Area towns show their support for Kilah’s Law
by Staff Writer
On May 16, 3-year-old Kilah Davenport was stripped of her youth, when she was allegedly beaten by Joshua Houser, her 22-year-old stepfather, at their home in Indian Trail.
As a result, Kilah incurred 90 percent brain damage and required surgery to have a bone flap removed from her skull that ran from her forehead to her ears. Kilah also had a breathing tube installed because it was thought at the time that she wouldn’t be able to breathe on her own.
“We were told that Kilah wouldn’t live, and if she did, she’d be a vegetable,” said Kilah’s grandmother, 48-year-old Leslie Davenport. “But that has been so untrue.”
Kilah is making noticeable progress; eating baby food instead of using just a feeding tube and identifying colors, Leslie said.
Kilah had surgery on Sept. 10 to put a shield in place where the bone flap was removed. While she is able to breathe on her own, the breathing tube is being left to help manage the acid reflux Kilah gets from using the feeding tube.
Kirbi Davenport, 22, Kilah’s mother had her second child, Bladen, three weeks ago and the family says that Kilah has been “incredibly responsive” to her baby brother.
“She’s moving her arms and reaching out, she’s more relaxed, trying harder to sit up and hold her head up,” Leslie said. “She seems to be working hard, almost as though there has been a transformation since (Bladen) was born.”
Indian Trail Mayor Michael Alvarez spoke to the Cornelius Town Board on Nov. 5 about a resolution in support of Kilah’s Law which would impose harsher penalties on those who intentionally inflict permanent, disabling injuries to children. Supporters have visited more than 20 towns to ask for support for Kilah’s Law.
Currently, felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury is a class C felony with the sentencing guidelines of 44-92 months in prison.
“To get out in 24 months or even six years is unacceptable,” said Alvarez. “As elected officials, it’s our duty to protect the future of this country and to leave it better than we found it.”
Kilah’s Law could raise the sentencing guidelines to a class B felony, and offenders could face up to 25 years to life in prison.
State Rep. Craig Horn, of Union County, is a sponsor of the bipartisan legislature. Five other state House members are co-sponsors of Kilah’s Law.
While Kilah’s Law will not affect Houser’s case when passed, the family hopes that it will save the lives of children in the future. About five children die every day as a result of child abuse, and about 80 percent of those children are under the age of four, according to www.childhelp.org.
Houser is being held on a $1 million bond at the Union County Jail and is charged with felony child abuse. He requested a bond hearing for this week, but it has been denied.
Leslie Davenport said that they are trying to go to court by January, but are awaiting all the evidence to come back from the State Bureau of Investigation.
Kilah, Bladen and Kirbi Davenport are living with Leslie and her husband Brian Davenport, in Concord, while Kilah continues to recover.
“We want to educate people and want to talk about it,” Leslie said. “I’m not going to keep my mouth shut.”
Want to learn more?
If you want to learn more about the progress of Kilah and her law, visit teamkilah.wordpress.com for updates. A petition is available on change.org that can be found by searching Kilah’s name.