Additional charges filed in Logan torture case

Megan Williams, center, accompanied by her mother, Carmen Williams, left, is arraigned at the Kanawha County Magistrate Court in Charleston, W.Va., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007 on at least seven charges, mostly for allegedly obtaining under false pretenses and writing bad checks, according to court records. Megan Williams is the woman at the center of international media attention after her torturous ordeal in a Logan County earlier this month.

Amended charges were filed Tuesday against five of the six defendants in a black woman’s torture, the graphic details of which were described for the first time in court.

Carmen Williams, the mother of the victim, left a preliminary hearing for one defendant in tears after listening to what her daughter allegedly experienced at the hands of six white captors.

Danny J. Combs, 20, of Harts, is now facing a kidnapping charge that carries life in prison, if convicted. He originally was charged with sexual assault and malicious wounding. Prosecutors added two more sexual assault charges.

Kidnapping and sexual assault charges, along with additional counts of battery, were filed against Karen Burton, 46, her daughter, Alisha; and George A. Messer, 27, all of Chapmanville.

Karen Burton had been charged earlier with malicious wounding, battery and assault during the commission of a felony. Alisha Burton, 23, and Messer were charged earlier with assault during the commission of a felony and battery.

Three counts of misdemeanor battery were added to the charges against Frankie Brewster. She also faces kidnapping, sexual assault and giving false information to police. An unlawful malicious wounding charge was dropped.

Logan County Magistrate Jeffrey Lane referred the case against Brewster to a grand jury for action. Preliminary hearings for the other defendants have not been scheduled.

Brewster, 49, of Big Creek is accused of forcing Megan Williams to perform oral sex on her and holding the 20-year-old Charleston woman captive for at least four days inside a shed next to Brewster’s mobile home in the Big Creek section of Logan County.

Karen Burton, who was arraigned by video teleconference from jail, said, “Oh, hell no,” when informed of the sexual assault charge against her. The other defendants said only “yes sir” and “no sir” during their arraignments.

Details of Williams’ ordeal emerged Tuesday during Brewster’s hearing.

The Associated Press generally does not identify suspected victims of sexual assault, but Williams and her mother agreed to release her name. Carmen Williams said she wanted people to know what her daughter had endured.

Deputies found Williams on Sept. 8 after acting on an anonymous tip that a woman was being held against her will at Brewster’s home.

Reading from a statement Williams gave deputies that day, Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Robinette said Williams was stabbed with what she described as a butcher knife and beaten with wooden sticks and fly swatters.

According to Williams’ statement, she was allegedly raped at knifepoint by Danny Combs in the trailer’s bathroom, tied with a cable cord and choked by Karen Burton, doused with hot wax by George Messer, and stabbed by Bobby Brewster.

Williams’ statement also said the defendants told her they didn’t like black people and they were going to hang her.

Two of her captors forced her to drink a cup of their urine, Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Goodman testified.

“They told me if I tried to get out they was going to hit me and stuff. I was scared of them,” Robinette read from Williams’ statement.

Deputies are still trying to determine how long Williams was held.

In a statement to deputies, Brewster detailed her role and implicated others, saying “I just want to come clean.”

Goodman testified that Brewster told deputies that the six were afraid to let Williams go because she might tell on them. They also talked about killing her.

A hearing for Brewster’s son, Bobby Brewster, 24, was held Monday in Logan County Circuit Court. He is charged kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony. Police have said he had a previous relationship with Williams.

Meanwhile, Williams appeared in Kanawha County Magistrate Court in Charleston on Tuesday afternoon to answer outstanding warrants from Summers, Raleigh and Greenbrier counties charging her with crimes involving worthless checks. Williams was released on $8,000 bond.

Williams, who clutched a small teddy bear in court, was wearing a brace on her right hand and a bandage on her left ankle. She was accompanied by her parents and her mother held her through portions of the court proceeding. Williams’ mother also accompanied her during a brief period in a holding cell.

Hearings on the charges will be held in each county. Williams’ father, Matthew, told Magistrate Ward Harshbarger, “She’ll be there.”

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