A Sedro-Woolley-area couple convicted in 2013 on charges related to the death of their adopted daughter will ask a state appellate court next week to release them from prison.
In personal restraint petitions filed in state Court of Appeals District 1, Carri Williams, 48, and her husband Larry Williams, 55, say their convictions came after errors by their lawyers and now-retired Skagit County Superior Court Judge Susan Cook.
Personal restraint petitions are not typical appeals but are instead civil matters stating that a person is being held unconstitutionally, said Skagit County senior deputy civil prosecutor Erik Pederson, who will argue against the petitions at a Wednesday hearing in Seattle.
The Williamses request their cases be remanded to Skagit County Superior Court for new trials and that in the meantime they be released.
The Williamses were convicted of first-degree manslaughter in the death of Hana Williams.
They were also convicted of first-degree assault of a child for abusing Hana’s younger brother.
Carri Williams was also convicted of homicide by abuse for the death of the Hana, a teenager, who collapsed in her family’s backyard after being outside for hours. An autopsy showed she died of hypothermia hastened by malnutrition.
Both children were adopted from Ethiopia.
Larry Williams was sentenced to 27 years and nine months — a sentence well above the standard sentencing range — and is now at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell.
Carri Williams was sentenced to just shy of 37 years — the top of the sentencing range — and is serving her sentence at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor.
Among other things, the Williamses argue prosecutors used a broad definition of “torture,” that their First Amendment rights were violated after prosecutors commented on a book about child discipline that was found in their home, and that they received “deficient legal representation.”
Carri Williams argues her convictions for the homicide by abuse charge and the first-degree manslaughter charge should be vacated, and instead she should be re-sentenced on the lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter or retried on the lesser charge.
Larry Williams argues his convictions be vacated and that his case be sent back to Skagit County.
It is not the first time the Williamses have asked the appellate court to remand their cases back to Skagit County. In December 2015, the same court denied appeals from both Williamses.
The Williamses most recent petition was filed Sept. 26, 2017, documents show.