Famed Pianist's Wife Ruled Unfit for Murder Trial

She's accused of smothering 2 young daughters
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2016 3:03 AM CDT
Famed Pianist's Wife Ruled Unfit for Murder Trial
This photo provided by the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office shows Sofya Tsygankova.   (Tarrant County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Sofya Tsygankova, the estranged wife of famed Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko, has been declared unfit to stand trial for the murder of the couple's two young daughters earlier this year. NBC reports that a Texas judge has ordered the 32-year-old to spend 120 days in a mental health facility so she can regain "a reasonable degree of rational understanding." Her defense attorney says several doctors who evaluated Tsygankova decided she wasn't mentally competent enough for a trial, and prosecutors did not object. She faces two charges of capital murder of a person under age 10.

Tsygankova, who will remain in the Tarrant County Jail until a bed in a mental health facility becomes available, is accused of smothering 5-year-old Nika Kholodenko and 1-year-old Michaela Kholodenko on March 17 in their home in a Fort Worth suburb. Her husband, who filed for divorce months before the deaths, told police he arrived at the home to find the girls dead and Tsygankova in an "extreme state of distress" with cuts to her wrists. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that according to court documents, Tsygankova visited a mental health facility in Fort Worth the day before the killings. (The tragedy renewed talk of a "Cliburn curse.")

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