Monday, 18 February 2013

Real Life Horror: The Butcher Of Rostov

Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was a Soviet serial killer, nicknamed The Butcher of Rostov, The Red Ripper, and The Rostov Ripper, who committed the murder of a minimum of 52 women and children between 1978 and 1990 in the Russian SFSR.

Andrei Chikatilo was born on 16 October 1936
 in the village of Yabluchne in modern Sumy Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. He was born soon after the mass famine in Ukraine caused by crop failures and Joseph Stalin's forced collectivisation of agriculture. Mass starvation ran rampant throughout Ukraine and reports of cannibalism soared. Throughout his childhood, Chikatilo was repeatedly told by his mother, Anna, that prior to his birth, an older brother of his named Stepan had been kidnapped and cannibalized by starving neighbors, although it has never been independently established whether this incident actually occurred.

Chikatilo's parents were both farm labourers who lived in a one-room hut. As a child, Chikatilo slept on a single bed with his parents. He was a chronic bed wetter and was berated and beaten by his mother for each offense. When the Soviet Union entered World War II, his father, Roman, was drafted into the Red Army and subsequently taken prisoner after being wounded in combat. During the war, Chikatilo witnessed some of the effects of Blitzkrieg, which both frightened and excited him. On one occasion, Chikatilo and his mother were forced to watch their hut burn to the ground. In 1943, while Chikatilo's father was away at the front, his mother gave birth to a baby girl, Tatyana. It has been speculated the child was conceived as a result of rape committed by a German soldier. In 1949, Chikatilo's father returned home. Instead of being rewarded for his war service, he was branded a traitor for surrendering to the Germans.

Shy and studious as a child, Chikatilo developed a passion for reading: by his teens he was an avid reader of Communist literature and was appointed chairman of the pupils' Communist committee at his school. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, he was consistently a target for bullying by his peers. During adolescence, he discovered that he suffered from chronic impotence, worsening his social awkwardness and self-hatred. Chikatilo was shy in the company of females: his only sexual experience as a teenager was when he, aged 17, jumped on an 11-year-old friend of his younger sister and wrestled her to the ground, ejaculating as the girl struggled in his grasp. In 1953, Chikatilo finished school and applied for a scholarship at the Moscow State University; although he passed the entrance examination, his grades were not good enough for acceptance. Between 1957 and 1960, Chikatilo performed his compulsory military service.

In 1963, Chikatilo married a woman to whom he was introduced by his younger sister. The couple had a son and daughter. Chikatilo later claimed that his marital sex life was minimal and that, after his wife understood that he was unable to maintain an erection, he and his wife agreed that in order that she could conceive, he would ejaculate externally and push his semen inside her vagina with his fingers. In 1965, their daughter Lyudmila was born, followed by son Yuri in 1969. In 1971, Chikatilo completed a correspondence course in Russian literature and obtained his degree in the subject from Rostov University. Chikatilo began his career as a teacher of Russian language and literature in Novoshakhtinsk. His career as a teacher ended in March 1981 after several complaints of child molestation against pupils of both sexes. Chikatilo eventually took a job as a supply clerk for a factory.

In September 1978, Chikatilo moved to Shakhty, a small coal mining town near Rostov-on-Don, where he committed his first documented murder. On 22 December, Chikatilo lured a 9-year-old girl named Yelena Zakotnova to an old house which he had secretly purchased; he attempted to rape her, but failed to achieve an erection. When the girl struggled, he choked her and stabbed her three times in the abdomen, ejaculating in the process of knifing the child. In an interview after his arrest, Chikatilo later recalled that after stabbing Yelena, the girl had "said something very hoarsely", whereupon he strangled her into unconsciousness before throwing her body into a nearby river. Her body was found two days later.

