The young, Black West Virginia woman who shocked the nation two years ago with allegations that she had been kidnapped, raped, tortured and forced to eat animal feces by a gang of Whites now says she fabricated the story to get back at a boyfriend.
Megan Williams said in 2007 that seven White people had committed the heinous acts over several days, drawing sympathy from Black leaders and human-rights advocates from across the country. She told authorities at the time that her captors, who included her ex-boyfriend, Bobby Brewster, beat her, stabbed her, raped her, forced her to drink urine and eat feces, poured hot wax on her and taunted her with racial slurs. They even allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on Brewster’s mother.
An anonymous caller summoned police to a trailer owned by Brewster's mother in a rural stretch of Logan County, about 50 miles from Charleston, W. Va. When officers answered the door, a bleeding, disheveled Williams stumbled from a back room and gasped, “Help me.”
Eventually, the suspects all confessed to their actions and pleaded guilty. All but one were sent to prison, where they are serving lengthy prison terms.
But Williams’ attorney, Byron L. Potts, now says that his client fabricated the story because she wanted to get revenge against Bobby Brewster, who had beaten her. She no longer wants to live a lie, he told The Associated Press Wednesday.
Potts notes, however, that Williams has received several anonymous phone calls from people threatening her life. "She is recanting the entire incident,” Potts said. “She says it did not happen, and she's scared."
The stab wounds she suffered were self-inflicted with a straight razor, he said. In fact, he noted, she told him that “the only thing not self-inflicted were the bruises on her face.”
Potts wants prosecutors to look into the case again, adding that Williams wants those convicted to be released from prison. He said, too, that he did not know why the defendants pleaded guilty to something they did not do.
But Brian Abraham, the former Logan County district attorney who prosecuted the Brewster gang, said authorities did not rely on statements from Williams. They acknowledge that she had a propensity to exaggerate details, saying that the seven defendants were convicted on their own statements, as well as physical evidence.
"If she's going to say that she made it all up, that's absurd," Abraham said. "This looks like another attempt to generate more publicity."
On Wednesday, the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of Williams most vocal supporters, is asking the prosecutor to re-evaluate the case and vindicate anyone wrongfully convicted.
Williams, who reportedly has psychological problems, could face legal problems of her own for filing false charges.