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No verdict yet, juror excused from Williams trial


No verdict yet, juror excused from Williams trial

No verdict yet; deliberations resume Monday

Hana Williams
Courtesy, Lemley Chapel
Hana Williams of Sedro-Woolley died in May 2011. Her parents face charges in connection with her death. She is believed to have been 13 years old when she died.

Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013 5:30 pm | Updated: 9:21 pm, Fri Sep 6, 2013.

By Gina Cole

MOUNT VERNON — No verdict has been reached yet in the trial of Larry and Carri Williams, a Sedro-Woolley-area couple accused of abusing their adopted daughter to death and assaulting their adopted son.

The jury started deliberating Thursday afternoon, but were sent back to square one Friday morning when a juror was excused after lawyers learned he talked to his wife about procedural matters related to the case. He was replaced with an alternate; one alternate remains.

Jurors were sent home for the weekend and resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Monday.

The Williamses are charged with homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter in the death of Hana Williams, who collapsed in the backyard on a rainy night in May 2011 and died of hypothermia hastened by malnutrition. They also are charged with first-degree assault of a child in the alleged abuse of the younger boy they adopted from Ethiopia at the same time as Hana.

Each charge is a Class A felony, carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison and/or a $50,000 fine. Judge Susan Cook has final say on sentencing if the Williamses are found guilty.

The jury also can consider lesser charges, which could come with lighter penalties.

The excused juror’s wife is an employee of the Skagit County Prosecutor’s Office, which lawyers on both sides questioned him about during jury selection.

All parties agreed to him being on the jury, said deputy prosecuting attorney Rosemary Kaholokula.

However, when prosecutors learned the juror had talked to his wife about the case, they immediately told the defense lawyers and the court, and Judge Cook excused him, she said.

The man is the second juror to be released from the case. Another was excused three weeks ago after he was seen nodding off and admitted to having trouble paying attention.

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

2013 Sep 6