New law requires longer prison time for convicted child abusers

by: Jenna Deery Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In a little more than 24 hours, child abusers will face tougher punishments in North Carolina.

Channel 9 has followed every step of Kilah Davenport's story after police said her father abused her.

Kilah's Law goes into effect Sunday.

Eyewitness News reporter Jenna Deery spoke to Kilah's family who wants to take the state law one step further.

This tragedy has touched many hearts across our area and changed many lives including Kilah's. Her family said they can move forward in her recovery knowing new justice is coming in her name.

The items on this table in the Davenport family home reflect the light Kilah Davenport has brought to her family.

The abuse left the once independent 3-year-old dependent for every need to be met.

"Kilah doesn't get to play," said Kilah's grandmother, Leslie Davenport. "She can't run. She can't talk. She can't use her arms and legs."

Kilah suffered severe brain damage and a fractured skull after investigators said Joshua Houser, Kilah's stepfather beat her in May 2012.

Her grandmother said they are still fighting for her recovery.

"Her mom and I work with her every day to try to get back the things that she lost," Leslie Davenport said.

Under Kilah's Law, child abusers convicted of major felonies who once faced less than 10 years behind bars, can now be sentenced to 25 years to life.

"Are they going to get out and be able to do this again? Possibly, but they have to spend 25 years in there thinking about it," Leslie Davenport said.

An organization fighting child abuse says 28 children died from abuse in North Carolina last year.

Leslie Davenport hopes this law will make that number zero.

"That's what our message is," she said. "Stop messing with our kids. Stop hurting those children who are defenseless."

The family isn't satisfied with just changing a state law. They plan to go to the nation's capital after the first of the year to push for better laws to protect children nationwide.

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