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09-12-07, 10:01 PM #1
No hate crime charges in torture case
By SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER,
Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 23 minutes ago
Authorities decided Wednesday not to pursue hate crime charges in the kidnapping and weeklong torture of a black woman, instead going after the suspects, who are white, on state charges that carry stiffer penalties.
While federal civil rights or state hate crime charges remain an option, a state kidnapping count that carries a sentence of up to life in prison will provide the best chance for successful prosecution, officials said.
"As a practical matter, sentenced to life, what else can be done?" U.S. Attorney Charles T. Miller told The Associated Press.
Six people face charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault and lying to police in the torture of Megan Williams, 20, at a remote hillside home in Big Creek.
State hate crime charges, which carry a sentence of 10 years, could come later, prosecutor Brian Abraham said. State sexual assault charges carry a penalty up to 35 years in prison.
The woman's captors forced her to eat rat droppings, choked her with a cable cord and stabbed her in the leg while calling her a racial slur, according to criminal complaints. They also poured hot water over her, made her drink from a toilet, and beat and sexually assaulted her during a span of about a week, the documents say.
Williams was not a random target, prosecutor Brian Abraham said Wednesday. She had a "social relationship" with one of the suspects, he said.
The Associated Press generally does not identify suspected victims of sexual assault, but Williams and her mother, Carmen Williams, agreed to release her name. Carmen Williams said she wanted people to know what her daughter had endured.
At one point, a suspect cut the woman's ankle with a knife and used the N-word in telling her she was victimized because she is black, according to the complaints.
It wasn't until an anonymous tip led Logan County sheriff's deputies to the property on Saturday that her ordeal ended, authorities said. She limped toward the deputies, her arms outstretched as she cried, "Help me," officials said.
Williams remained hospitalized Wednesday in Charleston. The hospital declined to release any information about her condition.
The victim had a previous relationship with Bobby Brewster, one of the six in custody, Abraham said. He was charged in July with domestic battery and assault after a domestic dispute involving the same woman.
"She obviously had some sort of social relationship," Abraham said. "That is based on the fact that she was present at his residence on a prior date."
The suspects have arrest records going back several years, according to records from Logan County Magistrate Court, and Abraham said was he familiar with all of them.
"Most of the charges are minor things," Abraham said. "Basically on weekends they get in trouble and by the middle of the week they make up with each other."
Since 1991, police have filed 108 criminal charges against the six.
Brewster's mother, Frankie Brewster, 49, faced the most serious charges among them. She was charged in 1994 with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter and wanton endangerment. She was released from prison in 2000 after serving five years in the death of an 84-year-old woman, court records show.
In Williams' case, Frankie Brewster is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and giving false information during a felony investigation.
Bobby Brewster, 24, also of Big Creek, is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony.
In March, Brewster was accused in criminal complaints of attacking his mother with a machete at her home, according to court records. The outcome of those charges — domestic assault, brandishing a deadly weapon and obstructing an officer — was not immediately clear.
Danny J. Combs, 20, of Harts, is charged with sexual assault and malicious wounding. Karen Burton, 46, of Chapmanville, was charged with malicious wounding, battery and assault during the commission of a felony.
Burton's daughter, Alisha Burton, 23, and George A. Messer, 27, both of Chapmanville, are charged with assault during the commission of a felony and battery. She previously faced charges of assault during the commission of a felony and battery; in May, she was accused of striking Messer with a shovel and smashing the window of a woman's car. The charges are pending.
All six remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of $100,000 cash bail each. Bobby Brewster is scheduled to appear before a Logan County Circuit Court judge on Monday to be arraigned on the kidnapping charge, according to court records. A date for his mother's appearance on the kidnapping charge has not yet been set.
Public defender Dwyane Adkins, appointed to represent Bobby Brewster, and public defender Betty Gregory, appointed to represent Karen Burton, declined to comment. The other defendants' court-appointed lawyers were either in hearings or did not immediately return telephone calls Wednesday.
Neighbors of Megan Williams in Charleston recalled her as sweet-natured but said her family members kept largely to themselves.
"They were isolated, in a way," said the Rev. Norman Jones of the Greater Emmanuel Gospel Tabernacle, which Carmen Williams attended. "Carmen was very protective of Megan, so it was hard to know her well."
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
A smile cost nothing, but gives so much.
It enriches those who receive it,without making poorer those who give.It takes but a moment, but the memoryof it sometimes lasts forever.
None is so rich or mighty that hecan get along without it,and none is so poor but thathe can be made rich by it.
A smile creates happiness in the home,fosters goodwill in business,and is the countersign of friendship.
It brings rest to the weary,cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad,and it is nature's best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed,or stolen, for it is something that is of novalue to anyone until it is given away.
Some people are too tired to give you a smile.Give them one of yours, as none needs a smileso much as he who has no more to give.
- author unknown
09-12-07, 11:29 PM #2
Wow. Electric bleachers, first row.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
09-13-07, 03:00 AM #3
One of the most disgusting things I've read in awhile. May justice involve embalming fluid.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
09-13-07, 04:30 AM #4
I got sick just hearing about it...Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, but maybe we can help it along.
09-13-07, 12:27 PM #5PeterJasonMN Guest
The DA in TN presiding over the Newsome murders was probably calling and BEGGING them not to file hate crime charges, since then he'd have to explain why he chose not to.
09-13-07, 12:39 PM #6
gee since 1991 they have escalated in violence?
that woman is a survivor.. wowhttp://www.allpoetry.com/Grunts%20Girl
We dallied under
Vine maples and sapling alders
Searched for lady slippers
Found blackberry riots and
An old skid road
Brought ghost ferns and
Hollows filled with
While waves wrapped
Intricate lacings of weeds
'Round mule spinners
His cyanotic eyes
Were hard enough to make
The sun turn tail and
Tender enough to attract me
To his world of illusion
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