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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Serial Killer Says He Was Almost God

Convicted serial killer Alexander Pichushkin said Thursday that deciding whether to let people live or die made him "almost God."

In his final statement to a courtroom packed with journalists and relatives of his victims, Pichushkin, who was convicted Wednesday of 48 murders, also said he had no sadistic motives for the crimes.

"I had my own way of killing, and my purpose was to take someone's life, not to inflict pain," he said.

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, Pichushkin 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.

Pichushkin appeared slightly tense during his statement, though he spoke clearly and with a firm voice.

"So many people have been trying to decide my fate," Pichushkin told the silent courtroom. "Meanwhile, I alone decided the fate of 60 people. I was prosecutor, judge and executioner. I decided who was to live and who was to die. I was almost God."

Pichushkin denied that he broke any laws, saying he was "above them."

"I never took any of my victims' valuables," he said. "I took only the most valuable thing: human life."

Judge Vladimir Usov set the sentencing date for Monday. Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Pichushkin to life in prison with mandatory psychiatric treatment and requested that he spend his first 15 years in a regular prison, where he may be kept with other inmates.

Defense lawyer Pavel Ivannikov asked for leniency for his client and said Pichushkin should be kept isolated from other prisoners, noting that he had no criminal record prior to the killings.