Torture victim Megan Williams in the hospital with her mother Carmen Williams following her five day ordeal. Photo: AP
LOGAN, West Virginia (FinalCall.com) - The physical scars, though healing, are still visible, but the psychological and emotional scars also remain for the victim of a race torture in the mountains of West Virginia.
When the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan read of the reported torture of this young Black woman, he sent a delegation to West Virginia to get a first hand account of Megan Williams’ ordeal. Minister Farrakhan sent Student in the Ministry Class Abdul Khadir Muhammad of the Mid-Atlantic Region, along with Attorney Abdul Arif Muhammad, Editor-In-Chief of The Final Call Newspaper, to minister unto the family on behalf of himself and the Nation of Islam.
Police say 20-year-old Megan Williams of Charleston, West Virginia was held captive in a chamber of horrors while six Caucasian perpetrators physically assaulted, raped and tortured her for five days.
Carmen Williams consoles her daughter, Megan Williams, in front of the Logan County Magistrate Court. The bald patches on Megan?s head where her hair was pulled out and cut during the ordeal are visible. Photo: Ashahed M. Muhammad?They made me take a bath in a trash can outside. They poured scalding hot water all over me and they poured candle wax on me and they told me if I screamed, they would kill me.? ?Megan Williams
“We received a tip that a subject was being held against their will at Big Creek,” said Logan County Deputy Jeffrey Robinette. “Typically this involves a welfare check to see if someone is in need or injured.”
Deputy Robinette testified during a preliminary hearing on Thursday, Oct. 4, against defendant Karen Burton, that when he arrived at the residence to investigate the “tip,” he saw Frankie Brewster another defendant and the owner of the house on the porch. When he questioned her, she stated that she was the only person in the house. It was at that time, Deputy Robinette stated during testimony that victim Megan Williams burst out of the doors with “her arms outstretched sayings ‘help me.’”
A bruised and battered Megan Williams appeared with swollen and blood-bruised eyes, lacerations around her neck and ankles, splotches in her head where her hair had been ripped out and multiple stab wounds on her left leg.
“Bobby kicked me in my stomach a few times, kicked me in my back and my face and all I remember is that they hit me with several objects, a cedar stick, a fly swatter handle, a belt, a shoe; and you know the gloves with the lead in them? They were smacking me in the face with those. Both my eyes were black and every night, they made me sleep outside,” Megan told The Final Call. “They made me take a bath in a trash can outside. They poured scalding hot water all over me and they poured candle wax on me and they told me if I screamed, they would kill me,” she added. (Click here for the exclusive One-on-One with The Final Call interview with Megan Williams.)
Deputy Robinette’s testimony under oath was consistent with Megan’s statement that had been given to police investigators about her five days of horror. At the preliminary hearing Deputy Robinette read the chilling account of the confessions of two of the male defendants detailing the heinous, barbaric and brutal hate crime carried out against victim Megan Williams.
Deputy Robinette said that in a search of the residence, a wooden handle stick with “brownish and reddish stains on the stick” was found, which corroborates anal sodomy. He also said they found a knife with “red stains and spots on it.” In addition investigators found fly swatters, rolls of duct tape, phone cords, all instruments of brutality used against Megan Williams during her captivity. Deputy Robinette testified that the house was in a state of “disarray” with garbage strewn about the premises. This was some of the physical evidence obtained at the scene supporting the claim of the many heinous acts of torture and violence Megan Williams had to endure, and was all consistent with Megan’s recollection of events and the signed written confessions of two other defendants.
The six defendants charged in the hate crimes.
According to the signed confession by one of the defendants, Bobby Brewster, Megan was forced to “eat human sh-t out of the toilet and rat turds,” and to “lick mom’s a-- crack.” According to the confession read in court, Megan vomited and then was forced to lick her own vomit off of the floor. The entire time, she was beaten and called names such as “slut, whore, b---h and n----r.” Brewster’s statement also corroborated the stories of Megan being forced to perform oral sex on Frankie Brewster, as well as Megan being “choked until purple in the face.”
