Angie Ortega fought back tears as she described March 13 - the day police found her daughter, 8-year-old Ahlyiah Irvin.
"I look out the window and they're taking my baby to the ambulance," Ortega said. "And I didn't know she had passed then."
Ortega's sister-in-law, Linda Kriner, contacted KCTV5 on the week her niece's accused killer went before a judge to hear the evidence against him. The judge determined there was enough evidence to bring the man to trial. The girl's family wants people to know about the sweet little girl they lost and the criminal past that failed to keep him in jail prior to her death.
"I want everybody to know this story," explained Kriner. "Because laws need to change."
Ahlyia Irvin was full of smiles and hugs. One photo shows her in a pink tutu with a pink tiara for her 8th birthday.
"She danced," said Kriner, "loved Justin Bieber. One time I think Angie had some issues with Lee Press-On Nails."
Ahlyia's mom chuckled as she chimed in, "She loved Lee Press-On Nails."
Ahlyia was asleep in her mom's Topeka apartment when the other kids heard a noise then noticed Ahlyia was gone. Eventually police found the 8-year-old in a nearby home, raped and asphyxiated, stuffed inside a clothes dryer. Understanding what the little girl experienced before she died was all too easy for her mom.
"I've been raped," Ortega said. "I've been abused. I've been molested. But I survived that. And she didn't. And it hurts me because she had to experience what I experienced at a very young age."
Tuesday, Ortega took the stand in court when prosecutors presented evidence against Billy Frank Davis Jr. The prosecutor presented her with an autopsy photo of Ahlyia and Ortega burst out at Davis, asking, "Why?"
Davis, who was a friend of a friend of a relative, showed a slight grin. His defense attorney, Kriner said, indicated he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to events that occurred when he performed military service in Iraq.
The past two months have brought a range of emotions for Ahlyia's family, but not all are about Davis. They also have strong feelings about the criminal justice system and the state sentencing guidelines.
Just eight days before the March 13 murder, Davis stood before a Shawnee County judge to be sentenced for another violent crime.
"He…assaulted an elderly man, beat him with a chair, held him at gunpoint," Kriner said.
Court records show Davis was charged in January with aggravated battery, causing serious bodily harm, aggravated assault, using a deadly weapon, and criminal restraint. A month later, the criminal restraint charge was dropped and Davis plead no contest to the other two charges. On March 5, based on his limited criminal history status, his two-year sentence was suspended in lieu of supervised probation.
Ortega and her three other children recently moved to Johnson County to live near Kriner. She said she just couldn't go back to that Topeka apartment with a view of the place where police found Ahlyia.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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