Sacramento slayings suspect to face seven murder counts
SACRAMENTO (AP) – Nikolay Soltys was charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of six family members and his unborn child in Sacramento Superior Court Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Ukrainian immigrant told detectives he killed six of his family members, including his pregnant wife, because they were ”poisoning” him, officials said.
Soltys kept his head down while Judge Patrick Marlette read the seven counts against him Tuesday. He didn’t enter a plea and is scheduled to return to court Oct. 2.
Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully said she could file charges in the murder of a fetus, as long as the fetus was at least seven to eight weeks old. Lyubov Soltys was three-months pregnant when she was killed.
”Baby Soltys is the seventh victim. It’s appropriate that he be charged for all victims,” Scully said.
All seven counts against Soltys include special circumstances of using a deadly weapon, making him eligible for possible sentences of life without parole or the death penalty. Scully said she hadn’t decided to seek the death penalty.
Soltys’ attorney, Tommy Clinkenbeard, said he was investigating his client’s background and studying Soltys’ mental state and was ”keeping all our options open.”
That included a possible insanity plea or asking the court to suppress any confession Soltys made to investigators, Clinkenbeard said. ”I’m not happy about being deprived access to my client for two days. Normally, in cases like this, we have access even before the court appoints a lawyer.”
Scully said the amount of pretrial publicity makes changing the location of the trial ”an obvious possibility,” but she will argue to keep the trial in Sacramento.
Family members, Scully said, have received help from her staff.
”We know that their pain and suffering did not stop when the defendant was arrested,” she said. ”I’ve been in this business for more than 22 years and I always think I’ve seen it all … but in terms of domestic violence this probably ranks up at the top.”
Soltys was found hiding under a desk in his mother’s back yard in Citrus Heights Thursday after leading investigators on a 10-day manhunt and landing on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
After his capture, authorities said, Soltys told detectives he killed his pregnant wife, 3-year-old son, aunt, uncle, and two 9-year-old cousins and showed deputies the abandoned home where he said he had been hiding.
On Thursday, when police found Soltys, who was filthy and had several days’ growth of beard, they also found a backpack and sleeping bag nearby. Inside the pack was a 10-inch knife police believe Soltys used to kill his relatives on Aug. 20.
Authorities, however, said they don’t believe Soltys returned to his mother’s home to harm others.
”The impression was he was not coming back to kill them,” said Sacramento sheriff’s Sgt. James Lewis. ”It was more a reaching out to the family.”
In a note Soltys left in his abandoned vehicle, he explained the alleged rampage, saying he killed the cousins to punish their parents for speaking out against him, investigators said. He offered no explanation for the killing of his son – hours after he allegedly stabbed his wife to death.
The arraignment was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Sacramento Superior Court.
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