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Hate crime proves monsters exist
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    They made her eat rat feces. They forced her to drink from a toilet when she was thirsty. They beat her and kicked her and kept her captive in a small shed, fearing for her life. They cut her with knives and sexually assaulted her. She was only 20.
    They strangled her with a cable cord and poured hot water over her.
    She knew at least one of her captors. She also knew why they hurt her and tortured her. They told her.
    It was because of something over which she had no control, and is not a sin nor a shame. The six white adults who cruelly and evilly abused this young woman did so because she was black.
    The victim's name is Megan Williams, and she lives in Big Creek, West Virginia. This heinous crime did not happen back in the days when segregation required blacks to use different toilets and water fountains. It happened days ago.
    For what reason? Because Megan Williams' skin is brown.
    And because her captors are evil, ignorant, hate-filled pustules on the face of humanity.
    State authorities announced they would not seek hate crime charges because other charges the suspects face will result in stiffer penalties if convicted.
    U.S. Attorney Charles T. Miller said  federal civil rights violations remain an option.
    In West Virginia, kidnapping charges have a maximum penalty of life in prison. A sexual assault charge has a sentence of up to 35 years, while a hate crime charge carries a penalty of just 10 years.
    I understand tossing hate crime charges in favor of harsher charges, but why not throw the whole book at the cretins who took a young woman and treated her as if she were not a human? This was most certainly a hate crime, but it was more.
    Someone gave an anonymous tip that ended Megan's ordeal. Thank God. Fortunately her captors must have bragged to the wrong person - a person with at least a shred of conscience, who contacted authorities.
    Bobby Brewster, 24,  is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during the commission of a felony. His mother Frankie Brewster, 49,  is charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and giving false information during a felony investigation.
    Danny J. Combs, 20, of Harts, W. Va., is charged with sexual assault and malicious wounding; Karen Burton, 46, of Chapmanville, W. Va., is charged with malicious wounding, battery and assault during the commission of a felony;  Alisha Burton, 23, and George A. Messer, 27, both also of Chapmanville, are charged with assault during the commission of a felony and battery.
    The offenders range in ages from 20 to 49, both male and female.  According to the Associated Press,  the six have a total of 108 criminal charges over the last 16 years.
    What a bunch of prize-winners.
    While investigators have not publicly stated with which of her assailants Megan "had a social relationship," an interesting fact is  that Bobby Brewster faces domestic battery and assault charges after a dispute in July involving Megan.
    He was accused in March of attacking his mother with a machete, according to court records, charged with domestic assault, brandishing a deadly weapon and obstructing an officer.
    His mother has an intriguing criminal history herself. She was charged in 1994 with first-degree murder of an 84-year-old woman, but pleaded guilty to lesser charges of manslaughter and wanton endangerment. The Associated Press reports she was released from prison in 2000.
    Megan's mother, Carmen Williams, told reporters her daughter, still hospitalized after the ordeal, would still wake up crying and making sure she was near. ‘‘She still hollers, ’Ma, what they did to me was bad.’"
    Bad doesn't begin to describe it.
    The six monsters who kept Megan captive were still in jail last week, each with a $100,000 bond.
    Instead of a cold, crowded shed, they get a bed. In lieu of rat droppings and toilet water, they will get food.
    Will they be able to sleep at night feeling safe from harm? Megan couldn't.
    Hopefully the worst of her nightmares will fade as time goes on, but then she must endure the trials, reliving the details, looking her attackers in their faces as she recalls the horrors.
    Hopefully the six creatures who tortured her will be convicted and Megan Williams will be able to overcome her ordeal.

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