On Second Thought: W. Va. Woman Recants in Torture Case

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Illustration for article titled On Second Thought: W. Va. Woman Recants in Torture Case

Megan Williams, who in 2007 alleged she was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and tortured in a West Virginia trailer park has reversed her story. From Yahoo News

West Virginia authorities said in 2007 that Megan Williams, now of Columbus, Ohio, had been stabbed, beaten with sticks, sexually assaulted, doused with hot water, forced to eat animal feces and taunted with racial slurs. She later said that hot wax was poured on her and that two of her captors had forced to drink their urine.

An unsigned statement released Wednesday by the office of her Columbus lawyer, Byron L. Potts, said simply, "Megan Williams is now recanting her story." Williams was scheduled to attend a news conference Wednesday in Columbus along with Potts.

Brian Abraham, the former Logan County prosecutor who pursued the cases, expressed skepticism that the story was a lie.

"If she's going to say that she made it all up, that's absurd," Brian Abraham told The Associated Press Wednesday. "This looks like another attempt to generate more publicity."

Abraham said police and prosecutors realized early in the case that they couldn't rely on statements from Williams, who tended to embellish and exaggerate details.

Instead, he said, the seven people charged with a variety of crimes were convicted based on their own statements and physical evidence.

All seven pleaded guilty, and all but one were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Those convicted were Danny Combs; Bobby Brewster; Brewster's mother, Frankie Brewster; George Messer; Karen Burton; Burton's daughter, Alisha Burton; and Karen Burton's son, Linnie Burton Jr. Linnie Burton Jr. was the only defendant not to serve jail time; he was convicted of a misdemeanor battery charge and given a six-month suspended sentence.

The assaults occurred at a trailer owned by Frankie Brewster in a rural area of Logan County, about 50 miles from Charleston.

Calls to lawyers for the seven were either not immediately returned Wednesday or were met with refusals to comment. Abraham said none of the seven have appealed.

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Now the people who defended Williams are walking on egg shells and aren't quick to say a whole lot other than, "let's not rush to judgment," which is the typical response in cases like these. The truly peculiar thing seems to be that Williams is saying she lied about the whole thing, but nobody's appealing.

Circuses like these keep people who really are victims from getting justice. Is that to say Williams wasn't violated? No, but shadows of doubt in situations like these are extremely dangerous; it gives those who investigate and prosecute crimes more cause to pause, replacing prudence with hesitance. Now, her own mother has described her as "slow" and while that may explain some things, can it be upheld as an excuse in a matter this serious?

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