The Sedro Woolley father accused of homicide by abuse of his adopted daughter took the stand in his own defense Tuesday.
Larry Williams tried to explain to the court how he disciplined Hana Williams and her brother. His attorneys seemed to be shifting the blame to Williams' wife instead.
The first question his attorney asked him was how he was feeling.
Responsible, said Williams, after a long pause. Ashamed.
The father of nine said he had a lot of regret for not intervening sooner and preventing what happened to Hana.
Possibly I could have done something to stop it. And I didn t, said Williams.
Williams remembered happier times, like the day he picked up his two adopted children at the airport when they flew in from Ethiopia.
They recognized us right away, and they re pointing and waving, we re waving, said Williams, who said Hana's brother jumped into his arms.
But he said discipline issues developed with both Hana and her younger brother.
Hana had severe hygiene issues, and her brother wet his pants intentionally, according to Williams.
Williams admitted to spanking them with a switch and a belt, but said his wife Carri came up with harsher disciplines he disagreed with.
Use of the closet needed to stop, outside showers needed to stop, porta-potty needed to stop, he told the court.
Carri Williams became emotional when her husband spoke of getting an urgent call from her, and rushing home from work in May of 2011 to find Hana dead.
Hana was naked on the floor, he said. She looked thin. I had never seen her without her clothes on before. And I was struck by that.
A police investigation concluded Hana had been beaten repeatedly, but the cause of death was hypothermia brought on by malnutrition. She died after being left in the backyard of the Williams' home in Sedro Woolley.
Williams testified Hana told him she was 16, three years older than her official age through the adoption agency. In court, his attorney showed documentation that Williams attempted to correct the error legally months before Hana died.
Joshua, the Williams' oldest biological son, testified that arguments between his mother and father increased in the months before Hana died. He said the head of household seemed to shift to his mother.
Looking back, I think the balance of the authority seemed to break down a little bit, Joshua said.