Teens Convicted of Burning Man to Death

A Vladimir court has convicted four teenagers of burning a man to death in the eternal flame of their town's World War II memorial.

The Vladimir Regional Court on Monday gave prison sentences of 16 to 18 years to three 19-year-old defendants, while a 15-year-old defendant was sentenced to a juvenile detention center for nine years, court spokesman Vladimir Ganenko said.

The victim, Alexei Denisov, 25, came upon the teenagers while walking home on the night of Jan. 1 in the industrial town of Kolchugino, about 130 kilometers northeast of Moscow.

He reprimanded them for smoking and drinking around the flame, the magazine Ogonyok wrote. The youths beat Denisov unconscious and threw him face-first into the flame, Ganenko said.

They were caught after a guard in the nearby city court called police, who found the defendants dragging Denisov's body toward a dumpster, Ogonyok said.

"This was a brutal, cruel, conscious group murder, and, of course, it deserves a severe punishment," Denisov's mother, Olga Denisova, told NTV television. Her son was her only child.

The teenagers -- Alexander Andreyev, Mikhail Danilov, Nikolai Kuragin, all 19, and Alexei Goryachev, 15 -- laughed during the reading of the verdict and taunted Denisov's relatives from the defendants' cage in the courtroom, the Rossia television station reported.