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Serial Killer

20070913: Suspected Bitsa serial killer confesses to murders Moscow Serial Killer News
Suspected serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, accused of 52 murders, fully admitted his guilt in court, his lawyer Pavel Ivannikov told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

"Pichushkin fully admits his guilt, but does not repent," Ivannikov said.

There will be no special procedure at the trail, as the punishment envisioned for these crimes exceeds more than ten years in jail.

On Thursday, the Moscow City Court selected 12 jurors and another six alternate jurors from 44 candidates.

A jury trial was also requested by the defendant in the course of preliminary hearings. The court has granted his request.

Pichushkin, at the Thursday hearing, recused Roman Shirkin, one of his lawyers. In his opinion, Shirkin "supports the position of the state prosecutor."

Twenty-one victims were present at the hearing. Moscow Prosecutor Yuri Semin leads state prosecution. Semin declined to make any comments after the Thursday session, saying it was "premature."

The next hearing is due on Friday.

Pichushkin is accused under the Criminal Code article on "murder of two or more persons in a helpless state, committed with particular brutality."

Prosecutors said the defendant committed his first murder in the summer of 1992. His victim was a schoolboy in his first year.

The Bitsa killer was murdering with impunity for 14 years. Most of the crimes were committed in Moscow's Bitsa Park in the period from 2001 until his arrest last year.

Investigators said the suspect used to strike an acquaintance with people, win their trust and invite them to the Bitsa park under various pretexts, where he treated them to a generous dose of alcohol. After making them drunk, he took advantage of the victims' helpless state to murder them.

Pichushkin has been charged on 52 counts - 49 murders and three attempted murders. He confessed to another 11 slayings. His statement is now being checked.

Earlier, the Moscow prosecutor said he had been charged only with the proven murders.

"The investigators have no proofs of the murders he had confessed to during the probe. We haven't found corpses or body fragments," he stated.

Pichushkin, a Moscow resident, was detained on June 16, 2006. A psychiatric test found him sane. Forty-one persons have been recognized as victims. Prosecutors intend to question 98 witnesses in the course of the trial.

20070912: 64 to kill Moscow Serial Killer News
Alexander Pichuzkin, 33, is set to go on trial in Moscow for the murder of 51 people. He will almost certainly insist that he killed more. He may even point to the chess diagram he drew in a notebook, each square marked with a date: 61 were filled in, three short of the entire chessboard. The police say they cannot find evidence for that number of bodies dead at Pichuzkin's hands. Many of the grocery-shelf stocker's presumed victims were among Moscow's homeless, lured into a game of chess in a suburban park with glasses of vodka and mournful tales of Pichuzkin's beloved but deceased dog; then they were clubbed on the head with a hammer and tossed into a sewage pit to drown, if they were not dead already.

The victims, mostly older men, were easy prey in a quest that began in 1992 when Pichuzkin, then 18, says he killed a romantic rival. It was the same year that Pichuzkin's true rival, Andrei Chikatilo, the so-called "Butcher of Rostov," was tried and convicted for the murder of 53 women and children. Chikatilo, a terrifying figure who found sexual gratification in the mutilation of innocents, was the grandmaster of murder Pichuzkin sought to defeat and replace.

He has not been shy about admitting to his crimes. Pichuzkin detailed his exploits in a televised confession that aired shortly after his arrest in June 2006, following a five-year stretch of killings that plagued the neighborhoods around Moscow's vast Bitzevsky Park. "For me, a life without murder is like a life without food for you," he declared. "I felt like the father of all these people, since it was I who opened the door for them to another world." At one point, furious that the police had cast their suspicion on another person, he promptly went out and killed two more derelicts. He could be especially cruel. The body of one woman was found with tiny stakes hammered into her skull and around her eyes.

