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In brief: Couple convicted in daughter’s death

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – A Washington couple were convicted of manslaughter Monday in the malnutrition-and-hypothermia death of a teenage girl they adopted from Ethiopia.

A jury found Larry Williams, of Sedro-Woolley, guilty of first-degree manslaughter, while his wife, Carri Williams, was found guilty of homicide by abuse as well as manslaughter. The jury also convicted them both of assault.

The jury couldn’t reach a decision on the homicide by abuse charge for Larry Williams, and the judge declared a mistrial on that count.

Larry and Carri Williams face a maximum life sentence, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.

Hana Williams died in the backyard of the family’s home in May 2011. Prosecutors said she was starved, beaten and forced outside as punishment.

Defense lawyers argued that questionable parenting practices don’t necessarily amount to a crime.

Hana is believed to have been 13, but no documentation of her birth in Ethiopia was available. Hana Williams was adopted in 2008.

Companies seek review on wage ruling

SEATTLE – Alaska Airlines, the Washington Restaurant Association and several other parties are asking the Washington state Supreme Court for an emergency review of an appeals court ruling that would allow voters in SeaTac to decide whether the city should increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The companies filed their motion Monday. A panel of the state Appeals Court last Friday reversed a Superior Court judge’s recent ruling that disqualified 61 signatures of registered voters who signed more than one initiative petition on the issue.

The companies are asking the Supreme Court to hear the matter by Thursday because ballots will be printed and mailed to voters this week, the Seattle Times reported.

Prescribed burns to begin in Idaho forests

Officials with the Panhandle National Forests say more than 4,800 acres will be set alight in prescribed burn projects starting soon.

Forest Public Affairs Officer Jason Kirchner told the Coeur d’Alene Press that hunters and campers should check the forest’s website before heading into the forest in the five northernmost counties of Idaho.

The Forest Service uses prescribed burns to reduce dead and downed trees and to selectively thin understory trees in dense forested stands. The agency says fire can stimulate fire-resistant plant species, enhance foraging for animals and reduce the risk of large uncontrolled fires.

Once burn dates or date ranges are set, the information will be posted on the U.S. Forest Service website as well as on signs along access roads, near trailheads and trail junctions.

Yellowstone shooting victim identified

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. – Yellowstone National Park officials on Monday identified a 3-year-old girl who died from a gunshot wound in the park as Ella Marie Tucker, of Pocatello, Idaho.

Park officials said the shooting remained under investigation. They did not release the girl’s parents’ names or further details of what happened, including how they believe the girl got the gun.

Park officials say Ella’s mother called for help on Saturday to report her daughter had shot herself with a handgun. Park rangers who responded to Grant Village Campground on the western shore of Yellowstone Lake were unable to resuscitate her.

Barge set adrift on Columbia River

PORTLAND – Coast Guard officials say it appears that someone intentionally set a loaded grain barge adrift on the Columbia River.

The barge was to be unloaded at a terminal that has locked out longshoremen, the Oregonian reported.

The crew of a passing tug came upon the unlighted, 252-foot-long barge floating between Portland and Vancouver, Wash., and towed it back to the staging area where it had been moored.

Tidewater Barge Lines workers reported the barge missing late Friday night. According to a Coast Guard statement, a worker said rachets used to hold the barge in place appeared to have been intentionally loosened.

Coast Guard Capt. Bruce Jones said the loose barge could have endangered people or caused a collision.

Longshore union spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said the union had nothing to do with it. A Tidewater spokeswoman did not return calls for comment Monday.


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