Mother must serve up to 15 years for death of adopted son

Date: 2008-10-11
Source: sltrib.com

Mother must serve up to 15 years for death of adopted son

Melinda Rogers
The Salt Lake Tribune
October 11, 2008

TOOELE - A Tooele mother who admitted to killing a 14-month-old boy she and her husband adopted from Russia was sentenced Friday to prison for up to 15 years.

Kimberly K. Emelyantsev, 34, who had pleaded guilty to second-degree felony child-abuse homicide in the death of Nicoli Emelyantsev, offered a tearful apology in 3rd District Court.

"What I did was cause the death of my son and I will never get over that, ever. I'm ashamed," Emelyantsev told Judge Mark Kouris. "I would just like you to know, sir, that I am truly sorry. But sorry will never bring him back."

Defense attorney Jon Williams noted that one of the couple's three biological children, and the two children they adopted from Russia, were born with Down syndrome.

Williams said Emelyantsev blamed the death of the boy on a stressful home environment and the "pressures of a husband [32-year-old Fyodor Emelyantsev] who would not participate in an extraordinary familial situation."

Williams added that Kimberly Emelyantsev never wanted to adopt this child from Russia, but was afraid to say no to her husband and afraid of how it would look to others if she did not go through with the adoption.

Noting that his client suffered from a depressive disorder at the time of the homicide, Williams asked the judge to impose jail and probation, rather than prison.

Attorney Doug Hogan said the violence involved in the baby's death warranted a prison sentence.

Emelyantsev initially claimed that out of frustration she deliberately dropped the baby twice to the floor on March 6.

But during a recent diagnostic evaluation at the Utah State Prison, Emelyantsev admitted grabbing the child by an arm and a leg, slamming him to the floor, and then repeating the action.

The baby died the following day from a skull fracture, according to charging documents.

The judge told Emelyantsev that although she deserved prison time, "I understand that you aren't a mean person."

"As terrible as this is, there is going to be life on the other side of this," the judge added.

In addition to the homicide charge, Emelyantsev and her husband had been charged with allegedly starving a 4-year-old boy they adopted from Russia. Those charges were dropped in June because of insufficient evidence.

The couple's three biological children along with the 4-year-old Russian boy were placed in the custody of Emelyantsev's family after the two were charged. Emelyantsev plans to permanently relinquish custody.
mrogers@sltrib.com

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