Pichuzhkin said he made his first kill when he was 18. At the time, he said he was conducting an affair with a girl named Olga, who lived next door. When she dumped him up for a mutual friend named Sergei, Pichuzkin says he killed Sergei by throwing him out a window. Though he was originally under suspicion, Pichuzkin says police finally concluded that Sergei's death was suicide. He did not kill again until five years ago, when the Bitzevsky Park murders started. Pichuzkin now claims to have killed his former girlfriend Olga as well, apparently after luring her into Bitzevsky Park.

The police, who arranged for the airing of the confession, were at first skeptical of Pichuzkin's stories. But three of the homeless men he chucked into the sewer survived; and one was lucid enough to identify Pichuzkin and to corroborate his modus operandi. And Pichuzkin's final victim — a co-worker at his grocery store — was skeptical enough about his tale of wanting to show her his dog's grave in the park that she told her son where she was going and gave him Pichuzkin's cellphone number. Pichuzkin was also caught on a subway surveillance cameras with the victim, and when confronted with the taped evidence, he confessed to everything. Proudly, though he did admit to some hesitation about his final murder. "As were heading to the park and talking, I kept thinking whether to kill her or take caution. But finally I decided to take a risk. I was in that mood already."

Might Pichuzkin have been mentally ill and thus not fully responsible for his actions? His mother says that Pichuzhkin, whom she raised alone after her husband abandoned the family, might have been affected by a blow to the head at the age of four; and also by the sudden loss of his grandfather, the only paternal figure in his life. But Russia's preeminent psychiatric institution examined him and declared him sane and fit for trial. Now a jury must decide if his boasts are true and, if so, how to punish him. They cannot sentence him to death. Russia has suspended capital punishment since 1996. Unless the state reactivates the death penalty, Pichuzkin will not be able to match Chikatilo's finale. The Butcher of Rostov was executed in 1994.

"I'm a great fan of chess," Pichuzkin told the police as he handed over his diary to the police. Indeed, his neighbors and friends confirm he was good at resolving problems on a chessboard, a talent to boast about of in chess-mad Russia. But he turned into bloodsport what a Nabokov character saw as an existential revelation. In The Defense the novelist wrote of one chess-obsessed character's epiphany: "...he had seen something unbearably awesome, the full horror of the abysmal depths of chess. He glanced at the chessboard and his brain wilted from hitherto unprecedented weariness. But the chessmen were pitiless, they held and absorbed him. There was horror in this, but in this also was the sole harmony, for what else exists in the world besides chess?"

20070912: Russian 'serial killer' on trial Moscow Serial Killer News
The Russian media has dubbed him the "Bitsevsky Maniac" after the park in southern Moscow where most of the murders were carried out.

The accused man, 33-year-old shop assistant Alexander Pichushkin, sat in a glass cage in court.

Far from denying his crimes, he claims he actually killed 61 people. Many of the victims were elderly men who got drunk with him, investigators say.

He is accused of a 14-year killing spree in southern Moscow, which began in 1992. He was arrested in June 2006.

The victims were drowned in a sewer or bludgeoned to death with a hammer, investigators say.

Many Russians would like to see him executed but, as Russia has suspended the use of death penalty, he faces instead a sentence of life in jail.

Russian press reports say Mr Pichushkin was planning to kill one person for each of the 64 squares on a chessboard.

Given his long confession, it seems certain Mr Pichushkin will be found guilty, the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Moscow.

Friends and relatives of some of the victims were in court for his appearance on Thursday.

"I am ready to tear him into pieces," said Nadezhda, a victim's sister, quoted by Reuters news agency. "How is it possible even to think of releasing such people?"

Before the Pichushkin case came to light, Russia's most notorious serial killer in recent times was Andrei Chikatilo, who killed 53 women and children. He was convicted and executed in 1994.

