Skinheads Admit to Killing 20

The leaders of a skinhead gang charged with hate crimes admitted Wednesday to committing 20 racially motivated murders and attempting 12 more, Interfax reported.

Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky went on trial with seven others Wednesday at the Moscow City Court for purportedly carrying out a series of racist murders and other crimes in Moscow, an unidentified participant in the trial told Interfax.

The proceedings are closed to the public, but the source told Interfax that Ryno and Skachevsky "fully admitted their guilt" in the crimes they are charged with.

City prosecutors have accused Ryno, Skachevsky and seven other defendants — aged 15 to 22 — of committing 20 racist murders and 12 other racially motivated attacks from August 2006 through October 2007.

Three other defendants admitted partial guilt, while two others — Svetlana Avakumova, 22, and Denis Lavrinenkov, 17 — pled not guilty, the source told Interfax.

It was unclear how the remaining two defendants pled.

Ryno, a student at an icon painting school, has told investigators that he began his murder spree on Aug. 21, 2006, the same day a bomb killed 13 people at Cherkizovsky Market, according to national media reports.

Ryno and Skachevsky were arrested in April 2007 on suspicion of killing Armenian businessman Karen Abramyan. Abramyan, 46, was stabbed 20 times in southwest Moscow and died in the hospital.