BREAKING: Boulder Hill woman to plead guilty in manslaughter case involving her daughter

Courtny A. Davidson, James A. Davdison

YORKVILLE – A Boulder Hill woman is expected to plead guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the life and health of a child in connection with the death of her 6-year-old daughter.

Courtny Davidson, 34, faces up to 14 years in prison in the prescription drug overdose death of daughter Kerrigan Rutherford on July 2, 2020.

“Barring some change, she will be entering a guilty plea on May 5,” defense attorney Michael Blake of Batavia said. “That’s the intent at this point.”

On Feb. 16, 2022, a Kendall County jury found Rutherford’s stepfather, James Davidson, 30, guilty of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the life and health of a child after a three-day trial.

A sentencing hearing for James Davidson is scheduled for April 26 before 23rd Circuit Presiding Judge Robert Pilmer.

Courtny Davidson pleaded not guilty when she was arraigned Sept. 9, 2020.

Davidson was to have appeared April 12, 2022, for a change of plea hearing before Pilmer. However, Davidson, who has been in custody at the Kendall County jail, was taken to the hospital the previous day.

The hearing was rescheduled for May 5. A sentencing hearing is expected about two months later.

Blake noted that Courtny Davidson has no previous criminal history.

Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 2 felony that carries a potential sentence of 3 to 14 years in prison, while endangering the life or health of a child is a Class 3 felony that can carry up to 10 years. Both charges are probational.

Rutherford was found dead in the family’s filthy home in the 100 block of Boulder Hill Pass in the unincorporated subdivision.

An autopsy and toxicology report by the Kendall County Coroner’s Office ruled Rutherford’s death a homicide caused by an overdose of olanzapine, a medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adolescents and adults.

Courtny Davidson is diagnosed as bipolar and authorities found about 10 types of medication in the home, according to court documents.

During James Davidson’s trial, what emerged from the testimony and evidence was that both of the Davidsons had given their daughter the pills in order to get her to go to sleep the night of July 1, 2020.

Based on testimony, it appeared the girl had ingested at least five 10 mg capsules of the drug, which is not intended for children.

Prosecutors from the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s Office showed jurors photographs of the family home, taken the day Rutherford died.

The pictures showed filthy, cluttered rooms with knives and other potential hazards strewn about the house. The sequence of photographs also showed the bedroom where Rutherford was found.

In graphic detail, the child was shown lying flat on her back, her arms extended over the edge of the bed, with plastic prescription drug bottles scattered on the floor below. A close-up of the girl’s face shows her nose had bled.

On the last day of the trial, jurors were shown an Aug. 6, 2020, video of James Davidson’s interview with Kendall County Sheriff’s Detective Bryan Harl.

An emotional Davidson describes himself as an overworked husband and father trying to support the family, while keeping their home life together, with his wife incapable of helping.

On the night in question, Davidson told the detective that Rutherford woke up screaming in the middle of the night. Davidson said he put the child back to bed, returned to sleep himself and then left for work at 5 a.m. the next day.

Davidson then told Harl that he returned home at about 1:30 p.m., finding Rutherford face down in bed gurgling, with blood on her face.

Finally, Davidson told the deputy that from a bottle of prescription medication found on the floor, he crushed two pills with a spoon, mixed them into a small bowl of cottage cheese and gave it to the child.

Courtny Davidson testified under immunity at her husband’s trial, telling the court that she could not remember what happened that night.

In a video of the mother’s interview with investigators, Courtny said she gave her daughter three of the pills.

In her closing arguments, Assistant State’s Attorney Meghan Jirasek painted James Davidson as an uncaring stepfather.

Jirasek said Rutherford was an innocent child “living in filth,” surrounded by hazards created by James Davidson’s neglect.

There was a bathtub filled with rancid water, Jirasek said, and there was “feces throughout the house,” creating an awful stench. A pair of scissors was found on the bed near the child’s dead body, she said.