NC House backs bill to increase child abuse penalties

POSTED: 5:09 PM Mar 12 2013   UPDATED: 5:11 PM Mar 12 2013
RALEIGH -

North Carolina House members agree convicted child abusers should receive longer sentences for their violent actions.

The House voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of legislation named for a girl who almost died when police say she was severely beaten in Union County last spring. Kilah Davenport was 3 years old when she received injuries that forced doctors to remove a part of her skull to reduce swelling in her brain.

The bill now heading to the Senate would increase the maximum penalty for the most serious crime would increase from roughly 15 years to 33 years. A judge also would make clear on the offender's record that a child was the victim.

Kilah's stepfather is charged with felony child abuse and faces a court date at the end of April.