US woman faces capital punishment for killing Russian boy

US investigators believe that Irma Pavlis, 33, apparently murdered six-year-old Russian boy Alex Pavlis. Some of his internal organs were removed for subsequent transplants.

This was disclosed by assistant medical examiner Ponny Arankumar at the Cook-county circuit court in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. In her words, some of the boy's healthy organs were removed for transplantation.

The boy died after being beaten, Arankumar noted. She counted 32 scars, bruises and cuts on his body.

Irma Pavlis' 45-minute videotaped testimony was shown at the trial that began on Tuesday. Pavlis is charged with killing Alex Pavlis, six. The boy and his five-year-old sister were adopted in 2003 from a Russian orphanage.

In her testimony, Pavlis describes events (that preceded the boy's death in December 2003) down to the minutest detail. The boy was very disobedient, Pavlis noted. She did not know how to deal with the boy, using physical force ever more often. On December 16 Pavlis reportedly lost control over herself, hitting the boy in the face several times. A similar beating caused the boy to lose consciousness two days later. Pavlis had to call an ambulance. However, doctors could not save the boy, who died the very next day. A subsequent autopsy revealed that he had died of a blunt cranio-cerebral trauma.

The defense is claiming that the beatings could not result in death. However, the DA insists that the boy was killed by his foster mother. Moreover, Mr. and Mrs. Pavlis did not contact the Illinois family-and-motherhood department, after arriving in the United States. Pavlis faces capital punishment in line with state legislation.

About 20,000 children are adopted in the United States each year, with Russian children accounting for some 25 percent of their total number. At least 12 adopted Russian children have died since 1996.

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