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Kilah’s Law proposed to toughen abuse laws

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. --- A Forsyth County family is joining a family from Union County in support of Kilah's Law, a proposed bill that would greatly increase jail time for people who abuse children and cause serious permanent disabilities.

In Forsyth County, District Attorney Jim O'Neill says there are 8 to 10 cases a year of children beaten so badly by a parent or caregiver that they have life altering injuries.

Mitzi Cartrette from Forsyth County says it happened to her 6 year old grandson Ashton who now has permanent brain damage.

"He'll never graduate from high school, he will never drive a car, he will never live on his own," says Cartrette who is supporting the Justice for All Coalition's call to change the sentencing structure for abusers.

Kilah's law is named after 4 year old Kilah Davenport from Union County.

Kilah's stepfather is facing child abuse charges after investigators in Union County say he beat the young girl's head into a wall causing damage to 90% of her brain.

Davenport's mother and grandmother say it's not fair that current law only allows 3 to 9 years of jail time for people convicted of felony child abuse.

Leslie Davenport says, "she'll be fighting for the rest of her life, she will struggle while he (her abuser) will get out and go on with his life and we will have to continue to take care of Kilah."

Kilah's law will be presented to legislators in January by state representatives from Union County. 

It would require abusers convicted of inflicting permanent bodily harm to children to serve 25 years to life in prison.

Leslie Davenport says after what happened to her granddaughter Kilah, "we will fight for this as long as we have breath in us."