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INDIAN TRAIL, NC (WBTV) -
Family and friends of a toddler, who suffered severe brain damage after deputies say she was beaten by her step-father, spent their 4th of July holiday pushing for a new potential law named after the little girl.
According to the Union County Sheriff's Office, 22-year-old Joshua Wilford Houser, the step-father of 3-year-old Kilah Davenport, beat the little girl with a blunt object in May. Kilah was rushed to the Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte with severe injuries to 90% of her brain and a fractured skull.
On Wednesday, the group set up a tent at the Indian Trail 4th of July parade to help get out information on what they've dubbed 'Kilah's Law.'
"We feel as though the punishment for such a horrific crime doesn't even come close to fitting this type of horrific incident," said Jeff Gerber, founder of the Justice for All Coalition.
Gerber says Houser is only facing a maximum of 7.5 years in prison if he is convicted of beating Kilah.
The group's plan for Kilah's Law is to raise the sentencing guidelines for a debilitating injury of a child to a higher classification of a felony. They want to sentence to be raised to a mandatory 25 years to life in prison.
Once a convicted person serves their sentence, the group hopes to have them monitored for life, the same as a convicted pedophile.
"When we tell the story of Kilah and the sentencing guidelines that are currently in place - the community is in a stage of outrage and shock," Gerber told WBTV. "The public as a whole is demanding stricter and more stringent guidelines in place to keep these individuals who are capable of doing such bodily injury to such an innocent child behind bars for many more years to come."
Initially Kilah's mother, who has been by Kilah's side since her injury, had planned to join the group at the tent, but Gerber says she had to stay at the hospital on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately the family can't be with us today, as we had hoped," he said, "Kilah Davenport had a bad night last night and the doctors are currently assessing the incidents that occurred last night and are attempting to correct the problems."
Kilah has been recovering at the Levine Children's Hospital since her injury.
"The doctors initially didn't give very much hope of Kilah overcoming this injury," Gerber told WBTV. "They said 24 to 48 hours was all that Kilah would survive."
Houser has been in jail on a million-dollar bond since mid-May when he was arrested by the Union County Sheriff's Office and charged with felony child abuse.
The group was selling t-shirts at the tent on Wednesday in an effort to raise money for Kilah's family. WBTV has learned that the family will have to completely renovate the house to accommodate Kilah when she comes home from the hospital.