This morning (October 29, 2013) at 9:30 am pdt, at the Skagit County Courthouse in Mount Vernon, WA, Judge Susan Cook presided over the sentencing hearing of Larry Williams, convicted of manslaughter (of adopted Ethiopian daughter Hana) and assault of a child (of adopted Ethiopian son Immanuel), and of Carri Williams, convicted of homicide by abuse (of Hana), manslaughter (of Hana), and assault of a child (Immanuel).
Larry and Carri both were in the Skagit County red prison uniforms. As would be expected, the attorneys for both defense and prosecution had various arguments and motions. Larry’s attorneys began by arguing for a new trial; the judge denied the motions. The judge vacated (dropped) Carri’s manslaughter conviction, because she was also convicted of a more serious offense, homicide by abuse, for the same conduct.
The prosecution asked for 333 months, or 27 3/4 years, of jail time for Larry Williams. The defense attorneys asked for 5 years, saying that Larry is ashamed for what he did, and that he has been punished enough.
The prosecution asked for 443 months (about 37 years) of jail time for Carri Williams. The defense recommended 333 months (about 28 years) for Carri, saying she is not a danger to the community.
Larry Williams wanted to speak on his own behalf, but the motion was denied.
As she was about to hand down the sentences, Judge Cook said, “I am at a complete loss as to why this happened.”
The judge sentenced Larry to a sentence of 333 months. That is a surprisingly long sentence. The judge signed the judgment and sentence documents in regards to Larry, who was then led away to jail.
The Judge sentenced Carri to a sentence of 443 months, the full amount requested by the prosecution. Judge Cook said Carri probably deserved more. Carri was taken away immediately in handcuffs and chains.
Carri’s attorneys plan to file an appeal. They asked for bail during the appeal to be lowered to $600,000. The judge denied the motion, and set bail at $1.5 million.
Judge Cook had presided over the trial of Larry and Carri Williams, the longest in the history of Skagit County, Washington state. I have written dozens of posts about the death of Ethiopian adoptee Hana Alemu (Williams) and the assault of Ethiopian adoptee Immanuel, both of whom were placed for adoption with the Williams’ family in 2008.
The courtroom was, not surprisingly, packed to overflowing. Gina Cole of the Skagit Valley herald reported that trial jurors were there, as well as Carri Williams’s sister, Immanuel’s foster mother, and some witnesses from the trial. Lee Stoll, a reporter with KIRO7, said that 10 of the 14 jurors were in the jury box to watch the sentencing.
Many representatives from the Ethiopian community attended the trial, and many were again present today at the sentencing. The Ethiopian Community Center in Seattle sent an email out saying that they planned to place flowers and candles on Hana’s grave in the Sedro-Woolley cemetery following the sentencing hearing. There will also be a celebration of Hana’s life at the Ethiopian Community Center in Seattle tonight, at 6pm pdt. The address is 8323 Rainier Ave South, Seattle, WA 98118. Phone: 206-325-0304.
May Hana rest in peace, never forgotten.
Note: Many thanks to Skagit Valley Herald reporter Gina Cole, KING-TV reporter Erik Wilkinson, and KIRO7 TV reporter Lee Stoll for their “real-time” Twitter feeds.