9/19/2014

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Adoptive mother to jury: 'I never treated my daughter like a dog'

Adoptive mother to jury: 'I never treated my daughter like a dog'
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- The Skagit County woman charged in connection with her adopted daughter's death gave emotional testimony on Friday, vehemently denying she starved young Hana Williams.

On the final day of testimony, Carri Williams was very defiant and very emotional. She admitted to the jury that Hana had lost weight prior to her death and said she believes the girl "unintentionally killed herself."

Larry and Carri Williams are on trial for homicide by abuse after Hana was found dead of hypothermia at their house. Although Hana died of hypothermia, there were other contributing causes to her death, including severe malnutrition and chronic gastritis, doctors said.

"I never treated my daughter like a dog," Carri Williams said.

Williams became emotional during cross examination as she described the day Hana died.

"Just the fact that she was outside worried me," she said. "That was part of my worry, yes."

She said Hana rejected her help to come inside, and she later found the teen's body face down in the backyard.

"We lifted her up and her head flopped back," she said.

Investigators say Hana died of hypothermia and malnourishment. Prosecutors showed the jury a photo of Hana when she arrived at the Williams' house in 2008, then another from three years later that showed significant weight loss.

"My daughter was not thin to me, she was normal," Williams said. "She didn't lose a substantial (amount of weight), she gradually lost weight over a year."

Prosecutors say Hana was given frozen vegetables and wet sandwiches or not fed at all. They also say she was forced to sleep in a barn or shower room as punishment for stealing junk food.

"She was stealing food even when she was gaining weight, she was stealing food. I didn't starve her in any shape or form," Williams said."

The jury will return on Wednesday after the holiday weekend, at which point they'll hear closing arguments and get instructions for deciding the case.
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