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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Family: Rokhlin's Wife Was Framed




Further stirring an already shocking homicide case, relatives of Lev Rokhlin over the weekend said "someone" pressured Tamara, the slain general's wife, into confessing that she shot her husband to death.


A retired army general and State Duma deputy, Rokhlin, 51, was killed in his sleep early Friday morning by a single shot to the head from his own pistol. Police said Tamara Rokhlin confessed to the crime after they came to the murder scene, a small dacha complex 20 kilometers southwest of Moscow.


But Rokhlin's daughter and son-in-law both said Tamara told them later that Rokhlin's real killers sneaked into the family's dacha, killed her husband, and then threatened to hunt down and shoot the entire family unless she confessed to the crime.


Son-in-law Sergei Abakumov said on NTV television Saturday that Tamara said she was coerced into confessing to police, "or else your daughter will die, you will die and [Rokhlin's son] Igor will die."


Rokhlin's daughter, Yelena, was shown in tears on ORT television Sunday as she recounted what she said was the true version of events.


Igor, who turned 14 the day before, and Tamara were the only two people present when police found Rokhlin's body sprawled on the couch in a second-floor bedroom Friday morning.


Officials said Rokhlin and his wife had been having domestic disputes for some time. Investigators also said Tamara's fingerprints were found on the murder weapon, which police discovered in the bushes a few meters away from the house.


No one has been charged, although the prosecutor's office said it has ruled out a political motive. Tamara, the prime suspect, has been in jail since Friday.


Political supporters of Rokhlin, a retired general who became a fierce Kremlin critic as chairman of parliament's defense committee, said they will sue the Prosecutor's General's Office for what they say is a coverup.


They said Rokhlin was killed for his politics, particularly his anti-government stance on issues dealing with army reform. But his supporters did not say who they thought the real killers might be.


"There is no reason to suspect Rokhlin's wife," said Alexander Morozov, deputy head of Rokhlin's movement In Defense of the Army. "No one heard gunfire. We cannot preclude the possibility that a silencer was used."


Morozov added that he was certain that Tamara did not know how to use her husband's PSM 5.45 millimeter pistol, which Morozov said was more complicated than a standard Russian Makarov handgun.


President Boris Yeltsin, who in recent months had been on the receiving end of Rokhlin's political attacks, called for a thorough and open investigation into the case.


Opposition lawmakers, however, claim the incident is evidence that Yeltsin is preparing a crackdown on parliament.


Memorial services for Rokhlin will be held Tuesday morning at the Moscow House of Officers with burial in Troyekurovskoye Cemetery.