The Serial Killer Compendium, p.14R. J. Parker
Then again, on June 12th, 1982, Chikatilo encountered Lyubov Biryuk, thirteen, walking home from a shopping trip in the village of Donskoi. Once the path both were taking together was shielded from the view of potential witnesses by bushes, Chikatilo pounced upon Biryuk, dragged her into nearby undergrowth, tore off her blue floral dress, and killed her by stabbing and slashing her to death. Following Biryuk's murder, Chikatilo no longer attempted to resist his homicidal urges. Between July and December, 1982, he killed a further six victims between the ages of nine and nineteen.
Chikatilo established a pattern of approaching children, runaways, and young vagrants at bus or railway stations, enticing them to a nearby forest or other secluded area, and killing them, usually by stabbing, slashing, and disemboweling the victim with a knife. Some victims, in addition to receiving a multitude of knife wounds, were also strangled, had their eyes gouged out, or battered to death. Chikatilo's adult female victims were often prostitutes or homeless women who could be lured to secluded areas with promises of alcohol or money. Chikatilo would typically attempt intercourse with these victims, but he would usually be unable to get an erection, which would again send him into a murderous fury, especially if the woman mocked his impotence. He would achieve orgasm only when he stabbed the victim to death.
Chikatilo did not kill again until June 1983, but he had killed five more times by September of that year. The accumulation of bodies and the similarities between the patterns of wounds inflicted on the victims forced the Soviet authorities to acknowledge that a serial killer was on the loose, and on September 6th, 1983, the public prosecutor of the USSR formally linked six of the murders thus far committed to the same killer.
A Moscow investigative team of police officers, headed by Major Mikhail Fetisov, was sent to Rostov-on-Don to direct the investigation. Major Fetisov centered the investigations on the Shakhty area and assigned a specialist forensic analyst, Victor Burakov, to lead the investigation. Due to the absolute savagery of the murders, much of the police effort concentrated on homosexuals, known pedophiles, mentally ill citizens, and sex offenders, slowly working through all that were known and eliminating them from the investigation. Three known homosexuals and a convicted sex offender committed suicide because of the investigator’s unsympathetic tactics. But as police obtained confessions from suspects, bodies continued to be discovered, proving that the suspects who had confessed could not be the killer the police were seeking.
In October of 1983, Chikatilo killed a nineteen-year-old prostitute and in December a fourteen-year-old pupil named Sergey Markov. In January and February of 1984, Chikatilo killed two women in Rostov's Aviators Park and on March 24th, lured Dmitry Ptashnikov, ten years old, away from a stamp kiosk in Novoshakhtinsk. While walking with the boy, Chikatilo was seen by several witnesses who were able to give investigators a detailed description of the killer. When the boy’s body was found three days later, police also discovered a footprint of the killer, as well as semen and saliva samples on the victim's clothes.
On May 25th, Chikatilo killed a young woman, Tatyana Petrosyan, and her eleven-year-old daughter, Svetlana, in a wooded area outside Shakhty. Tatyana had known Chikatilo for several years prior to her murder. By July 19th, he had killed three more young women between the ages of nineteen and twenty-two, and a boy of only thirteen.
Chikatilo was fired in 1984 from his work as a supply clerk for theft. The allegation had been filed against Chikatilo the previous February and he had been asked to leave quietly, but had refused to do so as he had disapproved of the charges. Chikatilo found another job as a supply clerk in Rostov and in early August he killed Natalya Golosovskaya, sixteen, in Aviators Park, and the next day another girl only seventeen, dumping her body on the banks of the Don River before flying to the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent on a business trip.
By the time Chikatilo returned to Rostov in mid-August, he had killed another young woman and a twelve-year-old girl. Within two weeks, an eleven year-old boy had been found strangled and castrated with his eyes gouged out in Rostov before a young librarian, Irina Luchinskaya, was killed in Rostov's Aviators Park in early September. Exactly one week after his fifteenth killing of the year, Chikatilo was observed by an undercover detective attempting to lure young women away from a Rostov bus station. He was arrested and held. A search of his belongings revealed a knife and rope. He was also discovered to be under investigation for minor theft at one of his former employers, which gave the investigators the legal right to hold him for a prolonged period. Chikatilo's dubious background was uncovered, and his physical description matched the description of the man seen with Dmitry Ptashnikov in March. These factors alone did not provide enough evidence to convict him of the murders. He was, however, found guilty of theft of property from his previous employer and sentenced to one year in prison, but was freed on December 12th, 1984 after serving only three months.
Following the September 6th murder of Irina Luchinskaya, no further bodies were found bearing the trademark mutilation of Chikatilo's murders. Investigators in Rostov theorized that the unknown killer might have moved to another part of the Soviet Union and continued killing there. The Rostov police sent bulletins to all forces throughout the Soviet Union, describing the pattern of wounds their unknown killer inflicted upon his victims, and requested feedback from any police force that had discovered victims with wounds matching those upon the victims found in the Rostov Oblast. The response was negative.
