Man sentenced for murder and sexual assault of 10 month old daughter

Austin Kamal Stevens, 29, of Germantown Pike, Pennsylvania. [Image credit: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office]

Norristown, Pennsylvania: Just after midnight on October 4, 2020 10-month-old Zara Scruggs died after being raped and abused by her own father.


31-year-old Austin Kamal Stevens was charged with first degree murder, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with her death.


His trial lasted for just three days and the jury only took 90 minutes to deliberate. Stevens was found guilty on all charges on Thursday, March 3, 2022.


Immediately Judge William R. Carpenter sentenced Stevens to life in prison, the mandatory sentence for a conviction of first degree murder.


"I've been doing this a long time," First Assistant District Attorney Edward F. McCann Jr., said after the verdict was announced. "We've seen a lot of terrible things in our careers. This is basically a new level of horror for me, to see a father sexually abuse and kill their child and then be so cold and cavalier about what he did after the fact. I think the jury saw that and I think this verdict shows that."


Zara's grandmother, Darlene Spencer-Smith spoke outside the courtroom on Thursday saying, "I just want to say I'm glad justice was served. I appreciate everything Montgomery County did for [Zara]. They spoke for her. They told her story."