Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

North Carolina Senate Passes Bill Requiring Harsher Penalties for Child Abusers

Kilah Davenport. Photo: Kilah Davenport Foundation Facebook page.

Last spring, 3-year-old Kilah Davenport was hospitalized with severe head injuries that nearly killed her. Despite slim odds, Kilah survived, but likely won’t develop mentally beyond toddlerhood. She will have to re-learn how to talk, eat and walk. According to authorities, the damage that cost Kilah a normal life was caused by her stepfather, Joshua Hauser, who allegedly beat her while her mother, Kirbi Davenport, was away at work.

Now a new measure called “Kilah’s Law” has passed the North Carolina state Senate and may be signed into law by governor Pat McCrory by the end of the month. The measure calls for longer prison terms for persons convicted of felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury, which is currently classified as a Class C felony and carries a maximum term of 44 to 92 months in prison. Under Kilah’s Law, abusers who inflict serious bodily injury on a child would be charged with a Class B felony, which carries a minimum sentence of 125 months. The law also calls for convicted child abusers to have a note in their criminal record indicating that their felony conviction involved child abuse.

If passed, the law would not affect Joshua Hauser, who is being held in lieu of $1 million bond while awaiting trial.

Since its beginning, a petition to enact Kilah’s Law has drawn over ten thousand supporters.

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