20061214: Moscow Serial Killer Suspect Charged With 49 Counts of Murder Moscow Serial Killer News
Moscow prosecutors have charged Alexander Pichushkin, 32, nicknamed Bitsa killer by the media in a reference to a locality where he had allegedly committed his crimes in recent months, with killing 49 people. “The man has been detained, arrested and charged on 49 counts of murder,” a top police official told a news conference organized by the Interfax news agency on Thursday. Pichushkin has so far confessed to killing 62 people but investigators say they do not have sufficient proof to believe everything he says. When asked whether the suspect was sane and could be held responsible for his actions, head of the Interior Ministry’s criminal investigation department Alexander Kshevitsky said the man was yet to undergo psychiatric tests but added that the accused was willing to answer investigators’ questions. The probe into Pichushkin’s alleged crimes was launched several months ago. Investigators suspect the man does suffer from a certain mental disorder after all. At times he is very depressed and taciturn, at times he is quite cooperative and willing to talk to investigators, Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote. Alexander Pichushkin, a loader at a small grocery store in southwestern Moscow, was arrested in June of this year on suspicion of killing his colleague. Her body was found in Bitsa Park in mid-June, a day before his arrest. Pichushkin confessed to killing the woman and said that he had planned to kill as many as 64 people.

20060624: Prosecutor’s office brings charges against suspected serial killer Moscow Serial Killer News
The Moscow prosecutor’s office on Friday brought formal charges against a serial killer suspect.

“The evidence gathered so far proved enough to accuse the man, Alexander Pichushkin, of committing at least two murders,” the prosecutor’ s office said.

Police detectives are now probing into the man’s complicity in other similar crimes to find out whether he is really the one whom the general public has dubbed ‘the Bitsevo park maniac.’

Pichushkin was detained on June 14 after years of investigation into several dozen identical murders committed in the area of the Bitsevo Park, in the city’s southwest.


20060623: Moscow Serial Killer News
An alleged serial killer arrested Sunday on suspicion of committing several murders in southern Moscow led prosecutors to the remains of an unidentified man he had confessed to slaying, prosecutors said Friday.

Alexander Pichuzhkin is suspected of killing at least ten people in the Bitsa Park area since 2000. Prosecutors said the latest discovery adds another victim to the toll.

According to forensic specialists taking part in the investigation, most of the victims found in the park were killed with a blow on the head. The latest such murder was committed as recently as June 15.

Earlier Friday, law-enforcement officials said Pichuzhkin had admitted to eight killings and that he would be subjected to a psychiatric examination to assess his sanity.


20060621: “Crazy Chess Player” Serial Killer Confesses to 61 Murders Moscow Serial Killer News
A serial killer detained in Moscow has confessed to killing 61 people of the 64 he was planning to kill — one murder for each of the chessboard checks.

Alexander Pichushkin, 32, a shop assistant, has claimed to be the notorious Bitsa Park serial killer, who Moscow police have been tracking down for more than half a year, Kommersant daily reports.

Pichushkin, who has already been nicknamed “Crazy Chess Player”, said he had initially planned to commit 64 murders, one for each of the chessboard checks. He also said there were three checks vacant, thus admitting to have killed 61.

However the police have found only 14 bodies in the Bitsa Park in the suburbs of Moscow, and the investigators doubt the detainee’s testimony, since he cannot remember where he had hid the rest 47 corpses.

Pichushkin was detained on June 18, on suspicions of killing his co-worker whose body was found in a spring in the park. He admitted his guilt and gave to the police the hammer he had killed the woman with.

20060619: Suspected Serial Killer Arrested in Moscow Moscow Serial Killer News
In connection whith a case that has long gripped the Russian media, Moscow police said Sunday they had arrested a man suspected of having committed more than 10 murders across the city over the past few years.

“The detainee has been arrested and is being questioned,” the Russian Interior Ministry said, quoted by the Interfax news agency.

“In all likelihood, this case will turn out to be even bigger than that of the notorious maniac Chikatilo,” a police spokesman said.

Andrei Chikatilo, who killed 53 teenagers and children in southern Russia, was condemned to death and executed in 1994. The man under arrest, who was not named, is suspected of killing a woman four days ago in Bitsa Park, in southern Moscow.

Copyright 1995-2006 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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