Numerous pieces of evidence linked Chikatilo to the murder of Yelena Zakotnova: Spots of blood had been found in the snow near the house Chikatilo had purchased; neighbours had noted that Chikatilo had been present in the house on the evening of 22 December; Zakotnova's school rucksack had been found upon the opposite bank of the river at the end of the street (indicating the girl had been thrown into the river at this location) and a witness had given police a detailed description of a man closely resembling Chikatilo whom she had seen talking with Zakotnova at the bus stop where the girl had last been seen alive. Despite these facts, a 25-year-old named Aleksandr Kravchenko, who as a teenager, had served a prison sentence for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, was arrested for the crime and subsequently confessed to the killing. He was tried for the murder in 1979. At his trial, Kravchenko retracted his confession and maintained his innocence, stating his confession had been obtained under extreme duress. Despite his retraction, he was convicted of the murder and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment (the maximum possible length of imprisonment at that time). Under pressure from the victim's relatives, Kravchenko was retried and eventually executed for the murder of Yelena Zakotnova in July 1983. Following Zakotnova's murder, Chikatilo was able to achieve sexual arousal and orgasm only through stabbing and slashing women and children to death, and he later claimed that the urge to relive the experience had overwhelmed him.

Chikatilo committed his next murder in September 1981, when he tried to have sex with a 17-year-old boarding school student named Larisa Tkachenko in a forest near the Don River. When Chikatilo failed to achieve an erection, he became furious and battered and strangled her to death. As he had no knife, he mutilated her body with his teeth and a stick. On 12 June 1982, Chikatilo encountered a 13-year-old girl named Lyubov Biryuk 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 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 September 1982, he killed a further five victims between the ages of nine and nineteen. He 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 eviscerating the victim with a knife; although some victims, in addition to receiving a multitude of knife wounds, were also strangled or battered to death. Many of the victims' bodies bore evidence of mutilation to the eye sockets. Pathologists concluded the injuries were caused by a knife, leading investigators to the conclusion the killer had gouged out the eyes of his victims.

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 achieve or maintain an erection which would send him into a murderous fury, particularly if the woman mocked his impotence. He would achieve orgasm only when he stabbed the victim to death. His child victims were of both sexes; Chikatilo would lure these victims to secluded areas using a variety of ruses, usually formed in the initial conversation with the victim, such as promising them assistance or company, the offer to show the victim a shortcut, a chance to view rare stamps, films or coins or with an offer of food or candy. He would usually overpower these victims once they were alone, tie their hands behind their backs with a length of rope, and then proceed to kill them. On 11 December 1982, Chikatilo encountered a 10-year-old girl named Olga Stalmachenok riding a bus to her parents' home in Novoshakhtinsk and persuaded the child to leave the bus with him. She was last seen by a fellow passenger being led firmly by the hand by a middle-aged man. Stalmachenok was lured to a cornfield on the outskirts of Novoshakhtinsk before she was killed. Chikatilo stabbed the girl in excess of 50 times around the head and body, ripped open her chest and excised her lower bowel and uterus.

By January 1983, a total of four victims thus far killed had been tentatively linked to the same killer. A Moscow police team, headed by Major Mikhail Fetisov, was sent to Rostov-on-Don to direct the investigation. Fetisov centered the investigations around Shakhty and assigned a newly appointed specialist forensic analyst, Viktor Burakov, to head the investigation. In April, Olga Stalmachenok's body was found. Burakov was summoned to the crime scene, where he noted the eviscerations conducted upon the child and that her eye sockets bore striations. Burakov later stated that, as he noted the striations upon Stalmachenok's eye sockets, any doubts about the presence of a serial killer evaporated. Chikatilo did not kill again until June 1983, when he murdered a 15-year-old Armenian girl named Laura Sarkisyan, although her body was never found. By September, he had killed a further five victims. The accumulation of bodies found and the similarities between the pattern of wounds inflicted on the victims forced the Soviet authorities to acknowledge that a serial killer was on the loose. On 6 September 1983, the public prosecutor of the USSR formally linked six of the murders thus far committed to the same killer.

