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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Teen Tried for Paris Murders

VERSAILLES, France -- A Russian teenager went on trial in suburban Paris on Wednesday for the 1995 slaying of six family members and friends, a crime he initially admitted but later blamed on Russian mobsters.

The youth, now 19 and identified by judicial authorities only as Alexei P., is accused of using guns from his father's collection to kill his father and stepmother, grandparents and two family friends -- all of Russian nationality -- after a family quarrel.

His full name was not disclosed because he was a minor at the time of the crime.

Prosecutors said the youth, then 16, had himself notified police of the crime, initially saying he had found the bodies upon returning to the family's home in the affluent Paris suburb of Louveciennes at 3 a.m.

Only his two-year-old baby sister, asleep upstairs in the luxury rented home, was spared during the Feb. 26, 1995, shooting spree.

Under police questioning, Alexei confessed, saying he shot all six people, then took the family car into nearby Paris and spent some time drinking with a prostitute before returning home and calling police.

But he later withdrew the confession, blaming the deaths on a hooded Russian mobster dressed all in black.

He told investigators the real killer had forced him to take the blame for the slayings by threatening to kill the surviving members of his family if he refused.

"Alexei's guilt has not been established, there are more puzzles than proofs," said William Bourdon, one of his lawyers.

"In addition, there are a number of clues that would indicate that the perpetrator of the crime is in Moscow," Bourdon said.

Alexei's lawyers asked for a delay in the trial so that some Russian documents could be translated into French, but Judge Suzanne Muller rejected the request. She also declined to free the boy from detention during the proceeding.

At the start of the trial, in a juvenile court in the Paris suburb of Versailles, Alexei stood before the judge and a jury of seven men and two women and told them in Russian-accented French: "I was born in Moscow. I still live in Moscow. I am a student."

The trial, expected to last until March 13, was then closed to the public due to the defendant's age.

Alexei's mother Raisa has written to French Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou insisting her son is innocent, Itar-Tass reported last year.