MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- A Sedro Wooley couple accused of torturing and starving their adopted 13-year-old daughter to death pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.
A judge set bail at $150,000 each for both Carri and Larry Williams. Investigators believe the couple repeatedly starved and beat Hana Williams, a girl they adopted from Ethiopia, and charged both with asasult of a child and homicide by abuse. A pretrial hearing has been set for November 3.
Larry Williams, 47, has been a Boeing employee for 26 years. Eight of the couple's other children have been placed into foster care.
Hana was found dead in her backyard on May 12, naked and wrapped in a sheet. She had been living with her adoptive parents since coming to America from Ethiopia in 2008.
After months of investigation, her adopted parents were charged in connection with her death.
Skagit County Prosecutor Richard Weyrich said Hana Williams's death ranks right up there for one of the worst cases he's ever prosecuted.
In the charging documents, Carri Williams talked about how much she disliked her two adopted Ethiopian children, a 10-year-old boy and Hana.
She died of hypothermia and you know part of that is having lost so much weight over the past year, months...she had lost 30 pounds, Weyrich said.
According to charging documents, Carri and Larry Williams starved Hana for days, put her in a locked closet, shower room and forced her to sleep outside in the barn in the cold. She wasn't allowed to use the bathroom in the house, instead, she used a porta-potty behind the barn. In addition, Hana was struck daily with a plumbing tool, a tube with a round ball on the end.
Members of Seattle's Ethiopian community want justice.
She's a child whose life was trusted in their hands, said Azeb Aberra, Ethiopian Community Mutual Association. And they broke that trust and so it's heartbreaking to hear this.
If convicted the couple could face up to 30 years in prison. If released, neither can visit the children or be within 1,000 feet of a school.
An 18-year-old son who was living in the house was in court Thursday. He and another family member refused to comment.
KING 5's Jake Whittenberg contributed to this report.