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Layton mom charged with killing her 2 children not competent for trial, judge says

Sun Cha Warhola appears in 2nd District Court in Farmington on Oct. 18, 2010. A judge on Tuesday found that she is not competent to stand trial on charges of murdering her two children and she will remain in the Utah State Hospital.

Sun Cha Warhola appears in 2nd District Court in Farmington on Oct. 18, 2010. A judge on Tuesday found that she is not competent to stand trial on charges of murdering her two children and she will remain in the Utah State Hospital. (Nicholas Draney, Associated Press. )



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

FARMINGTON — A judge determined Tuesday that a Layton woman charged with killing her two children in 2010 is not competent to proceed with trial and ordered her to remain in the Utah State Hospital for restorative care.

Sun Cha Warhola is charged with two counts of aggravated murder and accused of strangling her two children, James, 8, and Jean Marie, 7 in their home in Layton.

Warhola, 56, has already been held in the Utah State Hospital for about eight years. In 2019, a judge determined that she was competent to stand trial. The trial was scheduled for September 2021, but her attorney said her health was deteriorating in the weeks before the trial while her defense team was seeking to reach a plea deal, leading the court to order a mental health evaluation.

The evaluator asked for some additional time on the evaluation in early November to consult with an expert in Korean culture about competency before submitting an evaluation to the judge on Nov. 22.

Second District Judge Michael Edwards will address whether Warhola is competent for trial again at a hearing on March 8, 2022. The court will need to determine that she can understand the allegations against her and be able to help prepare a defense in order to proceed with the case.

The children's father, Ken Warhola, has called for a prison sentence of at least 25 years for his former wife and has said he fears people will forget about his children. He said he believes his former wife had planned out the children's deaths.

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