Upon his release from jail, Chikatilo found new work in Novocherkassk and kept a low profile. He did not kill again until seven months after getting out of jail when he murdered a young woman close to Domodedovo Airport, near Moscow. One month later, in August, Chikatilo killed another woman in Shakhty. Both victims were linked to the hunt for the killer as the same modus operandi was used in the killings.
In November of 1985, a special procurator named Issa Kostoyev was appointed to supervise the investigation of the serial killer. The known murders around Rostov were carefully re-investigated and police began questioning known sex offenders again. The following month, the militia and Voluntary People's Druzhina renewed the patrolling of railway stations around Rostov. The police also took the step of consulting a psychiatrist, Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky, the first such consultation in a serial killer investigation in the Soviet Union. Bukhanovsky produced a sixty-five page psychological profile of the unknown killer for the investigators, describing the killer as a man between forty-five and fifty years old who was of average intelligence, likely to be married or had previously been married, but also a sadist who could achieve sexual arousal only by seeing his victims suffer. Bukhanovsky also argued that because many of the killings had occurred on weekdays near mass transportation and across the entire Rostov Oblast, the killer's work required him to travel regularly and, based upon the actual days of the week when the killings had occurred, the killer was most likely tied to a production schedule.
Chikatilo followed the investigation carefully, reading newspaper reports about the manhunt for the killer, and kept his homicidal urges under control. Throughout 1986 he is not known to have committed any murders. That did not last long.
In 1987, Chikatilo killed three more times. On each occasion he killed while on a business trip far away from the Rostov Oblast, and none of those murders were linked to the manhunt in Rostov. Chikatilo's committed his first murder of 1987 in May when he killed a thirteen-year-old boy named Oleg Makarenkov in Revda. In July, he killed another boy in Zaporozhye, and a third in Leningrad in September. In 1988, Chikatilo killed three times, murdering an unidentified woman in Krasny-Sulin in April, and two boys in May and July. His first killing bore wounds similar to those inflicted on the victims linked to the manhunt killed between 1982 and 1985, but as the woman had been killed with a slab of concrete, investigators were unsure whether or not to link the murder to the investigation. In May of the same year, Chikatilo killed a nine-year-old boy in Ilovaisk, Ukraine. The boy's wounds left no doubt that
Chikatilo did not kill again for another year, not until March 8th, 1989, when he killed a sixteen-year-old girl in his daughter's vacant apartment. He dismembered her body and hid the remains in a sewer. As the victim had been dismembered, police did not link her murder to the investigation. Between May and August, Chikatilo killed a further four victims, three of whom were killed in Rostov and Shakhty, although only two of the victims were linked to the killer.
On January 14th, 1990, Chikatilo killed an eleven-year-old boy in Shakhty. On March 7th, he killed a ten-year old boy named Yaroslav Makarov in Rostov Botanical Gardens. The eviscerated body was found the following day. On March 11th, the leaders of the investigation, headed by Mikhail Fetisov, held a meeting to discuss progress made in the hunt for the killer. Fetisov was under intense pressure from the public, the press, and the Ministry of the Interior in Moscow, to solve the case. The intensity of the manhunt in the years up to 1984 had receded a degree between 1985 and 1987, when only two victims had been conclusively linked to the killer, both of them in 1985.
But by March 1990, six further victims had been linked to the serial killer. Fetisov had noted laxity in some areas of the investigation, and warned that people would be fired if the killer was not caught soon. Chikatilo killed three further victims by August. On April 4th, he killed a thirty-one year old woman in woodland near Donleskhoz station; on July 28th, he lured a thirteen year old boy away from a Rostov train station and killed him in Rostov Botanical Gardens; and on August 14th, he killed an eleven year old boy in the reeds near Novocherkassk beach.
Police deployed a very visible 360 men at all the stations in the Rostov Oblast, and positioned undercover officers at the three smallest stations: Kirpichnaya, Donleskhoz, and Lesoste. These were the routes through the Oblast where the killer had struck most frequently. Police hoped to force the killer to strike at one of these three stations. The operation was implemented on October 27th, 1990, but, on October 30th, police found the body of a sixteen-year-old boy named Vadim Gromov at Donleskhoz Station. Gromov, however, had been killed on October 17th, ten days before the start of the initiative. The same day Gromov's body was found, Chikatilo lured another sixteen year-old boy, Viktor Tishchenko, off a train at Kirpichnaya Station, a different station under surveillance from undercover police, and killed him in a nearby forest.
Just six days later, Chikatilo killed and mutilated a twenty-two year-old woman named Svetlana Korostik in a woodland near Donleskhoz Station. While leaving the crime scene, an undercover officer spotted him approach a well and wash his hands and face. When Chikatilo approached the station, the undercover officer noted that his coat had grass and soil stains on the elbows, and Chikatilo had a small red smear on his cheek. To the officer, he looked suspicious. The only reason people entered woodland near the station at that time of year was to gather wild mushrooms, a popular pastime in Russia. Chikatilo, however, was not dressed like a typical forest hiker. He was wearing more formal attire. Moreover, he had a nylon sports bag, which was not suitable for carrying mushrooms.
