy as a troublemaker who lied to the couple and refused to do lessons assigned by his mom, who home-schooled the adopted kids and the Williams’ own seven children.

"Because they're not your boss, you would refuse to do it again, wouldn't you?" said Forde.

“Yes,” said Immanuel.

Immanuel says he was hit on his feet and on his head until he bled. But Forde accused him of exaggerating a simple spank -- a word Immanuel signed he does not understand.

"He's playing games. He's pretending not to understand words when I ask," said Forde.

In the middle of testimony, Forde questioned the interpreter, trying to catch Immanuel in a lie.

"Does Immanuel understand the finger-spelling of 'spank' or not?" said Forde.

"I can't answer that because I can't measure his comprehension." said the interpreter.

Two hours later, Immanuel was still confused.

"There have been a lot of changes, so I need to understand exactly what you're talking about," he said.

2013 Aug 8