Kilah Davenport: Child Abuse Victim Dies At Age 4By: Val Powell - March 14, 2014
“We know she’s dancing in heaven. She’s not in pain anymore,” said her grandmother Leslie Davenport.
The four-year-old girl, who was severely beaten by her stepfather in May 2012, finally stopped breathing on Thursday. Kilah was at home with her mother, who tried to revive her with CPR before rushing Kilah to Northeast Medical Center. Doctors pronounced her dead on arrival.
Kilah was three years old when her stepfather Joshua Houser allegedly picked her up and slammed her head against the wall of their North Carolina home in a fit of rage. The assault caused Kilah to sustain severe and permanent brain damage, which required part of her skull to be removed due to the extreme swelling on her brain. The young girl also suffered a broken clavicle and multiple bruising in various parts of her body. Houser continues to deny the allegations, claiming that he would never hurt his stepdaughter.
Kilah’s family arranged a brief press conference on Thursday to address the young girl’s death. They were joined by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who said that he wept when he found out about Kilah’s passing. Jeff Gerber, who is the founder of the Kilah Davenport and Justice For All Coalition encouraged Kilah’s family to campaign for stronger child abuse laws in 2012. Kilah’s story pushed the passing of a North Carolina law that increases sentencing punishments for five child-abuse related offenses. Congress is currently pressuring other states to follow suit.
Last month, Houser was convicted of the felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily harm, and was sentenced to a mere 92 to 123 months in prison. If the crime had been committed after the new law was enacted, Houser would have gotten a minimum of 25 years in prison.
Kilah appeared in court with her mother Kirbi Davenport during the last two days of the trial. She rested quietly by her mother’s side and occasionally made low moans. With Kilah’s death, Houser could face additional charges, although Union District Attorney Trey Robinson has yet to comment on the possibility.
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