MOUNT VERNON — Jurors in the trial of Larry and Carri Williams listened this morning to a recording of Carri Williams talking to a Skagit County Sheriff’s detective hours after her adopted daughter collapsed in the family’s backyard and succumbed to hypothermia and malnutrition.
In the interview, Carri Williams tells Detective Ben Hagglund she thought Hana Williams was just being rebellious and refusing to come inside out of the rain.
“I thought she was just pretending that she couldn’t walk because she’s done that before,” Carri Williams tells Hagglund on the recording. “… I just kind of ignored it.”
The Williamses are charged with homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter in Hana’s May 2011 death, and with first-degree assault of a child in connection with alleged abuse of their adopted son. They have each pleaded not guilty.
Larry Williams was still at work when Hana collapsed, so Hagglund interviewed Carri Williams only. She was cooperative and answered all the detective’s questions, he testified this morning.
Also this morning, one of Larry Williams’ attorneys, Rachel Forde, subpoenaed prosecutor Rich Weyrich as a witness in the case.
Prosecutors flew a man believed to be Hana’s biological cousin from Ethiopia to testify that she would have been younger than 16 when she died — a requirement for the homicide-by-abuse charge to stick. But when that man, Tenssay Kassaye Woldetsadeik, was scheduled to leave the United States, he missed his flight.
Weyrich and a Mount Vernon Police officer took items from Woldetsadeik’s hotel room while investigating the man’s disappearance, and Weyrich had them at home for three days before turning them over to police, Forde asserted.
The situation casts doubt on the man’s reason for testifying, she said.
Forde told Judge Susan Cook she intends to call Weyrich to the stand because she suspects he had an opportunity to tamper with evidence in the investigation of Woldetsadeik’s disappearance. Witnesses are not generally allowed in the courtroom before they are finished testifying.
“If he’s a witness in this case, I’m not sure he can participate as an attorney,” Cook said.
Ultimately, Weyrich was allowed to stay so the trial could proceed. He has agreed to a recorded interview with a defense investigator.