- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MONROE, N.C. (AP) - A Union County grand jury has indicted the stepfather of 4-year-old child abuse victim on a second-degree murder charge.

Multiple media outlets reported that the indictment was handed up Monday afternoon against 25-year-old Joshua Houser.

Kilah Davenport died March 13.

Houser had been convicted of earlier this year of child abuse involving the girl in May 2012. Prosecutors said Houser rammed the girl’s head through a wall in their Indian Trail home.

He was sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison on that conviction. The penalty for second-degree murder could be about 21 years in prison.

Houser is appealing the child abuse conviction. His court-appointed appellate attorney, Barbara Blackman with the state Office of the Appellate Defender, would not talk about the new charge.

The state medical examiner’s office ruled that Kilah’s death was a homicide. An autopsy found she died of pneumonia because of complications of her injuries from the assault, and that diabetes, which Kilah did not have before the attack, also contributed to her death.

Union County District Attorney Trey Robison would not talk about the indictment.

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