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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bitssevsky Maniac Gets Life in Prison

MTAlexander Pichushkin being sentenced Monday in a Moscow court to life in prison and psychiatric treatment for 48 murders. Asked by the judge whether he understood the punishment, he replied, "I'm not deaf." Story, Page 3.
Convicted serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, who claimed to have killed 60 people whose deaths he kept track of on a chessboard, was sentenced to life in prison Monday and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment.

Asked by Judge Vladimir Usov at the Moscow City Court whether he understood the punishment, a calm but dour Pichushkin responded bluntly from his glassed-in courtroom cage.

"I'm not deaf," he said.

The courtroom was packed with journalists and relatives of victims for the end of the trial, in which Pichushkin was convicted of murdering 48 people, making him the country's most prolific serial killer in a decade.

Pichushkin, 33, typically used vodka to lure his victims into the sprawling Bittsevsky Park in southwest Moscow and tossed them into a sewage drain to die after getting them drunk. Some of his victims he bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

Dubbed the Bittsevsky Maniac and the Chessboard Killer, he claims to have murdered 11 others in a five-year murder spree that ended with his arrest last year. He killed most of his victims in Bittsevsky Park and tracked the killings on a chessboard, with a square set aside for each victim.

Prosecutor Yury Syomin told reporters after the sentencing that justice had been served and that prosecutors had done their job well.

He said he could not immediately comment on why it took so long for authorities to track down Pichushkin, who committed almost all of his murders from 2001 to 2006. Syomin promised to hold a news conference on the subject.

After Pichushkin was convicted last week, prosecutors made the stunning admission that authorities missed a chance to stop his rampage in 2002, when a police officer ignored the story of a woman who survived one of his attacks. That officer is now under investigation.

Pichushkin's lawyer, Alexander Karyagin, told reporters that his client had been prepared for the sentence. He said he had not yet spoken to Pichushkin about appealing the conviction or sentence.

Tatyana Fomina, whose 31-year-old son, Vladimir Fomin, Pichushkin claims to have murdered, called Pichushkin "a monster" and said she was not satisfied with the sentence.

"I regret that there is a moratorium on the death penalty in Russia," Fomina, holding a picture of her together with her son, told reporters.

Fomin's body -- along with the bodies of 13 others Pichushkin claims to have killed -- has never been found.

Fomin and Pichushkin grew up together as neighbors, Fomina said. Until Pichushkin confessed to the killing, Fomina said she had no idea what happened to her son after he left home Oct. 14, 2003, and never returned.

"I can't even visit his grave," she said.