Due to the sheer savagery of the murders and the precision of the eviscerations upon the victims' bodies, police theorized that the killings may have been conducted by either a group harvesting organs to sell for transplant or the work of a Satanic cult. However, much of the police effort concentrated upon mentally ill citizens, homosexuals, known paedophiles and sex offenders, slowly working through all that were known and eliminating them from the inquiry. A number of young men confessed to the murders, although they were usually mentally handicapped youths who admitted to the crimes only under prolonged and often brutal interrogation. Three known homosexuals and a convicted sex offender committed suicide as a result of the investigators' heavy-handed tactics. As a result of the investigation into the killings, a total of 1000 unrelated crimes, including 95 murders, were solved. However, 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 1983, Chikatilo killed a 19-year-old prostitute named Vera Shevkun, and in December, a 14-year-old Gukovo schoolboy named Sergey Markov was lured off a train and murdered in Kazachi Lagerya.

In January and February 1984, Chikatilo killed two women in Rostov's Aviators' Park. On 24 March, he lured a 10-year-old boy named Dmitry Ptashnikov, 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 Ptashnikov's body was found three days later, police also found a footprint of the killer and both semen and saliva samples on the victim's clothing. The semen samples were sent for analysis, revealing the killer's blood type to be type AB. On 25 May, Chikatilo killed a young woman named Tatyana Petrosyan and her 11-year-old daughter, Svetlana, in a wooded area outside Shakhty. Petrosyan had known Chikatilo for several years prior to her murder. By 19 July, he had killed three further young women between the ages of 19 and 22 and a 13-year-old boy. In the summer of 1984, Chikatilo was fired from his work as a supply clerk for theft of property. The accusation had been filed against him the previous February and he had been asked to resign quietly, but had refused to do so as he had denied the charges. Chikatilo found another job as a supply clerk in Rostov on 1 August.

On 2 August, Chikatilo killed a 16-year-old girl, Natalya Golosovskaya, in Aviators' Park. On 7 August, he killed a 17-year-old girl 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 on 15 August, he had killed another young woman and a 12-year-old girl. Within two weeks an 11-year-old boy had been found strangled, castrated and with his eyes gouged out in Rostov before a young librarian, Irina Luchinskaya, was killed in Rostov's Aviators' Park on 6 September.

On 13 September 1984, 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 of time. Chikatilo's dubious background was uncovered, and his physical description matched the description of the man seen with Dmitry Ptashnikov in March prior to the boy's murder. A sample of Chikatilo's blood was taken; the results of which revealed his blood group to be type A, whereas semen samples found upon a total of six victims murdered by the unknown killer throughout the spring and summer of 1984 had been classified by medical examiners to be type AB. He was found guilty of theft of property from his previous employer and sentenced to one year in prison, but was freed on 12 December 1984 after serving three months.

On 8 October 1984, the head of the Russian Public Prosecutors Office formally linked 23 of Chikatilo's murders into one case, and dropped all charges against the mentally handicapped youths who had previously confessed to the murders. Following the 6th September murder of Irina Luchinskaya, no further bodies were found bearing the trademark mutilation of Chikatilo's murders and 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 requesting feedback from any police force who had discovered murder 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 31 July 1985, when he murdered a young woman named Natalia Pokhlistova in a thicket of woods close to Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. Based upon the hypothesis the killer had travelled from the Rostov Oblast to Moscow via air, investigators checked all Aeroflot flight records of passengers who had commuted between Moscow and the Rostov Oblast between late July and early August. On this occasion, however, Chikatilo had travelled to Moscow by train and as such, no documentation existed for investigators to research. One month later, on 27 August, Chikatilo killed another young woman, Irina Gulyaeva, in Shakhty. As had been the case with Natalia Pokhlistova, the wounds inflicted upon the victim linked her murder to the hunt for the serial killer. In November 1985, a special procurator named Issa Kostoyev was appointed to supervise the investigation. The known murders around Rostov were carefully re-investigated and police began another round of questioning of known sex offenders. The following month, the militsiya 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 65-page psychological profile of the unknown murderer for the investigators, describing the killer as a man aged between 45 and 50 years old who was of average intelligence, likely to be married or previously married, but also a sadist who could achieve sexual arousal only by seeing his victims suffer. Because many of the killings had occurred on weekdays near mass transport hubs and across the entire Rostov Oblast, Bukhanovsky also argued that 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 keeping his homicidal urges under control; throughout 1986 he is not known to have committed any murders. In 1987 Chikatilo killed three times. On each occasion the murder took place while he was on a business trip far away from the Rostov Oblast, and none of these murders were linked to the manhunt in Rostov. Chikatilo's first murder in 1987 was committed in May, when he killed a 13-year-old boy named Oleg Makarenkov in Revda. In July, he killed another boy in Zaporizhia 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 to link the murder to the investigation. In May Chikatilo killed a 9-year-old boy named Aleksey Voronko in Ilovaisk, Ukraine. The boy's wounds left no doubt the killer had struck again, and this murder was linked to the manhunt. On 14 July, Chikatilo killed a 15-year-old boy named Yevgeny Muratov at Donleskhoz station near Shakhty. Muratov's murder was also linked to the investigation, although his body was not found until April 1989. Chikatilo did not kill again until 8 March 1989, when he killed a 16-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 four more victims, three of whom were killed in Rostov and Shakhty, although only two of the victims were linked to the killer.

