Monday, 30 May 2011

FILICIDE (multiple): Utah: Sun Cha Warhola charged with killing 2 children found mentally incompetent

May 27th, 2011  Emiley Morgan
FARMINGTON — A woman accused of killing her two young children was deemed incompetent to stand trial Friday.

Sun Cha Warhola, 45, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, a capital offense, for allegedly killing her children, 8-year-old James and 7-year-old Jean, in the family's home on Sept. 8, 2010.

"Two competency evaluations are in, have been filed with the court and both indicate Ms. Warhola is not competent to proceed toward trial," defense attorney Ed Brass said.

The children were found by their father, Kenneth Warhola, who arrived home from work that day and couldn't immediately find his family, according to charging documents. Eventually, he went to the children's bedroom and found the doors closed and barricaded from the inside.

Sun Cha Warhola told the man to wait 10 more minutes before coming in, the charges state. When he returned and pushed the door open, "his wife was inside, and she asked him not to look at the children who were lying on the bed covered with a blanket," the charges state.

Kenneth Warhola ran across the street to call 911. "Distinct ligature marks" consistent with strangulation were discovered on the children's necks.

An inquiry into the woman's competency was initially requested in November. Three separate review hearings were held before the determination of incompetency was made.

Prosecutors said Warhola will be sent to the Utah State Hospital for treatment in an effort to restore the woman to competency.

Brass said his client is "not well and is "severely mentally ill." But, he said, she has not received any threats or hate mail in connection with the accused crime.

"I think people realize that what happened is directly related to the fact that she is profoundly disturbed," Brass said. "(Treating Warhola's illness) is the humane thing to do."

He firmly believes his client wasn't competent when the alleged crime occurred. Even if she is restored to mental competency, he said she could "be ultimately punished for something she can't even remember took place."

A review hearing to re-evaluate Warhola's competency has been set for Nov. 4.

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