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Russia's Supreme Court upheld on Thursday a life sentence for serial
Russia's Supreme Court upheld on Thursday a life sentence for serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, convicted of 48 murders and three attempted murders.

The court rejected an appeal filed by Pichushkin against what he called a "harsh and unfair" sentence in November last year. He had requested that the court reduce his jail term to 25 years.

The 33-year-old former supermarket worker has been nicknamed the 'chessboard killer' for 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 not found 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.

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 could 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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