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.
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."