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Prosecutors describe 'house of horrors' in Hana Williams trial


Prosecutors describe 'house of horrors' in Hana Williams trial

By Michelle Esteban Published: Sep 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM PDT

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- Tears filled a Skagit County courtroom Wednesday as prosecutors described a so-called "house of horrors" where young Hana Williams died. Hana's adoptive parents are accused of starving and beating her, and leaving her outside in the cold to die.

Seven weeks of testimony boiled down to nearly 2 1/2 hours of closing argument from prosecutor Rich Weyrich, who insists Larry and Carri Williams are guilty of homicide by abuse

"They both played an integral part in this house of horrors," Weyrich told the court.

Weyrich summed up in seconds Hana's death and the alleged abuse of her deaf brother Immanuel.

"They tortured and starved her until she passed away, and they tortured and starved Immanuel Williams," Weyrich said.

Weyrich told the jury Hana weighed 76 pounds in 2008 when adopted from Ethiopia. She was up to 108 pounds in 2009, but at her death in 2011, she weighed only 78 pounds.

He showed showed jurors a tiny closet he alleges Hana was forced to live in, and reviewed Hana's autopsy photos -- including pictures of scars the prosecutor said came from being hit with a plastic rod.

The state described a year and a half long pattern of alleged abuse.

"These children were denied food, beaten with a belt, glue stick, plumbing tools... locked in closet... washed down with hoses," Weyrich said.

But Larry Williams' defense attorney countered during his closing arguments that the father was not home when died.

"Mr. Williams had absolutely nothing to do with it," said Rachel Forde.

She told the jury Larry Williams loved Hana and his wife 'designed, planned and implemented' the discipline.

"He's told you he feels responsible. He feels ashamed," Forde said.

Cari Williams' attorney will get her chance to address the court with her closing argument Thursday. But Cari Williams has made clear during the trial she blames the discipline on her husband and claims Hana was acting out on a regular basis and accidentally killed herself by being rebellious and refusing to come in out of the cold.

2013 Sep 4