A New York woman accused of trying to kill her look-alike friend by giving her a poisoned cheesecake before stealing her identity allegedly left evidence behind, the prosecutor said on Monday.
Viktoria Nasyrova, a Russian native, left DNA evidence all over the cheesecake box and spoke about her alleged crimes in prison interviews, Assistant District Attorney Konstantinos Litourgis told jurors.
“The DNA that was in that container belongs to Viktoria Nasyrova,” Litourgis said in her opening statement. “So, in addition to everything you’re going to hear from civilian witnesses, you’re going to find out that there’s a cheesecake container that had [tranquilizer] Phenazepam on it and it also had the defendant’s DNA on it.”
Media interviews Nasyrova gave after her arrest will also be a focus during the trial, the prosecutor said.
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“She was asked this specific question … ‘There’s a woman named Olga who looks a lot like you, who said you poisoned her with a piece of cheesecake to steal her identity,’” Litourgis said.
The alleged victim in the case is Olga Tsvyk.
“Do you know what this defendant did when she was questioned? She smiled. And do you know what her response was? ‘I can say I know this person. I know who you mean. I didn’t force her to eat the cheesecake. ‘”
Tsvyk, an eyelash stylist, testified on Monday that Nasyrova had arrived at her Queens home in August 2016, claiming she needed an emergency touch-up appointment.
“She told me, ‘I’m in Brooklyn now. I want to bring you a famous cheesecake from a famous bakery.’ I told her, Viktoria, that’s not necessary, just come,'” Tsvyk said.
Tsvyk said Nasyrova ate two slices of cheesecake immediately upon arrival, before Nasyrova offered her a third slice which prosecutors said was laced with the Russian tranquilizer Phenazepan. Tsvyk said he started feeling sick about 20 minutes after eating the cake.
“I started looking to lie in bed,” Tsvyk told the jury. “I started looking for a pillow. I realized that I was losing consciousness and I said to her: ‘Vika, I feel very bad.’ I started to feel really nauseous. I wanted to vomit. I started throwing up right next to my bed on the floor.”
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“I told her, ‘Vika, I’m going to throw up right now.’ She said, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ll clean it up.’ I remember she went to the bathroom and came back with Bounty,” Tsvyk continued.
Prosecutors claim Nasyrova stole Tsvyk’s passport, money and other belongings and tried to make the incident look like a suicide attempt by smearing pills over the victim’s body.
“Everything was done in this case with great care and method by this defendant… not only did she poison Olga to impersonate her… she also staged her room to make it look like a suicide,” Litourgis told the jury.
But Litourgis says she left her DNA on the cheesecake box and that additional evidence also proves she tried to kill Tsvyk.
Another witness the prosecution plans to call during the trial is a man who claims Nasyrova drugged him after they met on a Russian dating site in 2016.
Litourgis said the man ate fish and vegetables that Nasyrova had cooked and that he woke up three days later in a hospital.
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“Her symptoms almost mirrored Olga’s,” Litourgis said, noting that the man’s watch and money were stolen.
Nasyrova pleaded guilty in a separate attempted larceny case in Brooklyn Supreme Court in 2019, following allegations that she drugged and robbed men she met on dating apps. She is also accused of drugging and killing her neighbor in Russia, setting fire to the body and fleeing to New York.
But his attorney, Christopher Hoyt, told jurors the current case was not as “open and shut” as prosecutors claim.
Nasyrova faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of attempted murder, robbery and other charges.
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