A McDonald County mother accused in the January 2005 death of her 6-year-old daughter will have her final court proceeding today before trial starts next week.


A McDonald County mother accused in the January 2005 death of her 6-year-old daughter will have her final court proceeding today before trial starts next week.

Karen Davenport, 33, of Rogers, Ark., is set to appear before Presiding Judge Timothy Perigo for a pre-trial conference this morning.

The proceeding is the last scheduled before a jury trial begins next Tuesday. That trial will also be held in Pineville, with Perigo presiding.

Davenport is accused of voluntary manslaughter in connection with the Jan. 29, 2005, death of her 6-year-old daughter, Hannah Davenport. Karen Davenport and her mother, Linda Walsham, were accused of failing to obtain and / or maintain health care for Hannah, who suffered from a birth defect that made it difficult for her to have bowel movements or to digest many foods. Charges against Walsham were dropped late last year, and the charges against Karen Davenport were reduced from second-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter.

In a probable cause affidavit filed in February 2005, former McDonald County Chief Deputy Gregg Sweeten alleged a call told 911 dispatchers on Jan. 29, 2005, that a child was unconscious and not breathing at Davenport’s home in Anderson.

Ambulance workers said they found Walsham and one of the girl’s uncles performing CPR on Hannah when they arrived and rescuers believed they had a faint pulse on the girl. Hannah Davenport was taken to Goodman, where a hospital helicopter was waiting to take her to Joplin’s Freeman West Hospital. However, the girl was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

According to testimony from Dr. Keith Norton, a medical examiner with the Greene County Medical Examiner’s Office in Springfield, the girl suffered from dehydration and bowel infections before she died. He said if she’d gotten medical attention in what was to be her final days, or even hours, she might have lived. Hannah Davenport died from a perforated colon, according to testimony. Former McDonald County Prosecutor Steve Geeding noted that at the time of her death, Hannah Davenport weighed 27 pounds and stood 3-feet-4.