Pianist's estranged wife not fit to stand trial for Texas murder: lawyer
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By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The estranged wife of Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko has been declared unfit to stand trial on charges of murdering her two daughters at her Texas home and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment, her lawyer said on Thursday.
Sofya Tsygankova, 32, was charged in March with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of daughters, Nika, 5, and Michela, 1. The charges can bring the death penalty.
"The court (on Wednesday) found that Sofya was incompetent to proceed to a trial or any court proceedings," lawyer Joetta Keene said in an email, adding Tsygankova was examined by several doctors who gave their opinions to the court.
"The judge ordered her to a state-run psychiatric hospital where she will be treated and reevaluated by them," Keene said. If Tsygankova regains competency, she can stand trial.
Police said they believe Tsygankova smothered her two daughters with a pillow and then attempted suicide.
Kholodenko discovered the killings when he went to pick up his children at his wife's home in the Fort Worth area, police records said.
The pianist found Sofya inside a bedroom closet, wearing a blood-soaked nightgown with cuts to her wrists and a puncture wound on her chest, according to the records.
Kholodenko and Tsygankova married in 2010 but filed for divorce about a year ago, according to court records.
In 2013, Kholodenko won the gold medal in the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He has been an artist in residence with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz)
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