Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Paris Avery



Homicide by Child Abuse


35 years

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Year Crime:


Year Convicted:


Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:

South Carolina

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City of Crime:



Judicially Exonerated Released

Summary of Case:

"Paris Avery was wrongly convicted of homicide by child abuse in the death of her fifteen-month old son from an overdose of prescription medicine on August 18, 2006 in Beaufort, South Carolina. The prosecution's forensic toxicologists Demetra Garvin speculated in her testimony that Avery’s use of the hydroxyzine may have been intended to sedate her child, rather than its intended purpose. After the State closed it's case Avery moved for a directed verdict of acquittal. She argued the prosecution failed to put forth evidence of the essential element that she acted with extreme indifference to the life of her son Ra'Saan Avery Young. The judge denied her motion and after her conviction she was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Her conviction and sentence were affirmed by the South Carolina Court of Appeal. On June 12, 2013 the South Carolina Supreme Court vacated Avery's conviction and ruled that the trial judge erred in not granting her motion for a directed verdict of acquittal. The Court ruled that "The State offered no evidence Avery was ever personally informed about the risks of overmedication or that she understood the drug was to be taken as needed, but not more than every six hours. ... Even viewing this evidence in the light most favorable to the State, this does not amount to substantial circumstantial evidence from which a jury could conclude Avery acted without care as to whether Victim lived or died so as to manifest extreme indifference to human life." Avery was released from prison on August 1, 2013. In January 2014 it was reported that Avery was planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the person's who "railroaded" her."

Conviction Caused By:

The trial judge erred not granting Avery's motion for a directed verdict of acquittal at the close of the prosecution's case.

Innocence Proved By:

"On June 12, 2013 the South Carolina Supreme Court vacated Avery's conviction and ruled that the trial judge erred in not granting her motion for a directed verdict of acquittal."

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:

Age When Released:




Information Source 1:

"State v. Avery, No. 2013-MO-016 (SC Sup. Ct., 2013)"

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Information Source 2:

"Mother returns home after murder conviction overturned, By WTOC Web Staff, WTOC Channel 11 (Savannah, GA), August 5, 2013"

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Information Source 3:

"Woman whose conviction overturned to sue officials, By Sarita Chourey, BlufftonToday.com, January 4, 2014"

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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