MONROE, N.C. -- A jury found Joshua Houser guilty of child abuse in the high profile case involving victim Kilah Davenport after deliberating nearly six hours.
Houser, Kilah Davenport's stepfather, was found guilty Thursday afternoon on the charge of felony intentional child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury. Houser was sentenced to serve 92 to 123 months in jail for felony child abuse. This is the maximum punishment.
Documents and evidence presented in court show Houser assaulted the then-3-year-old Kilah in a fit of rage , as prosecutors called it, shoving her head through a wall of his home in Indian Trail. Kilah suffered a broken collarbone, a fractured skull, a brain injury, and bruising on various points of her body. The assault caused permanent injuries to Kilah's skull and brain.
Doctors told Kilah's mother, Kirbi Davenport, that she would remain in a vegetative state, but she has since made progress. She may never fully recover, but Kirbi says her improvement is encouraging.
Houser, a Union County man, severely beat his 3-year-old stepdaughter, prompting Kilah's family to lobby for harsher punishments for convicted child abusers. Kilah's Law was signed into the books in North Carolina in 2013 and took effect on December 1.
Kilah's Law has now moved on to the national level; the U.S. House unanimously passed the bill, which was introduced by local Congressman Robert Pittenger, back in December. The Bill is awaiting approval by the U.S. Senate.
Today, justice was served in the horrific Kilah Davenport child abuse case, Pittenger said in a statement Thursday. Sadly, the punishment does not fit the crime. Sweet Kilah was given a life sentence of disability, while her abuser will spend only a few short years in prison.
The Davenports have worked tirelessly to bring much good out of great evil, using Kilah s tragedy as a rallying cry to strengthen child abuse prevention laws in North Carolina and across our Nation, he continued, Their bravery and resilience will help prevent future tragedies.
Please join me in praying Kilah continues to recover, and that God continues to strengthen her family as they work around-the-clock to provide for her care.
Houser's sentencing does not reflect Kilah's Law sentencing guidelines, as the offense date is before the effective date of the law.
Kilah's Law will increase that punishment to 25-years to life in prison.