Boulder Hill manslaughter case goes to the jury

James Davidson on trial in overdose death of 6-year-old step-daughter Kerrigan Rutherford

James Davidson, left, seen here with his attorney, Kendall County Public Defender Clyde Guilamo, is on trial for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of his 6-year-old step-daughter, Kerrigan Rutherford, on July 2, 2020 at the family home in Boulder Hill. The case went to the jury on Feb. 16, 2022. (Mark Foster -

YORKVILLE – The case of a Boulder Hill man charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of his 6-year-old step-daughter is now in the hands of a Kendall County jury.

James Davidson and his wife Courtny Davidson are each charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the life and health of a child, but are being tried separately. Courtny’s case is expected to go to trial in the spring.

Davidson’s daughter Kerrigan Rutherford was found dead in the bedroom of the family home in the 100 block of Boulder Hill Pass in the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision on July 2, 2020.

An autopsy and toxicology report completed 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 approximately ten different types of medication in the home, according to court documents.

On Feb. 16, after a day of testimony, the showing of a police interview video and closing arguments by attorneys, Kendall County Chief Judge Robert Pilmer read his instructions to the jurors and sent them out of the courtroom to deliberate. It was the third day of the trial.

That morning, jurors watched and listened intently to a Aug. 6, 2020 video of James Davidson’s interview with Kendall County Sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Harl.

In the video, Davidson’s story on what happened the night of July 1 and 2, 2020 changes repeatedly.

Finally, he tells the deputy that in an attempt to get the child to go to sleep, he crushed two pills, mixed them into a small bowl of cottage cheese and gave it to the child. Davidson said he found the pills in a bottle on the floor.

Davidson, 30, frequently buried his face in his hands and before the end of the video was weeping visibly.

Both the Davidsons face one count of involuntary manslaughter, a Class 2 felony that carries up to 14 years in prison, and two counts of endangering the life or health of a child, a Class 3 felony that can carry up to 10 years.

The jury was sent from the courtroom to consider its verdict very late in the afternoon. By 7:30 p.m. they still had not emerged from their deliberations.