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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Torture and discrimination case echoes across country

Photo courtesy of AP
Photo courtesy of AP

Megan Williams, a 20-year-old African American woman was found tortured both physically and psychologically last month. She was held captive for days while by her six white kidnappers hurt and humiliated her.

Erica Singletary, coordinator for UMass Boston’s Black Student Center, emphasized how important it is that people know get informed about this case.

“Racial things like this are still happening, and so many people don’t know about it,” Singletary said. “If the stories are not publicized, if they are allowed to still happen, we have stopped moving forward and are only taking steps back.”

The Charlestown, W.Va. resident was locked in a small shed next to the mobile home of Frankie Brewster in Big Creek, W.Va., about 50 miles from her hometown. Her new cramped quarters included a locker, a portable stereo and a power saw.

Williams was forced to consume dog and rat feces, as well as drink from a toilet bowl. The victim was also stabbed, doused in scalding water and was discovered with half of her hair pulled out.

The Logan County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene Sept. 8, after receiving an anonymous tip.

Williams told the authorities that her captors sliced the back of her ankle, while calling her the N-word and informing her that all of this was being done to her because of her skin color.

Williams was reportedly also choked with a cable cord and sexually assaulted.

The six suspects are not completely unfamiliar with the W.Va. criminal justice system. Combined, they have 108 previous charges on similar cases, and the Attorney General is familiar with all six.

Though Williams declared that the six informed her they did not like black people and that they were planning on hanging her, hate crimes are often difficult to indict, therefore prosecutors are looking into more heinous crimes.

At a court hearing for the suspects on Sept. 19, the list of torments Williams was subjected to expanded during her testimony. She informed the court that they had poured hot wax over her body and forced her to drink a cup of their urine.

After all evidence was presented, charges were advanced on all six suspects. They are now being tried with kidnapping, with a maximum sentence of life in jail. Four of the defendants were looking at less serious charges before the hearing.

Karen Burton, Alisha Burton and George A. Messer are all being indicted with kidnapping and sexual assault charges, along with additional counts of battery.

Danny J. Combs is looking at a kidnapping charge that will place him in jail for the rest of his life, though prosecutors added two additional counts of sexual assault, each holding a maximum of 35 years behind bars.

Frankie Brewster is being charged with three counts of misdemeanor battery, kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault, and giving the police false information.

Bobby Brewster, son of Frankie, is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony.

Information from ABC News and The Associated Press was used in this report.