Utah mom not competent for trial in kids' deaths

May 27, 2011 - 6:29 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A judge has ruled a Utah woman not mentally competent to stand trial on charges in the strangulation deaths of her children.

Sun Cha (Soon'-cha) Warhola was ordered Friday to the Utah State Hospital to see if her competency can be restored. Court-appointed evaluators testified she suffers from a serious mental illness and requires substantial treatment.

The Layton woman is charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of 8-year-old James and 7-year-old Jean Warhola. Police say the bodies showed marks around the necks and injuries consistent with a struggle.

Prosecutors joined in asking that Warhola be sent to the state hospital. Her attorney says she has a profound mental illness.

If she is found competent and is convicted of the charges, Warhola could face the death penalty.