Megan’s adopted mother, Carmen Williams, sobbed as the graphically detailed account of Megan’s torture were read for the court. At a certain point, she could no longer endure the testimony and left the courtroom in tears. Others were visibly shaken and uncomfortable hearing the lurid details of the events emerging from the case.
Logan County Magistrate Jeffrey Lane found sufficient probable cause to send the case against the sixth defendant, Karen Burton, to a Grand Jury for indictment in the alleged rape, torture and assault of Megan Williams. The charges against Burton and the remaining five defendants are to be presented to the Grand Jury in January 2008, according to Logan County Prosecutor Brian Abraham.
The defendants charged with involvement in these inhuman hate crimes are:
Frankie Brewster, the 49-year-old woman who owns the home where the charged assaults occurred. She is charged with sexual assault, kidnapping, malicious wounding and giving false statements to an officer. Bobby R. Brewster, Frankie Brewster’s 24-year-old son, is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony. Alisha Burton, 23, is charged with kidnapping, assault during the commission of a felony and battery. Karen Burton, 46, is charged with kidnapping, malicious wounding, battery and assault during the commission of a felony. Danny J. Combs, 20, is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault and malicious wounding. George A. Messer, 27, is charged with kidnapping, assault during the commission of a felony and battery.
During Deputy Robinette’s cross examination by defendant Karen Burton’s defense attorney Betty Gregory, Atty. Gregory seemed very uncomfortable and uncertain of exactly what to ask Deputy Robinette. It appeared that the shocking details of the torture had her as bewildered as the others listening to the testimony in the courtroom. She constantly rambled, asking unrelated questions, and repeatedly shuffled through papers even saying at one time, “I’m getting confused myself.” In a remarkable courtroom moment, the lawyer leaned over to her client ordering her to “shut-up.”
At a news conference held on the steps of the Logan County courthouse immediately following the final pretrial hearing, Megan Williams’ family members and supporters gathered to show support for the family and reiterated their desire for this case to be brought before the U.S. Department of Justice as a federal hate crime.
Members of the Nation of Islam delegation sent by The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan with the Williams Family. (L - R) Carmen Williams, Megan?s mother, Abdul Arif Muhammad, Attorney and Editor-in-Chief of The Final Call, Megan Williams, Brother Abdul Khadir Muhammad of the Mid-Atlantic Region and Matthew Williams, Megan?s father. Photo: Ashahed M. Muhammad
“It is obvious that this is one of the most sick, horrendous, sadistic and evil hate crimes that has ever occurred in American history,” said Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz, representing Black Lawyers for Justice (BLJ) as legal advisor to the Williams family. Atty. Shabazz is also Chairman of the New Black Panther Party. “It’s one thing to read about these charges, and when you read it, you almost say in your mind that this can’t be true. It’s just too horrific, too outrageous to be true. After this preliminary hearing with just one of the defendants, Karen Burton, and hearing the evidence, hearing the statements and confessions and the graphic details of the stabbings, the beatings and forced sexual activity and the word nigger being used repeatedly throughout these crimes leaves one with the inescapable conclusion that this is a hate crime of the worst magnitude.”
Atty. Shabazz, announced that his group, Black Lawyers for Justice, will be working with other civil rights groups and religious leaders for a march against hate crimes on November 3, 2007 in Charleston, West Virginia. “We also will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress. There are hate crimes occurring against Blacks across the country. This case must be brought before the U.S. Justice Department.” Atty. Shabazz also mentioned the family will be traveling with him to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Bishop James Carter of the Rehoboth Cathedral of Christ, in Charleston, West Virginia, is the spiritual advisor for the Williams family. He described the perpetrators of the alleged crimes in this case as “dangerous,” and said that he, along with many others, are thankful that Megan is still alive.
“I’d like to just thank God that Megan was found in time,” said Bishop Carter. “Though her fleshly wounds are healing, it is going to take some time for her emotional wounds to heal. I don’t think that closure will come until justice is done.”
Abdul Arif Muhammad contributed to this report.
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