On 14 January 1990, Chikatilo killed an 11-year-old boy in Shakhty. On 7 March, he killed a 10-year-old boy named Yaroslav Makarov in Rostov's Botanical Gardens. The eviscerated body was found the following day. On 11 March, 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 to a degree between 1985 and 1987, when Chikatilo had committed only two murders conclusively linked to the killer, both of them in 1985. However, by March 1990, six further victims had been linked to the 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 had killed three further victims by August 1990: on 4th April, he murdered a 31-year-old woman in woodland near Donleskhoz station, on 28 July, he lured a 13-year-old boy named Viktor Petrov away from a Rostov railway station and killed him in Rostov's Botanical Gardens, and on 14 August, he killed an 11-year-old boy in the reeds near Novocherkassk beach.

The discovery of more victims sparked a massive operation by the police. Because several victims had been found at stations on one rail route through the Rostov Oblast, Viktor Burakov, who had been involved in the hunt for the killer since 1982, suggested a plan to saturate all larger stations in the Rostov Oblast with an obvious uniformed police presence which the killer could not fail to notice. The intention was to discourage the killer from attempting to strike at any of these locations, and to have undercover agents patrol smaller and less busy stations, where the murderer's activities would be more likely to be noticed. The plan was approved, and both the uniformed and undercover officers were instructed to question any adult man in the company of a young woman or child, and note his name and passport number. Police deployed a total of 360 men at all the stations in the Rostov Oblast, but only undercover officers were posted at the three smallest stations on the route through the oblast where the killer had struck most frequently, Kirpichnaya, Donleskhoz and Lesostep, in an effort to force the killer to strike at one of those three stations. The operation was implemented on 27th October 1990. On 30th October, police found the body of a 16-year-old boy named Vadim Gromov at Donleskhoz Station. Gromov had been killed on 17th October, 10 days before the start of the initiative. The same day Gromov's body was found, Chikatilo lured another 16-year-old boy, Viktor Tishchenko, off a train at Kirpichnaya Station, another station under surveillance from undercover police, and killed him in a nearby forest. On 6th November 1990, Chikatilo killed and mutilated a 22-year-old woman named Svetlana Korostik in woodland near Donleskhoz Station. While leaving the crime scene, he was observed by an undercover officer. The policeman observed Chikatilo approach a well and wash his hands and face. When he approached the station, the undercover officer noted that Chikatilo's coat had grass and soil stains on the elbows. Chikatilo also 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), but Chikatilo was not dressed like a typical forest scavenger; he was wearing more formal attire. Moreover, he had a nylon sports bag, which was not suitable for carrying mushrooms. The policeman stopped Chikatilo and checked his papers, but had no formal reason to arrest him. When the policeman returned to his office, he filed a routine report, containing the name of the person he had stopped at the station.

