Thursday, September 12th, 2019 – 5:30 p.m.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– The courtroom was nearly full when the verdict against Kenneth Davis came down Thursday afternoon. Davis was found guilty of 7 counts of child abuse.
Among those waiting to hear the jury’s decision was the family of Kinzlea Kilgore, a two-year-old from Dallas County who died in May of 2018. Davis is facing child abuse resulting in death charges regarding Kilgore’s death.
While Thursday’s conviction, handed down by a jury in Greene County, was in regards to abuse suffered by an eight-year-old female family member of Davis’, Kilgore’s family takes a personal stake in the outcome.
“This is a step to justice for Kinzlea,” one family member told Ozarks First on Thursday.
“It was very hard,” Kinzlea’s great aunt, Toni Robertson, said Thursday following the conviction. “I really felt relief knowing that justice is being served.”
Davis’ formal sentencing is scheduled for December 6th, 2019.
After more than an hour of deliberation, a jury voted to convict Kenneth Davis on all 7 counts of child abuse.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Reporters in the courtroom confirm closing arguments have been made by both defense and prosecution. The jury has now been dismissed for deliberation.
When they return, they will determine Kenneth Davis’ guilt or innocence.
Davis is charged with abusing a young female family member.
This is the first of two abuse-related trials Davis will stand this year. The second will take place in Dallas County, where Davis is charged with abusing and eventually killing two-year-old Kinzlea Kilgore.
Davis is facing seven counts of child abuse. Two counts are considered “serious physical abuse” while the other five are simply described as “physical abuse”.
During closing arguments on Thursday morning, prosecutors focused heavily on the inconsistencies between Davis’ Wednesday afternoon testimony and the accounts he gave investigators early in this case.
Meanwhile, Davis’ defense focused on the victim’s inability to identify him in court on Tuesday.
“If all this trauma was caused by this man,” attorney’s argued on Davis’ behalf. “Why wasn’t she able to recognize him?”
“His appearance has changed substantially,” prosecutors eventually fired back. “He has gained weight, hair is grown out.”
In regards to the defense’s argument that the victim couldn’t recognize Davis, prosecutors argued it had been over a year since the victim had seen him, and that the kind of trauma the victim underwent can cause slowed development and impact memory.