W.Va. Woman Recants Kidnap, Torture Story

Prosecutor stands by '07 convictions, didn't rely on her testimony
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2009 5:40 AM CDT
In a Monday, Oct. 22, 2007 file photo, Megan Williams, 20, of Charleston, W.Va., stands outside of her home.    (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, File)
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(Newser) – A black woman who accused seven white people of beating and raping her while keeping her captive in a West Virginia trailer in 2007 has recanted her story, according to her lawyer. Six of the seven are currently serving prison time after confessing and accepting plea bargains. Megan Williams, whose case sparked a national hate-crimes controversy, made up the accusations as revenge on one of the accused, her then-boyfriend, and now wants to stop "living this lie," her lawyer says.

The prosecutor who handled the cases is skeptical about Williams' recantation and accuses her of seeking publicity. Authorities decided early on that she wasn't reliable, he says, and pursued the case using physical evidence and statements from the accused. The Rev. Al Sharpton said Williams has "psychological issues" and called for the case to be handled delicately. "This isn't cut and dried either way," he told the AP. "Right is right, but I have no idea if tomorrow her story will change back."