A jury in Skagit County has found the parents of an adopted teenager guilty for her death. In May 2011, Hana Williams died of hypothermia and malnutrition in the family’s backyard in Sedro-Woolley. The girl was adopted from Ethiopia and believed to be 13 at the time of her death.
The jury convicted both parents, Larry and Carri Williams, of manslaughter and assault. Carri Williams was also found guilty of homicide by abuse, according the Associated Press.
Mulu Mebet Retta, president of the Ethiopian Community Mutual Association in Seattle, was at the courtroom in Mount Vernon as the trial went on during the past several weeks.
Retta says she was relieved to hear the jury’s ruling. “They have served justice,” Retta said. “We’re just so thankful. Nobody should have gone through that. I’m sure they felt like they are in a nightmare.”
At trial, Retta said the Skagit County prosecutor outlined what Retta described as “torture” for Hana and another adopted Ethiopian boy in the Williams’ home.
For the last year of her life, charging documents allege that Hana was regularly left outside and in locked rooms, forced to use a portable potty and deprived of food.
Larry and Carri Williams face a maximum life sentence, according to the Skagit Valley Herald.
After Monday’s verdict, Retta said she planned another stop in Skagit County to pay tribute to Hana. “We will be going to her graveyard. We will just say now, you know, peace at rest. Peace at rest.”
Retta also said the Ethiopian community plans to hold a gathering soon to celebrate Hana Williams' life.