Skinheads Sentenced for Murder Spree

APThe defendants awaiting their sentences inside a glass cage under heavy guard at Moscow City Court on Monday.
The Moscow City Court on Monday sentenced a gang of seven skinheads to prison terms ranging from six to 20 years for a string of racially motivated murders.

The gang members were convicted of committing 20 murders and attempting 12 more from August 2006 through October 2007.

Gang leaders Artur Ryno, a student of religious icon painting, and Pavel Skachevsky, both 18, were each sentenced to 10 years in prison, the maximum sentence since they were minors at the time of the attacks.

Judge Pyotr Shtunder sentenced Roman Kuzin, 20, to 20 years, Vitaly Nikitin to 12 years, Ivan Kitaykinu and Alexander Anikin both to nine years, and David Lavrinenkov, to six years, Interfax reported. Two other defendants, Svetlana Avakumova, and Nikolai Dagayev, were acquitted.

The court also ruled that the seven defendants pay compensatory damages of 1 million rubles and 3 million rubles, about $36,000 and $108,000 respectively, to the families of two victims.

Television pictures from the court showed group members standing behind a glass wall and smiling.

"We are satisfied with the sentence," Artem Timushev, Ryno's defense attorney, told reporters, Interfax reported.

"In this case, the defense achieved significant success. This is because that with such a huge charge, where only four defendants were adults, none of them were given the harshest penalty of life imprisonment."

He said he would appeal the 4 million ruble penalty, however.

Skachevsky's attorney, Dmitry Agranovsky, said that he would appeal the sentences after consulting his client.