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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Convicts Rostov Ripper'

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia - Alexei Chikatilo, the Russian accused of being the world's most dangerous serial killer, was found guilty Wednesday for the sexually driven murders of 52 women and children.


After months of often gruesome testimony, the court read out the 52 charges on which the so-called "Rostov Ripper" had been convicted. It also began to read from a 330-page sentence before adjourning. The remainder will be read Thursday. He is likely to receive the death penalty.


Chikatilo, 57, a grey-haired former school teacher and Communist Party member, was led into court in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don to the anguished jeers of his victim's relatives, many of whom shouted "cannibal" as he arrived.


A row of doctors and nurses sat in court ready to treat those who became hysterical.


After constantly interrupting the judge, to the fury of relatives, Chikatilo was marched back to his cell by the six Interior Ministry troops guarding him.


As the judge read out the charges,


Chikatilo tried to speak over him, rambling, "I need an injection", "I need an ambulance" and "Long live Ukraine! "


"I'm a Ukrainian - don't you dare! " one woman shouted back from the audience.


Chikatilo's trial, the first of its kind to receive widespread Western media coverage, shocked Russia with its tales of cannibalism, torture and sadistic sexual acts committed against his victims.


The trial has done little to improve the reputation of the former Soviet police authorities or the Soviet legal system, which placed ideology above public safety.


Serial killing was supposed to be a capitalist depravity, with the result that the search for Chikatilo was kept secret.


It was several years before Rostov residents knew that a serial killer was at large in the city.


"They had him in their hands twice and both times let him go", said Andrei Chenchenko, an angry Rostov inhabitant who watched the court case Wednesday. Chikatilo was twice arrested in connection with the murders and then released.