Mom whose toddler son died of overdose to go on trial this week

BEAUFORT -- A Beaufort woman will go on trial this week on charges she killed her toddler son after authorities say he died of an overdose of prescription medicine.

Paris Genici Avery, 25, is charged with homicide by child abuse following the death of 18-month-old Ra'Saan Cortez Avery Young.

According to authorities, Ra'Saan was found dead at about 12:35 a.m. Aug. 19, 2006, at the home of his baby-sitter and neighbor on Clydesdale Circle, Beaufort.

Beaufort County sheriff's deputies searched Avery's home and found a bottle of liquid anti-itch medication the child was being given for eczema, according to reports. The bottle was found half empty despite being filled just two days before, authorities said.

Ra'Saan's death was initially ruled suspicious, and an eight-month investigation ensued.

An autopsy showed no signs of physical trauma, but a toxicology report filed by a forensic pathologist ruled the death a homicide by acute hydroxyzine intoxication.

Investigators said that only Avery gave her son the medication.

Avery, who had been living in Maryland, was charged by the Sheriff's Office in April 2007 following the investigation and is in the Beaufort County Detention Center.

According to state law, to gain a conviction, prosecutors will have to prove that she demonstrated an "extreme indifference to human life" that resulted in the death of her son.

If found guilty of homicide by child abuse, Avery could face 20 years to life in prison.

The trial is expected to start at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Beaufort County Courthouse, according to the Solicitor's Office. Jury selection is scheduled to begin today.