Thursday, October 22, 2009

Did Megan Williams Lie About Racist Attack in West Virginia?

US woman 'lied about race attack'

A woman in the US who said she was kidnapped, raped and tortured in a racially-motivated attack in 2007, has now said she fabricated her story.

Seven people pleaded guilty to the attack on Megan Williams, now aged 22. Six are serving prison sentences.

But Ms Williams' lawyer now says she invented the story to get revenge on her boyfriend for hitting her.

Prosecutors have questioned the move, saying the alleged culprits were found guilty on the basis of evidence.

In September 2007, police following an anonymous call found Ms Williams, who is black, in a backwoods caravan in Big Creek, Logan County, in the state of West Virginia.

She told police officers she had been held there for days, beaten, stabbed, sexually assaulted and burned. She said she had been forced to eat rat droppings and drink from a toilet, and that her attackers had used racist insults.

At a press conference on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, where Ms Williams now lives, her lawyer Byron Potts said she was "recanting her entire story".

"She says it did not happen. She fabricated it," he told reporters.

"She wanted to get back at a boyfriend. He was mad at her."

He said the bruises on Ms Williams' face were indeed made when she was hit by her then-boyfriend, Bobby Brewster, but all the other injuries were self-inflicted, including razor cuts.

Brewster, was among the seven people, all of whom were white, who pleaded guilty to charges including kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and giving false information to police.

He received a lengthy jail term - as did his mother, Frankie Brewster, two other men and another mother and daughter pair.

A seventh man received a suspended sentence.

Recant 'absurd'

Ms Williams did not appear at the press conference herself, but Mr Potts said she had told him she wanted to "right the wrong that was perpetrated on these six individuals".

"She just wants to turn her life around. She's trying to, she can't continue to live this lie," he said.

Mr Potts said his client had received threatening phone calls in recent days and was "scared".

But Brian Abraham, the prosecutor on the original case, said Ms William's recanting was "absurd".

He told reporters that investigators had decided early on Ms Williams could not be relied on to give an accurate testimony, but that the convictions were based on "pretty overwhelming" physical evidence.

"All of them have been in jail without filing appeals," CNN quoted him as saying.

The case was greeted with outrage when it emerged in 2007, and civil rights campaigner Rev Al Sharpton, who supported Ms Williams' cause at the time, said investigators should closely re-examine the details.

"If the prosecution depended on something Ms Williams said that she is now saying is false, the prosecutor needs to reopen that case," the New York Times quoted him as saying.

In an interview for Cleveland newspaper the Call and Post in January, Ms Williams suggested she had been persuaded by her mother, who died in June, to exaggerate her story.

Officials have not said what their next step will be and whether they will file charges against Ms Williams if her story is found to be false.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/10/22 14:28:51 GMT

1 comment:

David said...

I see that the authorities don't want Megan Williams to tell the truth, so they are pressuring her with the threat of prosecution for perjury if she is successful in convincing a court that her earlier testimony was false.

The state does not like to admit error, especially when such an admission would result in civil or criminal liability to its agents.

Further, the notion that a black woman's false testimony about rape and abuse by allegedly racist whites was given excessive credibility by a court of law is political anathema. Once you've been portrayed as a racist white person, there is, from a political viewpoint, no such thing as your innocence. That's why George Zimmerman is being tried for 2nd degree murder in Florida. And, in a sense, it is also why Matt Hale and Edgar Steele, neither of whom did what they were convicted of doing, were sent to prison.

I believe that Megan Williams' recantation is truthful. I think that the only real abuse she suffered at the Brewsters' home was when her boyfriend, Bobby Brewster, hit her on the face. The bruise that the punch left was used by the prosecutor to lend credibility to Williams' disgusting embellishments.

Most likely, the only reason for Williams' recantation was Williams' guilty conscience. And, probably, the reason for her embellished original story was her desire to get revenge on Bobby Brewster for having hit her on the face.

The state's own minions are displeased by the prospect of perhaps having to admit error, having to admit to the failure of their judicial processes to uncover the truth, having to admit committing injustice and abuses under color of law. So the state will lie even after their only principal witness in the case has, herself, confessed to having lied.