Utah mother ruled competent to stand trial in child killings

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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) — A Utah woman charged with killing her two children nine years ago has been deemed competent to stand trial after spending years at the state mental hospital while her case was on hold.

Sun Cha Warhola, 53, will be transferred to a county jail after Judge Michael Edwards made the ruling Monday based on new mental health evaluations from the state mental hospital and an independent psychologist, the Standard-Examiner reported .

Warhola was charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the 2010 strangulation deaths of her two children, James, 8, and Jean, 7.

The children were found dead by their father after Warhola barricaded herself inside her son's room using a bed in their Layton home 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City. Police found injuries to Warhola's arms and legs that they said indicated the children tried to make their mother stop.

Warhola had been in the state mental hospital since 2011, after her attorneys argued she likely suffered from "severe mental illness." That put the trial on hold.

Her next court hearing is scheduled for June 10. A trial date has not been set.

Prosecutors could seek the death penalty in the case but have not said if they will.


Information from: Standard-Examiner, http://www.standard.net

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