Ukrainian Gets Life for U.S. Kidnappings

LOS ANGELES -- A Ukrainian man convicted in a kidnapping scheme that resulted in the deaths of five people who were dumped in a Northern California reservoir was sentenced to life in prison.

Petro Krylov, 35, was part of a ring that sought to kidnap affluent Russian business people in Los Angeles and extort money from their families, prosecutors said. The victims were killed regardless of whether the ransoms were paid.

Two other men, Iouri Mikhel and Jurijus Kadamovas, were also convicted and sentenced to death last year.

During Krylov's 31-day trial in U.S. District Court last year, his lawyers argued that Mikhel and Kadamovas threatened to harm Krylov's family if he did not help them with in the plot. U.S. District Judge James Otero rejected that claim during Friday's sentencing, when Krylov was given four consecutive life sentences.

Krylov was found guilty of playing a role in the death of three of the ring's five victims. One of them, Alexander Umansky, was his former boss at a stereo shop, with whom he had a falling-out after being fired.

Umansky's bloated body was recovered by divers from the New Melones Reservoir near Yosemite National Park in 2002. Four other bodies, tied to weights, were also recovered.

In all, about $1.2 million in ransom was collected, according to prosecutors.

Krylov, an illegal immigrant, was spared the death penalty last May when a jury deadlocked during the penalty phase of his trial.