Joshua Houser found guilty in Kilah Davenport Trial

UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Union County jury found Joshua Houser guilty of felonious assault, after he threw his stepdaughter into a wall in May 2012.

Houser will serve between 8 and 10 years behind bars. Investigators say Houser left the toddler brain damaged.

The trial lasted 9 days and jurors deliberated for 4 hours before returning the guilty verdict.

Leslie Davenport says her granddaughter will never be the same.

"I see my precious little angel just working and healing and making strides every day. She does have a few setbacks every now and then," Davenport said.

Those setbacks include seizures and excruciating physical pain. Davenport says the courtroom commotion isn't helping Kilah.

"This is stressful for Kilah as well being here. Being in the same room with him, I'm sure that she senses his presence," she said.

Davenport says Kilah can communicate, even though it's not the same as before.

"Her reply for yes is she moves her mouth up and down and her reply for no is her eye moves side to side," Davenport said.

Now that the jury has found Houser guilty, Davenport says the family will focus on passing Kilah's Law on a national level.

The bill would permit harsher sentences for those who inflict permanent physical debilitating injuries on a child.

Congressman Robert Pittenger says justice was served, but the punishment will 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," Pittenger said in a statement to WBTV.

"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.  Their bravery and resilience will help prevent future tragedies."

The Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act, which was written and introduced by Congressman Pittenger, unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 9, 2013, but the legislation is stalled in the U.S. Senate.

Once approved there, it will go to President Obama for a signature into law.

This legislation directs the U.S. Attorney General to issue a state-by-state report on child abuse prevention laws within 6 months, with a particular focus on penalties for cases of severe child abuse.

The goal is to highlight deficient laws and provide states with the opportunity to fix those laws before another tragedy occurs.

For more on Kilah Davenport and her foundation, click here.

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