Andrei Chikatilo’s Trial
In December 1985, the police renewed the patrolling of railway stations around Rostov. Chikatilo followed the investigation carefully, and for over two years he kept his desires under control. The police also took the step of consulting a psychiatrist, the first such consultation in a serial killer investigation in that country.
Chikatilo finally ran out of luck in November 1990, when he was spotted in a Rostov railway station, sporting bloodstains on his face and hand. While he was not arrested at the time, his name was taken down, and the discovery of another victim near the depot two weeks later prompted his arrest on November 20. After eight days of interrogation, Chikatilo confessed a total of 55 murders, leading police to several corpses they had not discovered yet. His recitation of atrocities – illustrated by demonstration on mannequins – included sadistic mutilation of several victims while they were still alive.
Three of the victims had been buried and could not be found or identified, so Chikatilo was not charged with these crimes. The number of crimes Chikatilo confessed to the police, who had listed only 36 killings in their investigation. A number of victims had not been linked to others because they were murdered far from Chikatilo’s other hunting grounds, whilst others were not linked because they were buried and not found until Chikatilo led the police to their shallow graves.
He went to trial on April 14, 1992. Despite his odd and disruptive behavior in court, where he was famously kept in a cage in the center of the courtroom, he was judged fit to stand trial. The trial ended in July and sentencing was postponed until October 15 when he was found guilty of 52 of the 53 murders and sentenced to death for each offence. Chikatilo defended himself by pointing to his childhood’s experience of the notorious famine which took place in Ukraine in the 1930’s. A last-minute appeal for clemency was rejected by President Boris Yeltsin on February 15, 1994, and Chikatilo was executed that same day, with a pistol shot to the back of his head.