Father accused of beating, starving daughter takes witness stand

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- A Mount Vernon man who is accused of beating and starving his adopted daughter to death took the witness stand Tuesday in an emotional day in court.

Larry Williams described a closet where his child sometimes slept and how she often ate meals outside as punishment. Some in the audience cried openly as Williams described how his daughter lived at home -- a life that ended with a desperate call to 911 and his wife performing CPR to try to revive their child.

Williams said he drove to his Sedro-Woolley home as fast as he could that day in May 2011, after his wife called to say their adopted daughter Hana was unresponsive.

"(Hana) looked thin," Williams said. "I'd never seen her without her clothes on before and I was struck by the thinness."

Williams and his wife Carri are on trial for manslaughter after Hana was found dead of hypothermia at their house. Larry Williams took the stand for most of the day, describing discipline techniques the family used, including spanking and how at times Hana slept in a closet or was told to use a port-a-potty instead of a standard bathroom.

"The use of the closet needed to stop, the outside showers needed to stop. The port-a-potty needed to stop," Williams said. "It's clear it wasn't working, what we were doing."

When asked by an attorney what he felt most responsible about, he replied: "I'm the dad... my daughter died... possibly I could have done something to stop it. And I didn't."

Larry Williams also testified that Hana was caught sneaking into the kitchen to steal food and how she was told to sleep in a barn by herself without electricity as a result.

Carri Williams has not testified yet and it's unclear if she will take the stand.

Testimony continues Wednesday.