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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.
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.
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.
Hate crimes --occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership in a certain social group, usually defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation.
How is this not defined as a hate crime? If this type of behavior is being ignored in 2007, Imagine what can happen in the future if this is not handled properly now.
According to prosecutors, a 20 year old mentally ill, African-American woman, by the name of Megan Williams, was allegedly kidnapped and held captive in a trailer in Logan County, West Virginia for over a week. There the police discovered Megan Williams with black eyes, stab wounds and missing hair.
Williams' told the police her captors forced her to consume dog and rat feces, drink her own urine as well as drink from a toilet. Criminal complaints also state that her captors told her she was being tormented for being black and called her "nigger" while assaulting her.
Her alleged captors are all white. They have been named as 49-year-old Frankie Brewster, her son, Bobby R. Brewster, 24, Karen Burton, 46, her daughter Alisha Burton, 23, George A. Messer, 27 and 20-year-old Danny J. Combs.
The FBI has been consulted as to whether or not to handle this as a hate crime.
Logan County prosecutors say they have not ruled out hate-crimes charges but are focusing on the counts already filed, including some such as kidnapping and sexual assault that have tougher maximum sentences. Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, STILL have not sought civil-rights charges.
DID YOU KNOW?
The victim was charged by authorities in 3 local West Virginia counties on 11 misdemeanor counts of writing worthless checks, 1 misdemeanor of obtaining property under false pretenses, and 1felony count of failure to appear in Circuit Court? She was released on $8,000 bond afterwards.
DO THEY KNOW?
Shes mentally disabled & can't be held accountable for writing false checks to a Dominos Pizza (& other various places)?
HEADLINES READ: CHARGES ADDED IN TORTURE RAPE; VICTIM FACE BAD CHECK COUNTS
AS IF SHE HASN'T FACED ENOUGH, THEY WANT TO BRAND HER AS A CRIMINAL?? WHY WAS THIS SO IMPORTANT TO CHARGE HER RIGHT AFTER HER ORDEAL??
It is 2007 and race relations in this country are still being treated as if it were like its 1807!
UPDATE as of OCTOBER 4, 2007:
U.S. Attorney Charles T. Miller has said he WILL NOT FILE civil rights charges. Logan County Prosecutor Brian Abraham has said state hate crime charges could be DIFFICULT TO PROVE because Williams had a “social relationship” with Brewster going back at least several months.