Famed pianist’s wife claims she doesn’t remember smothering her children to death

Lawyers for the Texas woman accused of smothering her two young children to death last year plan to use the insanity defense in her upcoming trial for the murders.

According to the Star-Telegram, Sofya Tsygankova is facing trial for charges that she smothered her two daughters, Michaela Kholodenko, 1, and Nika Kholodenko, 5, in March of last year.

The suspect’s estranged husband, Vadym Kholodenko, is a world class professional pianist who won the gold medal at the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013.

Kholodenko had begun divorce proceedings against his wife at the time of the killings.

The father found his children dead in their beds when he went to pick them up from their Benbrook, Texas, home on the morning of March 16, 2016. Sofya was covered in blood and had cuts on her wrists.

The suspect later told police that she had no recollection of hurting her children but wanted to take her own life that day. She said she remembered taking pills and cutting herself.

According to police affidavit obtained by the Star-Telegram, the suspect visited a mental health facility the day before the apparent murders and has just filled a prescription for an anti-psychotic drug.

Sofya’s attorney claims she was clinically insane at the time of the murders, and told the newspaper she has been diagnosed with severe mental illness.

“Her condition was such that she was declared incompetent — that is, unable to understand what happens in a trial or even the functions of lawyers and judges,” Keene told the Star-Telegram.

“If she is found not guilty by reason of insanity, she would be incarcerated in a mental health facility and not a prison. She would be under the judge’s supervision for the rest of her life.”

If state prosecutors accept the insanity defense, the suspect will be placed in a state mental hospital. If they do not, the case will proceed to trial.



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