CHARLESTON, W.Va. — While the man charged in last year’s death of a 10-month-old girl in Jackson County was in a Ripley courtroom Wednesday, the state Senate was giving unanimous approval to a bill named in her memory.
The Senate approved Emmaleigh’s Law (SB 288) during Wednesday morning’s floor session. The bill increases penalties in the crime of child abuse causing death by parent, guardian, custodian or other person from the current 10 to 40 years up to 20 to 80 years.
Benjamin Taylor, 32, of Cottageville, is 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.
During a pre-trial hearing Wednesday, the judge moved the original April trial date to Aug. 8 because the state police crime lab hasn’t finished DNA testing.
Taylor remains in jail without bail.
The bill, which next goes to the House of Delegates for consideration, also would increase the punishment for child abuse resulting in injury from 1 to 5 years to 2 to 10 years.
The bill also would double the monetary fines associated with the crimes.
Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) is the lead sponsor of the legislation.