In July of 2003, ten women were found dead in the suburbs of Moscow and two more female bodies were discovered by the end of September. Everyone believed that a serial killer was doing his work undisturbed in the Soviet Union, which didn’t like talking about serial killers publicly. The murders started multiplying.
The police officials stated that they didn’t believe in the existence of a serial killer in Moscow, but they were wrong. The Russian media wrote that Moscow was threatened by more than one serial killers because, apart from the 12 dead women, some old people’s bodies had been found at the Bittsevsky Park. The public was in the dark without knowing what was going on in the city they lived in, and a man was playing chess, dying to win.
Alexander Pichushkin had a difficult life. According to him, he had never met his father, and his mother had abandoned him at an orphanage where his grandfather found him and took him to live with him. When his grandfather passed away, Pichushkin started walking his dog at the park and when his pet died too, he became depressed. However, according to his mother, everything started when Pichushkin was 4 and experienced a hard hit on his head.
In June of 2006, Alexander Pichushkin killed Marina Moskalyova, a woman who worked with at a supermarket. A security camera had already captured the two of them walking together and, except for that evidence, Moskalyova had written a note to her son saying that she would be out with him. Alexander Pichushkin was arrested inside his apartment, where he lived with his mother. After denying everything, he agreed to testify, admitting that the first time he killed was in 1992, at the age of 18, and a young boy whose case had been ruled as a suicide, was his first victim. That young boy was the first of the 63 people Pichushkin tried to kill afterwards.
During his testimony, Alexander Pichushkin said that he had killed 63 people with only one goal: to go beyond Andrea Chikatilo’s victims, who had killed 53 women and children. Yes, he was trying to bring down the king.
Pichushkin’s targets were mostly older men and women he would kill at the park where he used to walk his dog at and, after he invited them for a drink by the bench, he hit them on their head with a hammer. Later, he abandoned them right there with many of his victims being alive, but too drunk to cry for help. As he said, he believed that he “opened them a door to another, better life,” but he didn’t know that three of them had survived.
Mikhail Vinogradov, a psychologist, believes that Pichushkin used murder to express his anger for his grandfather’s loss, who “abandoned” him after his death. He also says that Pichushkin enjoyed the killing procedure since he described his “hobby” as a “constant orgasm.”
Even though Pichushkin claims that he attempted to kill 63 people (including the three survivors), the police had no evidence to support his testimony. There were no bodies, no missing people and no one to support this theory. However, when police forces got into his apartment, they found the sketch of a chessboard with 62 dates written on 62 (of the 64) chess squares. As with every serial killer trying to outdo famous murderers, the number of the victims is hard to verify since they always claim more bodies.
Alexander Pichushkin received his conviction on October 24, 2007 for 49 murders and 3 attempted murders. He requested the Russian court to add 11 more victims to his body count, bringing his death toll to 60 and 3 surviving victims, but his request was turned down. Just like Andrei Chikatilo, the man he was trying to outdo, during the trial, Pichushkin was housed in a glass cage. Judge Vladimir Usov read the verdict after just one hour of deliberation: life in prison with the first 15 years to be spent in solitary confinement.
The murders of those 12 women were what Russian authorities needed to clamp down on crime. However, that killer is still out there.