punishment Chikatilo

How Chikatilo was shot dead, “And the heart is still beatng…”

10 years ago the serial killer Andrei Chikatilo was shot dead. In 1990 after 12 years of the search he was detained and charged with the murder of 30 people. He confessed to 53 murders. The victims of the maniac were women and children, both girls and boys.

The trial lasted half a year. The verdict of extreme penalty was greeted with applause by all the people attended the courtroom of the Rostov Regional Court. Whereas the sentenced person didn’t believe to the last that he would be shot dead. The maniac was awaiting the execution of the sentence in the Novocherkassk prison. The corrections officers told he had been taking care of his health. Every day he would do his morning exercises, read a lot and write never-ending letters with complaints against the judge and the investigators.

Yet all others were looking forward to his death. Many scientific research institutes were trying to get possession of the murderer’s brain, and the Japanese allegedly offered 20 million dollars for a piece of his grey matter. Yet up to now only a limited number of people have known where and when Chikatilo was shot dead and where his bones are laid. For the first time ever one of the participants of that execution has shared his memories of it with Arguments and Facts Newspaper.

Monday, February 14, 1994, was unusually windy and frosty. There wasn’t any single snowflake on the frozen ground, the temperature was minus 17? degrees Celsius. Only in the afternoon it started snowing a bit, and towards evening the snow drifting came down with vengeance.

An UAZ off-road vehicle drove up to the guarding point of the Novocherkassk prison. Two escort guards went out of the premises, they were holding a man from both sides. His crimes were known all over the world. Bare-headed and handcuffed Chikatilo covered with snow was peering at the people surrounding him.

He couldn’t possible get into the car because of his high stature and the handcuffs. Somebody pushed him brassily behind, and the people in the car dragged him inside. Chikatilo started groaning but didn’t say a single word. The attempt to squeeze him into a cramped specially equipped cabin failed. He remained sitting on the floor at the feet of the people guarding him. The cars went to the country. The UAZ offroader with Chikatilo and the escort was going in front, and the second similar vehicle with the special group head and the prosecutor was driving behind.

About an hour later they arrived at the destination. The iron gates opened to let the vehicles and the people frost-bound on the way there in. There was a doctor and two more people in a dark yard: a warden and a representative of Directory of Internal Affairs. While greeting and saying they hadn’t seen each other for ages, they were trying to joke. They went downstairs to the cellar which reminded them of either a warehouse or an air-aid shelter: there were pipes and cable harnesses on the walls, boxes and some trash on the floor. Chikatilo and the two guards were put into a small and dim room piled with old furniture. The criminal was sat on his knees on the floor. But for his handcuffs, you could have thought he was praying. Chikatilo with his clean-shaven face, wispy thin grey hair and a fresh abrasion on his right cheek he had obviously gotten while getting into the offroader seemed to be outwardly calm. He might have believed the escort guards who said to him that they were conveying him to Moscow to check up.

The prosecuting attorney came in, greeted Chikatilo friendly and asked how well he was feeling. They had known each other long so Chikatilo smiled back and completely calmed down. The prosecutor asked why in that morning he had refused to autograph the book written about him. Chikatilo replied he hadn’t read that book and hadn’t known whose it was. He asked to fetch it if the book was there. The prosecutor went out and just at once came back with the book “Comrade Chikatilo” by M. Krivich and O. Olgin and asked the guards to remove the handcuffs. Sitting on his haunches Chikatilo wrote down with the prosecutor’s pen, “…thank you and all to whom I have been a worry so that there won’t be such criminals or sick men as me any more.” He signed and put down the date, February 14, 1994.

One minute later the prosecutor was already checking the prepared documents: the verdict, the judicial decision, the court order and the Russian Federation Presidential Decree signed by B. Yeltsin on January 4, 1994. The group head said, “Let’s go.” They all started getting into fuss and headed through a long corridor towards the farthest end of the cellar. There was a single open room on the left. They came into it. The cold ran through the people already chilled enough. There was a small desk to the right of the entrance at the farthest end. It had already seen service at an office. There were four chairs as old as the desk by which they were standing. The prosecutor was first to squeeze to the desk, then the representative of DIA, the doctor and the group head followed him.

Chikatilo was showed in, still calm. The iron door was closed. On carrying out formalities, the prosecutor clarified his first name, date and place of birth and the date of the extension of judgment. He asked whether he knew about the Presidential Decree. Chikatilo became agitated, “What, did he reject?” The prosecutor ducked the question and said, “Listen, I’m reading it out.” The decree consisted only of several lines. Chikatilo listened to it without a word. But he neither realized nor believed, his face betrayed no emotions and he didn’t utter a word. The prosecutor read the decree once more. At last Chikatilo asked, “So I will be shot dead, won’t I?” Everybody was keeping silent. The pause was running over annoyingly. Then the prosecutor said in an unexpectedly hoarse voice, “Execute the sentence.” In the same flash of time another door to the left of Chikatilo opened noiselessly. The guards turned the condemned prisoner abruptly to it and pushed him, he took two steps and disappeared in another room. One second later a dull bang went off. It was a shot. The clock said 08.00 p. m. After all those officials presented there had hastily signed the necessary documents with hands trembling with either anxiety or cold, they started making a move.

The doctor was first to come into the room of the execution, then the others followed him. Chikatilo was lying on the floor facedown. He stretched at the full length of his big body. His heart was still beating and pushing out a thick gush of blood into a bullet hole. The blood was noisily flowing down, and if a stranger had heard the shot, he could have thought that a faucet hadn’t been turned off somewhere. Somebody suggested shooting once more, but the doctor said there was no need. They were breathing in powder fume and exchanging some words which meant nothing. Only the assistant executioner pointed out,

– My goodness, he said, “And the heart is still beating.”

– Who said? asked the prosecutor.

– Chikatilo did.

The prosecutor didn’t believe.

Vyacheslav Trubnikov, Novocherkassk – Rostov-on-Don,
Arguments and Facts Newspaper, February 11, 2004

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