From staff reports
The parents of a black woman raped and tortured by white men and women in Logan County last September are criticizing Logan County Prosecutor Brian Abraham.
Matthew and Carmen Williams held a news conference Wednesday in Charleston to voice their frustration at the plea deals in the crimes against their 20 year-old daughter, Megan Williams.
Four of the defendants have reached plea deals in the case. Alisha Burton and George Messer pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and one count of assault during the commission of a felony. Then, the prosecutor reached deals with Karen Burton and Frankie Brewster. Brewster owned the trailer where Megan Williams was held hostage, stabbed and sexually assaulted. Karen Burton is the only person charged with a hate crime in the case.
Carman Williams says it’s these two more recent plea deals that upset her family.
Carmen Williams: We were okay with the first two deals that he made. We understood that, and we were okay with that. But then, he start getting up to plea bargain with Karen Burton and Frankie Brewster. That was unacceptable as far as I’m concerned. I never, I just thought they should have all gotten, to be honest, life for what they done to my child.
Matthew Williams grew emotional as he talked about the plea deals. He said Prosecutor Abraham betrayed his family’s trust.
Matthew Williams: To me, what’s going on here is a slap in Megan’s face. Not mine, but Megan’s face. They promised her one thing and then destroyed it. I thougth me and Mr. Abraham was on the same page, and I’d like to think we’re on the same page, but it’s difficult for me to go along with this man.
Frankie Brewster has pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault in exchange for the charges of kidnapping and assault during the commission of a felony being dropped. She faces 10 to 25 years in prison. Burton pleaded guilty to a hate crime and faces up to 30 years on that and other charges.
The family urged the public to attend the sentencing hearings for Karen Burton and Frankie Brewster on March 3 and March 12 in Logan County.
But Prosecutor Brian Abraham said Wednesday was the first he heard that the Williams family has a problem with the plea bargains. He says he’s kept them informed of his plans throughout the case.
Abraham: The Williams family has never called me to express any concern, and I have talked with them probably on a weekly basis. During any of our conversations they never challenged what I was doing or questioned me. They’ve never since done that. I hear that there were several individuals from various groups in attendance at this conference. Again, I don’t know what generated the news conference today, whether it was just an attempt at publicity. I don’t know.
Abraham was referring to the Washington, D.C., group Black Lawyers for Justice. He says comments made by representatives of that group have a negative effect on potential jury pools.