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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Convict Sentenced to Life for Murdering 4 Girls

A court sentenced a 41-year-old man to life in prison on Friday for murdering four girls and raping a fifth who was found chained to the wall of his cellar.

Former convict Ivan Panchenko was arrested last year in the town of Svetlograd in the Stavropol region after police found a girl locked in his cellar and the body of second girl buried in his garden.

"She was chained to the wall of the cellar with a dog collar," state investigator Andrei Ravayev said in comments broadcast on Channel One television.

The girl who was rescued told the police that both of them had been raped by Panchenko, Channel One said. The girls, whose families lived nearby, were aged 7 and 11 at the time, the report said, without saying which girl survived.

Panchenko later confessed to killing three other girls in the late 1990s, the report said.

RIA-Novosti quoted investigators as saying that Panchenko kept two of the girls, aged 15 and 16, in a dugout in a nearby forest.

On Friday, Panchenko was shown sitting in a green cage in the courtroom surrounded by six police officers as the judge announced his sentence.

Panchenko committed the crimes between 1998 and 2008, Interfax reported.

The court ordered Panchenko to pay 500,000 rubles ($15,977) in damages to the relatives of one of his victims and 330,000 rubles ($9,884) to the state, RIA-Novosti reported.

He has already spent 20 years in prison on various charges, including theft, drug use and murder, Channel One reported.

(Reuters, MT)