McCrory signs state law named for Kilah Davenport - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

McCrory signs state law named for Kilah Davenport

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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -

Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill known as "Kilah's Law" into law Wednesday in Raleigh, saying it was probably the most emotional bill he would sign as Governor.

The bill, named for 4-year-old Kilah Davenport, means that convicted child abusers in North Carolina will now see tougher penalties.

Kilah Davenport was just 3 years old when, in 2012, she received injuries that forced doctors to remove a part of her skull and left the young girl with brain damage.

"If it does happen again, people are going to pay a much harsher penalty and it will always be on their record. They won't be able to hide from it," McCrory said.

Kilah's stepfather, 22-year-old Joshua Houser, was arrested and charged with felony child abuse. Her family, with support from lawmakers and the community, have been pushing for the bill ever since.

"We're not going to let this tragedy like I've said all along be a tragedy. It's become something amazing," said Kilah's mother Kirbi Davenport.

It will increase the maximum penalty for the most serious abuse charges from roughly 15 years to 33 years. A judge would also make clear on the offender's record that the victim was a child.

The Senate voted unanimously for Kilah's Law just one week before the Governor signed it into law.

The law goes into effect on December 1.

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