The trial of a woman accused of trying to kill her doppelganger friend with poisoned cheesecake kicked off on Monday in New York City.
Prosecutors say Viktoria Nasyrova wanted to kill her friend Olga Tsvyk. Authorities believe that Nasyrova attempted to kill her friend with poisoned cheesecake so she could steal her identity. Nasyrova allegedly wanted to return to her home country of Russia. However, Nasyrova is wanted for the murder of another woman in Russia. Prosecutors suspect that Nasyrova planned to kill her look-alike friend, then use her identity to travel to Russia.
In August 2016, Nasyrova asked Tsvyk — a skin beautification technician specializing in eyelashes — to fix her eyelashes. The Brooklyn native went to Tsvyk’s home in Queens and allegedly served her cheesecake that was laced with poison. The sweet dessert was reportedly laced with the powerful Russian tranquilizer phenazepam.
About 20 minutes after eating the poisoned cheesecake, Tsvyk said she started to feel “very ill.”
“I started to look to lie down on the bed. I started to look for a pillow. I was realizing that I was losing consciousness and I said to her, ‘Vika, I’m feeling really bad.’ I started feeling very nauseous. I wanted to vomit. I started to vomit right by my bed onto the floor,” Tsvyk told jurors on Monday, according to the New York Post. “I told her, ‘Vika, I’m going to throw up right now.’ She said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I will clean it up.’ I remember she went to the bathroom and came back with Bounty.”
Assistant District Attorney Konstantinos Litourgis said, “She immediately gets sick. She starts to vomit. She was hallucinating. She came to realize many of her valuables were gone from her room — almost $4,000 in cash, a red purse, a cherished ring, and, most importantly, her Ukrainian passport and her U.S.-issued employment authorization card.”
Authorities say Nasyrova scattered pills around Tsvyk’s lingerie-clad body to make it appear like a suicide attempt.
“Everything was done in this case very carefully and very methodically by this defendant … not only did she poison Olga in order to impersonate her … she also staged her bedroom to make it look like suicide,” Litourgis told the jury.
Police said Nasyrova had Tsvyk’s passport in her possession when they arrested her.
The district attorney said Nasyrova targeted Tsvyk because they have a similar appearance and both speak Russian.
Authorities suspect Nasyrova was going to use Tsvyk’s passport to travel to Russia. Nasyrova is wanted for the 2014 murder of another woman. Nasyrova was accused of drugging and killing her neighbor in Russia, and then fleeing to New York City.
Litourgis described Nasyrova as a “very smart individual.” However, Nasyrova reportedly made the mistake of leaving her DNA on the cheesecake container.
“The DNA that was on that container belongs to Viktoria Nasyrova,” Litourgis said in his opening statements. “So on top of everything you’re going to hear from civilian witnesses, you’re going to learn that there’s a cheesecake container that had [tranquilizer] Phenazepam in it and also had the defendant’s DNA on it.”
Nasyrova’s attorney, Christopher Hoyt, said during opening statements, “This is not an open-and-shut case. We are here today because Ms. Nasyrova is not guilty of these charges.”
Nasyrova denied trying to poison Tsyvk during an interview on “48 Hours” in 2017. Nasyrova said, “I know this young woman. I can tell you that I did not force her to eat it.”
Before the murder allegations, Nasyrova was suspected of drugging men she met on dating websites and robbing them when they passed out, according to prosecutors.
A man who met Nasyrova on a Russian dating site also suffered ailments that are similar to being drugged.
The man had eaten fish and veggies cooked by Nasyrova. He passed out and woke up three days later in Columbia Presbyterian hospital. His watch and cash had reportedly been stolen.
“His symptoms almost mirrored that of Olga’s,” Litourgis said.
Nasyrova faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of attempted murder, burglary, and others charges.
Trial of a woman accused of poisoning her lookalike with cheesecake begins
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