CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Senate President Mitch Carmichael personally beseeched the Judiciary Committee to pass a bill inspired by the slaying and sexual assault of a 10-month-old girl in his community.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday afternoon did pass the bill being called “Emmaleigh’s Law,” which would double the penalty for various child abuse penalties.
The bill will now go to the full Senate. Carmichael is the lead sponsor.
“Remember Emmaleigh Barringer, a 10-month-old child who was brutally murdered and sexually assaulted in Jackson County,” Carmichael told the committee during brief comments before its vote was taken.
Benjamin Taylor, 32 was accused of striking and sexually assaulting Emmaleigh Barringer on the morning of Oct. 3, 2016, in the basement of the Fairplain apartment where he lived with the girl’s mother, Amanda Adkins. The girl died after being taken off life support two days later.
Emmaleigh died of a skull fracture, according to a report from the state Medical Examiner’s Office. The medical examiner testified there was evidence of sexual assault.
Taylor was indicted by a grand jury late last October on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, death of a child by child abuse, first-degree sexual assault and sexual abuse by a guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust.
Senate Bill 288 would increase the penalties for a person convicted of death of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian from the current 10 to 40 years up to 20 to 80 years.
The punishment for child abuse resulting in injury would increase from from 1 to 5 years to 2 to 10 years.
The bill also would double the monetary fines associated with the crimes.
Before the Judiciary Committee’s vote occurred, Chairman Charles Trump said its members would be thinking about the little girl who died in Jackson County.
“Our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with the family of that little girl and the people of Jackson County,” said Trump, R-Morgan.