The undercover police officer stopped Chikatilo and checked his papers, but had no formal reason to arrest him. When the police officer returned to his office, he filed a routine report, containing the name of the person he had stopped at the train station. On November 13th, Korostik's body was found. Police summoned the officer in charge of surveillance at Donleskhoz Station and examined the reports of all men stopped and questioned in the previous week. Chikatilo's name was among those reports, and his name was familiar to several officers involved in the case, as he had been questioned in 1984 and placed upon a 1987 suspect list that had been compiled and distributed throughout the Soviet Union. Upon checking with Chikatilo's present and previous employers, investigators were able to place Chikatilo in various towns and cities at times when several victims linked to the investigation had been killed.
Former colleagues from Chikatilo's teaching days informed investigators that Chikatilo had been forced to resign from his teaching position due to complaints of sexual assault from several pupils. Police placed Chikatilo under surveillance on November 14th. In several instances, particularly on trains or buses, he was observed approaching lone young women or children and engaging them in conversation. If the woman or child broke off the conversation, Chikatilo would wait a few minutes and then seek another conversation partner. On November 20th, after six days of surveillance, Chikatilo left his house with a one-gallon flask of beer and wandered around Novocherkassk attempting to make contact with children. Upon exiting a cafe, Chikatilo was arrested by four plainclothes police officers.
After being arrested, Chikatilo gave a statement claiming that the police were mistaken, and complained that he had also been arrested in 1984 for the same series of murders. A strip search revealed that one of Chikatilo's fingers had a flesh wound, and medical examiners concluded the wound was, in fact, from a human bite. Chikatilo's second to last victim was a physically strong sixteen year-old youth. At the crime scene, the police had found numerous signs of a ferocious physical struggle between the victim and his murderer. Although a finger bone was found to be broken and his fingernail had been bitten off, Chikatilo had never sought medical treatment for the wound. A search of Chikatilo's belongings revealed that he had been in possession of a folding knife at the time of his arrest. Chikatilo was placed in a cell inside the KGB headquarters in Rostov with a police informant who was instructed to engage Chikatilo in conversation and obtain any information he could from him.
The next day, the 21st of November, formal questioning of Chikatilo was begun by Issa Kostoyev. The police’s strategy to elicit a confession from Chikatilo was to lead him to believe that he was a very sick man in need of medical help. This was done in order to give Chikatilo hope that, if he confessed, he would not be prosecuted by reason of insanity. Police knew their case against Chikatilo was largely circumstantial, and under Soviet law they had ten days in which they could legally hold a suspect before they either had to charge him or release him. Throughout the questioning, Chikatilo repeatedly denied that he had committed the murders, although he did confess to molesting his pupils during his career as a teacher.
On November 29th, at the request of Burakov and Fetisov, Dr. Aleksandr Bukhanovsky, the psychiatrist who had written the 1985 psychological profile of the then-unknown killer for the investigators, was invited to assist in the questioning of the suspect. Bukhanovsky read extracts from his sixty-five page psychological profile to Chikatilo. Within two hours, Chikatilo confessed to the thirty-six murders that police had linked to the killer. On November 30th, he was formally charged with each of these thirty-six murders, all of which had been committed between June of 1982 and November of 1990.
Chikatilo also confessed to a further twenty killings which had not been connected to him as the murders had been committed outside the Rostov Oblast, and the bodies had not been found. Chikatilo then led police to the body of Aleksey Khobotov, a boy he had confessed to killing in 1989, and who he had buried in woodland near a Shakhty cemetery, proving unequivocally that he was the killer. He later led investigators to the bodies of two other victims he had confessed to killing. Three of the fifty-six victims Chikatilo confessed to killing could not be found or identified, hence Chikatilo was charged with killing fifty-three women and children between 1978 and 1990.
Chikatilo stood trial in Rostov on April 14th, 1992. It was necessary to keep him in an iron cage in a corner of the courtroom to protect him from attack by the many hysterical and enraged relatives of his victims. Relatives of victims regularly shouted threats and insults to Chikatilo throughout the trial, demanding that authorities release him s
Chikatilo regularly interrupted the trial, exposing himself, singing, and refusing to answer questions put to him by the judge. He was regularly removed from the courtroom for interrupting the proceedings. In July of 1992, Chikatilo demanded that the judge be replaced for making too many rash remarks about his guilt. His defense counsel backed the claim. The judge looked to the prosecutor, and the prosecutor backed the defense's judgment, stating that the judge had indeed made too many such remarks. The judge ruled the prosecutor be replaced instead.
Sentencing and Execution
On October 15th, Chikatilo was found guilty of fifty-two of the fifty-three murders and sentenced to death for each offense. Chikatilo kicked his bench across his cage when he heard the verdict, and began shouting abuse. He was offered a final chance to make a speech in response to the verdict, but remained silent. Upon passing final sentence, Judge Leonid Akhobzyanov made the following speech: “Taking into consideration the monstrous crimes he committed, this court has no alternative but to impose the only sentence that he deserves. I therefore sentence him to death.”
On January 4th, 1994, Russian President Boris Yeltsin refused a final appeal for clemency for Chikatilo, and ten days later he was taken to a soundproofed room in a Novocherkassk prison and executed with a single gunshot behind the right ear.
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