Family of beaten toddler fights for larger penalties for offenders
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CHARLOTTE -- The family of a young child they said was brutally beaten by her stepfather is hoping to change a state law to increase jail time for those who abuse children. The beating happened in May and the child may never recover. Now, the family is joining forces with the Justice For All Coalition to pass the new legislation.
Family members said Kilah Davenport was your average, happy 2-year-old, swimming in the family pool and playing in her backyard. But May 16 changed everything.
Kilah's grandmother, Leslie Davenport, said their world was turned upside down.
"In the beginning they said she had 90 percent brain damage. They said she would have no chance of a sustainable life,” she said.
Today, Kilah is making progress but they said it has been a long, tough road.
Joshua Houser, Kilah's stepfather, was arrested and charged with felony child abuse, inflicting serious injury. The most jail time Houser could face is 92 months.
“You always picture your own child in their shoes and for this to happen and such lenient penalties, it is completely unacceptable,” said Michael Alverez, mayor of Indian Trail.
The family is now in the process of writing "Kilah's Law.” The punishment would be elevated to the highest classification, with the potential of serving 25 years to life in prison.
“Anyone capable of committing such a horrific crime against a child is a danger to society and must be removed from society,” said Jeff Gerber, the founder of Justice For All Coalition.
The Davenport family said the support from the community has been overwhelming and that is what keeps them going.
“If this can't effect Joshua, our hope and prayers is that it will you know help another family,” said Brian Davenport.
Kilah's Law is in the process of being written. Gerber said that it could take a year to move forward but it is a fight they will not give up on.
Houser is currently being held in the Union County jail on a $1 million bond.