The estranged wife of a highly respected pianist will not stand trial for at least four months for allegedly killing their two daughters. Court records filed in the case reveal that Vadym Kholodenko’s wife was ruled to be incompetent to face the two charges of murder levied against her.
In his ruling on Monday, State District Judge Ruben Gonzalez ordered 32-year-old Sofya Tsygankova to be treated at a state mental health facility for 120 days. The commitment of the pianist’s wife is intended to restore her competency to stand trial on two charges of murdering a person under 10 years of age, which is a capital offense, although, according to WSAU, prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty in this case. In his ruling, Gonzalez states his belief that after receiving treatment, Tsygankova could gain the competency to participate in her defense by being able to attain the “reasonable degree of rational understanding” needed to consult with her lawyers and understand the court proceedings.
The pianist’s wife is charged with suffocating her daughters, 1-year-old Michaela Kholodenko and 5-year-old Nika Kholodenko, on March 17. The Tarrant County medical examiner determined the girls had been killed by asphyxiation. It is unknown what was used by the pianist’s wife to smother the girls, although Star-Telegram reports she may have used pillows.
— Androvett Legal News (@AndrovettLegal) November 3, 2016
The report submitted to the court by Dr. Barry Norman, who evaluated the pianist’s wife and determined her incompetent to stand trial, has been sealed by Judge Gonzalez. Prosecutors did not contest Norman’s evaluation of the pianist’s wife and, as a result, Gonzalez did not believe a competency hearing was necessary.
Defense attorney Joetta Keene told Star-Telegram both the defense and the prosecution signed the court order.
“Several doctors have evaluated her and have reached the conclusion that she is not competent for a trial (or) court proceedings at this time.”
Kholodenko won the gold medal in the 2013 Cliburn Piano Competition and, according to his biography on the Cliburn Piano Competition website, tours internationally to play with world-renowned orchestras. Star-Telegram reports the pianist was in the midst of divorcing his wife at the time his daughters were killed.
Court records filed at the time of Tsygankova’s arrest indicate Kholodenko discovered the murders after arriving at her Forth Worth home in order to bring their daughters to school. Inside, the pianist discovered his estranged wife in a bedroom closet, having cut her wrists, covered in blood. WSAU also reports the pianist’s wife had suffered a puncture wound to her chest. Their two daughters were lying motionless in bed.
— Cathy (@courtchatter) March 23, 2016
Star-Telegram says that during an interview with police, the pianist’s wife acknowledged she had cut her own wrists and had also taken pills in an attempt to kill herself. She told police she did not remember hurting her daughters.
“Did I do anything bad to my kids?”
Tsygankova was known to suffer from mental health and mental development issues. Star-Telegram reports she was at the Fort Worth MHMR the day before her husband discovered their daughters dead. According to the website for the MHMR, they treat individuals who need healthcare relating to addiction, intellectual disabilities or delays, and psychiatric disorders. An empty bottle of a newly prescribed antipsychotic drug was taken from the home after the murders.
The pianist’s wife has been held in the Tarrant County jail. She will remain there until a place opens up in a state hospital. According to the Inquisitr, Tsygankova has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.
[Featured Image by Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office/Ap Images]