• Family crowds courtroom, Kilah's Law expected to be introduced Wednesday

    By: Kathryn Burcham


    UNION COUNTY, N.C. - A hearing to reduce the bond for a man accused of severely beating his stepdaughter turned tense Tuesday after supporters for both sides filled a Union County courtroom.

    Family members and friends of the suspect, Joshua Houser, confronted a crowd who had gathered in support of Kilah Davenport, the 4-year-old girl Houser is accused of beating so seriously she is permanently brain-damaged.

    The hearing in Union County Court was a motion to reduce Houser's $1 million bond; a different judge had denied the same motion in July.

    Prosecutors released new details during the hearing, telling the judge evidence crews recovered two blond hairs from damaged drywall inside Houser's home during the investigation.

    Union County District Attorney Trey Robison told the judge he believes an SBI test will show the hairs belong to Davenport, proving the prosecution's theory that Houser slammed the girl's head into the wall so hard that it punched a hole in the wall itself.

    The investigation began in May 2012 when Davenport was taken to a local hospital with a broken collarbone and head trauma so serious that detectives initially believed she would die, the DA told the judge in court Tuesday.

    Houser's attorney denied the charges, calling his bond "ridiculously high" and telling the judge Houser had never been charged with violence toward children before, including his own young daughter.

    Prosecutors argued Houser had a history of skipping court dates and was convicted of assault on a government official when he was 18.

    DA Robison also paraphrased two restraining orders filed against Houser by the mother of his child, telling the court she feared for her life when Houser allegedly punched a mirror over her head and threatened to kill her.

    The judge ruled to deny Houser's bond motion, which brought gasps and mutterings from his family members in the courtroom; others began to cry.

    During the tense hearing, court deputies separated both families to different sections of the courtroom.

    Davenport's mother expressed her fear about what would have happened if Houser had been released before his trial.

    "I just want my kids to be safe, both of them. He already hurt Kilah and who's to say he won't hurt other kids? I can't let him do that," Kirby Davenport said.

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