On 13 November, 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. Not only was Chikatilo's name among those reports, but it was familiar to several officers involved in the case, because he had been questioned in 1984, and had been placed upon a 1987 suspect list compiled and distributed throughout the Soviet Union. After checking with Chikatilo's present and previous employers, investigators were able to place him 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 14 November. In several instances, particularly on trains or buses, he was observed to approach lone young women or children and engage 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 20th November, after six days of surveillance, Chikatilo left his house with a large jar, which he had filled with beer at a small kiosk in a local park, before he wandered around Novocherkassk, attempting to make contact with children he met on his way. Upon exiting a cafe, Chikatilo was arrested by four plainclothes police officers.

Upon his arrest, 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 of the suspect revealed a further piece of evidence: one of Chikatilo's fingers had a flesh wound. Medical examiners concluded the wound was from a human bite. Chikatilo's penultimate victim was a physically strong 16-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 later 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 he had been in possession of a folding knife and two lengths of rope. A sample of Chikatilo's blood was taken and he was placed in a cell inside the KGB headquarters in Rostov with a police informer, who was instructed to engage Chikatilo in conversation and elicit any information he could from him. The next day, 21st November, formal questioning of Chikatilo began. The interrogation was performed by Issa Kostoyev. The strategy chosen by the police to elicit a confession was to lead Chikatilo to believe that he was a very sick man in need of medical help. The intention was 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 either charging or releasing him.

On 21st November, the results of Chikatilo's blood test again revealed his blood type to be type A and not type AB. Due to the amount of physical and circumstantial evidence investigators had thus far compiled which indicated Chikatilo was indeed the murderer they had been pursuing, plus the fact that investigators had deduced the blood type of the murderer they had pursued using semen samples obtained from the clothing and bodies of the victims as opposed to blood samples, investigators obtained a sample of Chikatilo's semen to test his blood type; the results of which confirmed that Chikatilo's semen was type AB, whereas his blood and saliva were type A (Investigators had received a circular in 1988 indicating that in extremely rare cases, a man's blood type may differ from his semen and saliva type). 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. He also produced several written essays for Kostoyev which, although evasive regarding the actual murders, did reveal psychological symptoms consistent with those predicted by Dr. Bukhanovsky in 1985. The interrogation tactics used by Kostoyev may also have caused Chikatilo to become defensive; the informer sharing a KGB cell with the suspect reported to police that Chikatilo had informed him that Kostoyev had repeatedly asked him direct questions regarding the mutilations inflicted upon the victims.

On 29 November, at the request of Burakov and Fetisov, Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky, the psychiatrist who had written the 1985 psychological profile of the then-unknown killer, was invited to assist in the questioning of the suspect. Bukhanovsky read extracts from his 65-page psychological profile to Chikatilo. Within two hours, Chikatilo confessed to Bukhanovsky that he was indeed guilty of the crimes for which he had been arrested. After conversing into the evening, Bukhanovsky reported to Burakov and Fetisov that Chikatilo was ready to confess. Armed with the handwritten notes Bukhanovsky had prepared, Issa Kostoyev prepared a formal accusation of murder dated 29 November, the eve of the expiration of the ten-day period of time during which Chikatilo could legally be held before being charged. The following morning, 30th November, Issa Kostoyev resumed the interrogation. According to the official protocol, Chikatilo confessed to 36 of the murders police had linked to him, although he denied two additional murders committed in 1986 the police had initially believed he had committed. He gave a full, detailed description of each murder on the list of charges, all of which were consistent with known facts regarding each killing. When prompted, he could draw a rough sketch of various crime scenes, indicating the position of the victim's body and various landmarks in the vicinity of the crime scene. Additional details provided further proof of his guilt: one victim on the list of charges was a 19-year-old student named Anna Lemesheva. Chikatilo recalled that as he fought to overpower her, she had stated that a man named 'Bars' would retaliate for his attacking her. Lemesheva's fiancé had the nickname Bars tattooed on his hand.

