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Testimony: Williams parents shared punishment decisions


Testimony: Williams parents shared punishment decisions

Carri Williams testifies
Scott Terrell / Skagit Valley Herald
Carri Williams testifies for the defense Wednesday morning in Skagit County Superior Court.

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 1:35 pm

by Gina Cole

MOUNT VERNON — Larry Williams finished his testimony this morning by saying many of the punishments used on his children were his wife’s idea, and that he didn’t remember who thought up the rest.

But then Carri Williams took the stand, testifying that she and her husband had equal parts in the discipline scheme in their home, agreeing on the house rules, the punishments for breaking them and the instruments used in those punishments.

Larry and Carri Williams are charged with homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter in the death of their adopted daughter, as well as first-degree assault of their adopted son.

Hana Williams collapsed after several hours in the family’s Sedro-Woolley-are backyard and died of hypothermia hastened by malnutrition. An autopsy report described marks on her legs consistent with having recently been struck more than a dozen times with a switch like the one the Williamses used to discipline their children.

Carri Williams, her sister and her mother testified this morning that Carri’s adopted son was “aggressive” and “violent,” hitting and kicking his siblings from the first week in his new home. They said that when this happened, Larry and Carri Williams would correct the deaf boy in sign language, which he was learning for the first time in the Williams home.

Larry Williams testified they did not start spanking the boy until they thought he could understand the rules.

Spankings with a piece of plastic plumbing line, glue stick or belt were a common form of discipline in the home, Carri Williams said. They occurred only on the children’s backsides, she said, contradicting testimony from her adopted son that his parents struck him all over his body.

Lawyers on both sides showed Carri Williams and her mother, Charlotte Miller, photos taken in 2011 of marks and scars on the adopted boy’s torso. They both said the marks were the same ones they saw on the boy when he was first adopted in 2008.

Carri Williams’ testimony continues this afternoon.

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

2013 Aug 28