MOUNT VERNON – Prosecutors filed additional charges Wednesday against Larry and Carri Williams, the Skagit County couple accused of killing their adopted teen daughter Hana Williams last year.
A charge of first-degree manslaughter by domestic violence was added to each of their existing charges.
The couple already are charged with homicide by abuse for Hana Williams’ death and first-degree child assault for their treatment of their adopted son.
The charging documents also allege aggravating factors in the manslaughter that the “offense was part of an ongoing pattern of psychological, physical, or sexual abuse of a victim or multiple victims manifested by multiple incidents over a prolonged period of time.”
The accusation details that the offense occurred within sight or sound of minor children under 18 – in this case the Williams’ other biological children – and that the offense resulted in “deliberate cruelty or intimidation” of the victim.
Hana was found unconscious in her parents’ backyard outside Sedro-Woolley, Wash., on a rainy night in May.
She was later determined to have died of hypothermia brought on by malnutrition.
Investigative records allege systematic abuse inflicted on Hana and her brother that included starvation, assault and extended periods of time left outside or in small spaces.
Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich declined to comment on what prompted the new charge.
He said it wouldn’t add time to the Williams’ sentence if convicted, but “it gives us more options.”
Court records in the case show that the defense could contest the homicide by abuse charge at trial, which only applies when victims are younger than 16.
Because Hana was adopted from Ethiopia, her exact age isn’t known. She was believed to be about 13 at the time of her death.
A couple of weeks ago, prosecutors moved to have Hana’s body exhumed so that investigators could determine her age. A hearing to decide that matter is expected to take place by mid-December.
Larry and Carri Williams are scheduled to be arraigned on the new manslaughter charges Nov. 28 in Skagit County Superior Court.
Larry Williams is in jail on $500,000 bail while Carri Williams lives at home. Their children under age 18 are in foster care.
Their trial is set to begin Feb. 4.