A Polish bookbinder turned railroad worker, Koltun made his first known foray into violent sex crime at age 30. His victim was a Russian woman, assaulted on August 31, 1980, and savagely mauled in a rural area near Poland's border with the Soviet Union. The woman survived his attack, and Koltun remained unidentified, his crime overshadowed by the rise of Solidarity and an epic strike at the Gdansk shipyard. Over the next four months, farming communities in eastern Poland were terrorized by the murders of two women and brutal assaults on four others. Koltun killed his first victim on September 17, inflicting such grievous injuries that he quickly became known as a "vampire." Arrested in January 1981, the slayer confessed his crimes in a series of interviews with psychiatrists and self-styled "sexologists." The early stages of his trial, in April, were closed to protect the public from "gruesome" forensic testimony, but spectators were admitted in time to see Koltun convicted and sentenced to life.