In describing his victims, Chikatilo falsely referred to them as "déclassé elements", and told Kostoyev he had often tasted the blood of his victims. Although he admitted he had chewed upon the excised sexual organs of several victims of both sexes, he stated he had later discarded these body parts. On 30th November, Chikatilo was formally charged with each of the 36 murders he had confessed to, all of which had been committed between June 1982 and November 1990. Over the following days, Chikatilo confessed to a further 20 killings which had not been connected to the case, either because the murders had been committed outside the Rostov Oblast, because the bodies had not been found, or, in the case of Yelena Zakotnova, because an innocent man had been convicted and executed for the murder. (Aleksandr Kravchenko received a posthumous pardon for Yelena Zakotnova's murder.) In December 1990, Chikatilo led police to the body of Aleksey Khobotov, a boy he had confessed to killing in August 1989 and whom 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 56 victims Chikatilo confessed to killing could not be found or identified, but Chikatilo was charged with killing 53 women and children between 1978 and 1990. He was held in the same cell in Rostov-on-Don where he had been detained on 20th November, to await trial.

On 20th August 1991, after police had completed their interrogation, including re-enactments of all the murders at each crime scene, Chikatilo was transferred to the Serbsky Institute in Moscow for a six-day psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he was mentally competent to stand trial. Chikatilo was analysed by a senior psychiatrist, Dr. Andrei Tkachenko, who declared him legally sane on 18 October. In December 1991, details of Chikatilo's arrest and a brief summary of his crimes were released to the newly-liberated Russian media by police. Chikatilo's trial was the first major media event of liberalized post-Soviet Russia. Proceedings commenced in Rostov on 14th April 1992. During the trial, Chikatilo was kept in an iron cage in a corner of the courtroom to protect him from attack by the many enraged and, often, hysterical relatives of his victims. Chikatilo's head had been shaved, a standard prison procedure, officially to prevent the spread of lice. Relatives of victims regularly shouted threats and insults at Chikatilo throughout the trial, demanding that authorities release him so that they could kill him themselves. Each murder was discussed individually and, on several occasions, relatives broke down in tears when details of their relatives' murder were revealed; some even fainted. Chikatilo repeatedly 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. On 13th May, Chikatilo withdrew his confessions to six of the killings, and in July 1992, he demanded that the judge be replaced for making too many rash remarks which assumed his guilt. His defense counsel backed the claim. Even the prosecutor supported the defense's claim, stating the judge had indeed made too many such comments. The judge ruled that the prosecutor be replaced instead.

On 9th August, both prosecution and defense delivered their final arguments before the judge. Chikatilo again attempted to interrupt the proceedings and had to be removed from the courtroom. Final sentence was postponed until 14 October. As the final deliberations began, the brother of Lyudmila Alekseyeva, a 17-year-old girl killed by Chikatilo in August 1984, threw a heavy chunk of metal at Chikatilo, hitting him in the chest. When security tried to arrest the young man, other victims' relatives shielded him. On 14th October, the court reconvened and the judge read the list of murders again, not finishing until the following day. On 15th October, Chikatilo was found guilty of 52 of the 53 murders and sentenced to death for each offense. He was also found guilty of five counts of sexual assault committed during the years he worked as a teacher in the 1970's. Chikatilo kicked his bench across his cage when he heard the verdict, and began shouting abuse. However, when given an opportunity to make a speech in response to the verdict, he 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.”

Chikatilo was taken from the courtroom to his cell at Novocherkassk prison to await execution. He did file an appeal against his conviction with the Russian Supreme Court, but it was rejected in 1993.

On 4th January 1994, Russian President Boris Yeltsin refused a last-ditch appeal for clemency.

On 14 February, Chikatilo was taken from his death row cell to a soundproofed room in Novocherkassk prison and executed with a single gunshot behind the right ear. His last words were: 

"Don't blow my brains out! The Japanese want to buy them!"

"What I did was not for sexual pleasure. Rather it brought me some peace of mind." - Andrei Chikatilo

If you want to watch a documentary on Andrei Chikatilo then just check out the video below:

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