Stepfather found guilty in death of 6 year-old Boulder Hill girl

Jury deliberates more than four hours at end of three-day trial

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 – A Boulder Hill man has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the life and health of a child in connection with the death of his 6-year-old stepdaughter.

After about four-and-a-half hours of deliberations Feb. 16, a Kendall County jury returned guilty verdicts for James Davidson, 30.

Davidson’s wife, Courtny Davidson, faces the same charges in the case and is expected to go on trial in the spring.

Kerrigan Rutherford was found dead July 2, 2020, in the bedroom of the family home in the 100 block of Boulder Hill Pass in unincorporated Boulder Hill.

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.

On Feb. 16, after a day of testimony, the showing of a police interview video and closing arguments by attorneys, 23rd Circuit 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 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 nights of July 1 and 2, 2020, changed 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.

Involuntary manslaughter is a Class 2 felony that carries up 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.

The jury was sent from the courtroom to consider its verdict very late in the afternoon. They returned with the verdicts about 10:40 p.m.