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Soltys charged with Seven Counts of Murder - 2001-09-04

The Ukrainian immigrant suspected of killing six family members has been charged with seven counts of murder, including that of his unborn child.

Prosecutors in Sacramento, California, charged Nikolay Soltys with the stabbing deaths of his pregnant wife, an elderly aunt and uncle, two 9 year-old cousins and his 3 year-old son. Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully added that the unnamed fetus called "baby Soltys" was the seventh victim.

California authorities can file murder charges in the death of a fetus that is at least seven weeks old, and Nikolay Soltys's wife was three months pregnant.

The 27 year-old immigrant could face a death sentence or life in prison without parole, if he is found guilty. The prosecutor did not say whether she will seek the death penalty.

Police found Nikolay Soltys hiding behind his mother's house on Thursday after he had eluded police for 10 days.

The killings August 20 terrified the community of Ukrainian and Russian immigrants in the California city. The court has appointed a public defender, who says he is investigating his client's background and mental state, and that possible options include an insanity plea.