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ST. LOUIS, Mo., Nov. 6 (UPI) --
A registered nurse Tuesday faced murder charges for allegedly giving a lethal dose of morphine to a dying patient at St. Louis University Hospital.

Charges were filed against Daillyn Pavia, 30, of Granite City, Ill., in the death of Julia Dawson, 86, of St. Louis, who had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and been taken off life support before receiving the lethal dose.
Investigators said they don't know why Pavia allegedly killed the patient. Police said Pavia admitted to co-workers that she had "without authorization and within a half-an-hour of taking charge of Julia Dawson as her patient ... intentionally (given) Ms. Dawson 15 times the maximum dosage of morphine that had been prescribed.

A probable-cause statement released by the circuit attorney's office also indicated that Pavia admitted giving the victim the sedative Propofol, which had not been prescribed.

The victim's son, Kenneth Dawson, 55, of Bear, Del., said he'd "be willing to bet my life" Pavia acted out of compassion and should not be prosecuted.

"All I know is she (Pavia) was going to give her some pain medicine," Dawson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I'm sad they charged her with murder."

Pavia had been employed at the hospital for a decade. She surrendered to police Monday.


SLU nurse charged with killing patient

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A nurse was charged Monday with first-degree murder for allegedly administering an overdose of drugs that killed an elderly, dying woman. The victim's son criticized the decision to file charges and said he believed the nurse acted out of mercy.

Daillyn Pavia, 31, of Granite City, Ill., a 10-year nursing veteran, administered drugs that killed Julia Dawson, 86, shortly after Dawson arrived at Saint Louis University Hospital on May 5, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said.

A hospital spokesman said Pavia hasn't worked at the hospital since authorities learned of the allegation, though he declined to say if she was fired. Joyce said there was no indication that the nurse was involved in other deaths. Phone calls to Pavia's home were not returned.

Dawson had suffered a stroke at her home and was taken first to another hospital, then transferred unconscious to Saint Louis University Hospital. There, she was placed on life support.

Pavia, acting on her own, gave Dawson more than 15 times the maximum dosage of morphine that had been prescribed, according to documents filed by the circuit attorney's office. When Dawson didn't die from the morphine overdose, Pavia gave her Propofol, a sedative for which no prescription had been ordered.

Dawson died about 10 minutes later. A medical examiner ruled the drugs given to Dawson probably killed her. Joyce said Pavia admitted administering the drugs.

"It's possible the defense would be this was some kind of act of mercy," Joyce said. "I know from personal experience how difficult it is to have a loved one dying. You can't take the law into your own hands, and the law is you can't take a life."

Dawson's son, Kenneth Dawson, 55, of Bear, Del., defended the nurse's actions. He said his mother was beyond help by the time she arrived at Saint Louis University Hospital.

"All I know is she (Pavia) was going to give her some pain medicine," Kenneth Dawson said. "I'm sad they charged her with murder."

Asked if he believed Pavia was acting out of compassion, Kenneth Dawson said, "I'd be willing to bet my life on it."

Pavia turned herself in to local authorities Monday night, accompanied by defense attorney Scott Rosenblum.

Pavia declined comment, though Rosenblum said he would motion for his client's release on bond.

Pavia could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. No court appearance date has been set.