• Lawmakers lay out next steps for Kilah's Law

    By: Torie Wells

    Updated:

    RALEIGH, N.C. - Kilah Davenport and her family made the trip to Raleigh on Thursday as lawmakers laid out the next steps for a law they are pushing in Kilah's name. They said the bill will go to committee next Wednesday.

    Police said Kilah's stepfather abused her in May.

    "I know in my heart this law will save lives," said Kirbi Davenport, Kilah's mother.

    If it is passed, the law would increase the penalty for those convicted of abusing children so they would spend more time in prison. North Carolina General Assembly Rep. Craig Horn said if the bill becomes law, those convicted of certain abuse could face up to 33 years in prison depending on their record. The law would also require child abuse be noted in a person's criminal record.

    "We don't code it so you can separate child abuse from domestic violence. This bill will set us on a path to start gathering that info separately," Horn said.

    "I'm glad I haven't kept my mouth shut because now some other little kid in North Carolina who is abused will get the true justice," Kirbi Davenport said.

    Among the lawmakers Thursday there was also a first responder.

    "I honestly didn't think she would survive. I was waiting to see the news report the next day that the child had died," said Patti Freeman, a first responder.

    Freeman said she rode in the back of the ambulance to the hospital with Kilah the night she was hurt.

    "To be able to sit there and our eyes locked on each other, it ripped at my heart," Freeman said.

    Freeman said her heart is tied to this bill and Kilah's story. Kirbi Davenport said that story is improving each day. She said Kilah has taken a few assisted steps, is holding her head up and even said her first sentence recently.

    Kirbi Davenport said she is proud that it was Kilah's strength that inspired lawmakers in Raleigh to take action.

    "We have Democrats and Republicans standing in the same room together with a bill, together. That's how bad it's wanted," Kirbi Davenport said.

    Horn expects the bill to move quickly and hopes that it hits the Gov. Pat McCrory's desk as quickly as three weeks to a month from now.


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