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Russia's Supreme Court will consider an appeal by Alexander Pichushkin, dubbed
Russia's Supreme Court will consider an appeal by Alexander Pichushkin, dubbed the 'chessboard killer' by Russian media, on February 14, a spokesman for the court said on Tuesday.

Pichushkin, one of the most prolific serial killers in Russia's history, was found guilty of 48 murders and three attempted murders. He filed an appeal in November last year against his life sentence.

In doing so, he said that the verdict imposed on him was "harsh and unfair," and requested that the court reduce his sentence to 25 years imprisonment.

"I told my defendant when we met that the appeal would probably be rejected, but he nevertheless insisted that we should go ahead," his lawyer, Alexander Karyagin, subsequently said.

The 33-year-old former supermarket worker has been nicknamed Russia's "chessboard killer" due to his habit of marking off his victims on the squares of a chessboard. He says he took the lives of at least 60 people, but investigators have yet to find evidence to back up these claims.

Most of the murders committed by Pichushkin are believed to have taken place between 2001 and 2006 in wooded areas in south Moscow's sprawling Bitsa Park. Typically, Pichushkin lured his victims into the woods and plied them with vodka before battering them to death.

The Moscow City Court passed a life sentence on Pichushkin last year on October 29, saying that the defendant was a threat to society.

"When killing, Pichushkin inflicted particular torment and suffering on his victims, beating them repeatedly with a hammer and nail puller, and in some cases thrust sticks and bottles into their skulls," Judge Vladimir Usov said.

The court also ordered Pichushkin to undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment. Sex therapists and psychologists said however that Pichushkin did not suffer from any known mental disorder and was to be considered 'sane.'

In previous court testimonies, Pichushkin said he needed to kill "like others need food," that murder made him "almost a god," and that his first killing was like falling in love for the first time. He denied that he had killed with particular cruelty.

Pichushkin was arrested in Bitsa Park on June 16, 2006, 11 days after finishing off his final victim and leaving her body in a stream running through the park.

Before Pichushkin's murder spree, Russia's most infamous serial killer was Andrei Chikatilo, executed in 1992 for killing 52 people, many of them children. Pichushkin earlier said his goal was to surpass the record of the Ukrainian-born "Rostov Ripper".

Pichushkin's life sentence is the maximum possible under the Russian Criminal Code. The country imposed a moratorium on capital punishment in 1996.


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