FARMINGTON — A judge ruled a woman accused of strangling her two children is incompetent to stand trial.
Sun Cha Warhola, 45, appeared before Judge David Connors in 2nd District Court on Friday. She is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, each having the possibility of a death sentence.
Prosecutors have up to 60 days after a felony arraignment hearing to file their intent to seek the death penalty. The case is not at that level yet.
Police found her two children — James, 8, and Jean, 7, — in a bedroom on Sept. 8, 2010, in their Layton home, after their father, Kenneth Warhola called 911 to report something was wrong.
“She is severely, mentally ill,” said her attorney, Ed Brass, after the hearing.
A hearing to review Sun Cha Warhola’s mental competency is set for Nov. 4.
Kenneth Warhola, who was not at Friday’s hearing, filed for divorce from Sun Cha Warhola in November of 2010. A court hearing about the divorce is set for June 8 before Judge David Hamilton.
Brass said in court that two doctors have found his client mentally incompetent to stand trial and recommended that she should be sent to the Utah State Hospital to receive medication to help her restore her mental competency.
Sun Cha Warhola, who stood next to Brass, was visibly upset as she tried not to cry. An interpreter stood next to her translating the court proceedings from English to Korean.
After the hearing, Brass said Sun Cha Warhola is not “doing well” emotionally or mentally.
Also, she has not received any hate mail or death threats, “because people recognize she is profoundly disturbed,” Brass said.
Brass said sending her to the state hospital to receive treatment is “the most humane thing we can do, especially since she was incompetent when (the children died). She can’t even remember it took place.”
According to court documents, the children had marks on their neck consistent with strangulation. Their father, Kenneth Warhola, had come home from work and found his wife had barricaded the door to James’ bedroom.
She told him “to give her 10 minutes before coming into the room.”
When he returned, the door was still barricaded, so he pushed it open, the documents state.
Sun Cha Warhola told Kenneth “not to look at the children who were lying on the bed covered with a blanket. He felt his son’s face and found it cold to the touch and he then called police,” according to the document.
Kenneth Warhola then left the house and called police from a neighbor’s home.