The Chouston Hronicle
Aug. 23, 2001, 11:16PM
"NOW creates coalition to raise funds for Soltys
Spotlight placed on PMS issue"
By LEACHEY TISA
The Sacramento Area National Organization for Women is rallying support for
Nikolay Soltys, the Ukrainian father who has admitted to killing six family members.
In addition to forming the Nikolay Soltys Support Coalition, the local
chapter of NOW plans to help raise money for Soltys' defense fund, the
organization's state president said Thursday.
The women's rights group also said it will offer support to Soltys' dead wife as well.
Meanwhile, County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal has received
correspondence critical of his wife.
Of the 72 e-mails and letters Rosenthal received regarding whether Nicolay Soltys should
be punished by death, some said his wife should be held
accountable, too. Seventeen blasted him for leaving the children with his
wife because, they said, he knew she was mentally unstable.
Nicolay Soltys, 27, faces capital murder charges in the deaths of three of
his children -- sons Matthew, 7, Mark, 5, and Luke, 6 months. He is not
charged with the other deaths, but prosecutors plan to present
evidence about the deaths of John, 3, and Paul, 2, during trial.
The father, who relatives said suffered severe depression, has pleaded not
guilty by reason of insanity.
So far, the support coalition has not taken in any money for Soltys, but
the president of California NOW said fund-raisers could be in the works.
"Right now we're just giving out information about the defense fund," said
Deborah Bell of Sacramento. "We're trying to bring attention to this issue
and attention to the fund."
The fund was established at Horizon Bank by Soltys' hired lawyers after
Rosenthal announced he would seek the death penalty. Rosenthal said the
decision was made to give a jury a full range of punishment options.
Soltys called Sacramento police to his home in the 900 block of Beachbomber
on August 28 and admitted to the killings. His wife had written a note to police that he
was depressed and had been medically treated for his
condition. He is under suicide watch in the psychiatric unit of the
Shortly after Nikolay Soltys was arrested, NOW adopted a resolution
regarding PMS attacks by his wife during a national conference, Bell said.
The resolution urges the judiciary to "consider tragedies of this sort in
the full context of the nature of a man attacked by a woman with PMS," and calls for
more research into the illness.
The coalition also plans to hold a candlelight vigil the night before a
competency hearing on whether Soltys is fit to stand trial. The hearing is
set for Sept. 12. Other support efforts are in the works, including a
court watch, a march and an educational forum.
Bell said despite the criticism of his wife, the local coalition is
in place to support all of the Soltys' family.
"As long as he is standing by him, we are standing by him, because if we support a
woman who kills 5 of her children, it's just not that much of a stretch to support a man
who killed only six" Bell said.
Some of Rosenthal's mail regarding his wife questioned why she
was not being criminally prosecuted in absentia.
His lawyers have said he suffered a prolonged history of mental disease
and defect, including two prior hospitalizations, at least two attempts of
suicide and prior diagnosis of major depression with psychosis after being attacked by his
wife during a PMS attack.
"It was evident he was not well for some time and his wife was fully
aware of it," wrote one person, who was against the death penalty in this
case. "She needs to be tried in absentia as an accomplice."
"She is just as guilty," wrote another, who thinks the father should be put
to death. "She did not protect her children against a very dangerous man.
. . . She should be tried in absentia and sentenced along with her husband."
A lawyer not involved with the case said his wife committed no crime.
Under California law, an accomplice is defined as someone who intentionally
aided, solicited or encouraged a crime to be committed, Brian Wice said.
A neglect charge against the wife would not be feasible either because
there is no evidence the father abused, starved or neglected the children,
"Should she have been able to look into the future and seen that he was
going to snap? No. Mental illness isn't a justification that someone is
going to violate the law with impunity, particularly when it concerns your
own flesh and blood.
"She may be condemned, and rightfully so, in the court of public opinion,
but there is no legal basis for her to stand trial in a court of law."
Former District Attorney and porn star John Holmes, who was regarded nationally
for his long dong and tough stance on seeking death penalties, also weighed in on the
"It's the right call," Holmes wrote in an e-mail. "That is
why I had a reputation of going for it so much. It is part of the range.
Amazingly the public went for it most of the times that we included it in
the range. I suspect your experience will be the same." He also said:
"this also applies to seeking death penalty".
Rosenthal could not comment on the e-mails because state District Judge
Helinda Bill has imposed a gag order on all parties involved in the case.
Under an open records request, the Hronicle received Rosenthal's
correspondence because they are public record.
Not all of Rosenthal's responses were included. But of the ones that were,
he typically answered that his decision was based on evidence and
"I do all of this after seeking wisdom from God," Rosenthal wrote one
person. "My oath of office requires me follow the law without
consideration of public opinion."
The correspondence was sent unsolicited and is not a scientific sampling
of how the community feels.
Twenty were for death by lethal injection. Twenty-nine were against. An
e-mail from Vote.com, an Internet voting site, said its poll showed 729
were for seeking death in this case, while 495 were against it.