Defense Blames Boy for Death Mother's Attorney Says 6-Year- Old Self-Destructive, Caused His Own Death

By Peterson, Eric | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 17, 2004 | Go to article overview

Defense Blames Boy for Death Mother's Attorney Says 6-Year- Old Self-Destructive, Caused His Own Death


Peterson, Eric, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Eric Peterson Daily Herald Staff Writer

The attorneys of a Schaumburg woman charged with the murder of her recently adopted Russian son last month will argue that the 6- year-old's fatal injuries were solely the result of his own self- destructive behavior.

Irma Pavlis, 32, appeared in court Friday where her arraignment was set for Jan. 30. She remains imprisoned on a $3 million bond.

Schaumburg police charged Pavlis with first-degree murder Dec. 21, two days after the death of her adopted son, Alex. Pavlis and her husband, Dino Pavlis, adopted the boy and his 5-year-old sister from Russia in early November.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office ruled boy's death a homicide caused by blunt head trauma.

But the Pavlises' attorney, Stuart Goldberg, said Friday the defense will argue the boy had neurological deficiencies and a medical condition, neither of which was diagnosed by the institution that took him in when he was a year old and his sister was 3 months.

He added that Alex had physical traits, including deformed fingers and webbed toes, consistent with the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome. Furthermore, the boy exhibited signs of violent self-destructive behavior that included throwing himself to the ground and scratching at scabs, Goldberg said.

"We feel (Irma Pavlis) did not cause the death and the child was self-destructive," Goldberg said.

Arthur Loukianov, the limousine driver and guide the Pavlises used when they were in Moscow to adopt the children, offered support to the parents.

Speaking Friday from Moscow in limited English, Loukianov said Alex didn't speak much to his new parents during their time in Moscow, but appeared to be worried and anxious. He and his sister usually spoke only to each other in Russian, though Irma Pavlis did try to speak with them with the little Russian she'd learned, Loukianov said.

He added that the children acted uncontrollable around their new parents - especially on one particular visit to a McDonald's restaurant in Moscow when they threw food on the floor. He said he could see the Pavlises' were surprised by this.

"It seems to me these are good and kind people," Loukianov said of the parents. "They were maybe a little bit sad because they didn't expect (the children) to be problems. …

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