Andrei Chikatilo was born on 16 October 1936 in the village of Yabluchne in the Sumy Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. At the time of his birth, Ukraine was in the grip of mass famine caused by Joseph Stalin's forced collectivization of agriculture.
Chikatilo's parents were both collective farm labourers who lived in a one-room hut and who received no wages for their work, but instead received the right to cultivate a plot of land behind the family hut. The family seldom had sufficient food; Chikatilo himself later claimed not to have eaten bread until the age of twelve, adding that he and his family often had to eat grass and leaves in an effort to stave off hunger. Throughout his childhood, Chikatilo was repeatedly told by his mother Anna that prior to his birth, an older brother of his named Stepan had, at age 4, been kidnapped and cannibalized by starving neighbours, although it has never been independently established whether this incident actually occurred, or if a Stepan Chikatilo even existed. Nonetheless, Chikatilo recalled his childhood as being blighted by poverty, ridicule, hunger, and war.
When the Soviet Union entered World War II, Chikatilo's father was drafted into the Red Army and subsequently taken prisoner after being wounded in combat. Between 1941 and 1944, Chikatilo witnessed some of the effects of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, which he described as "horrors", adding he witnessed bombings, fires, and shootings from which he and his mother would hide in cellars and ditches. On one occasion, Chikatilo and his mother were forced to watch their own hut burn to the ground. With his father at war, Chikatilo and his mother slept sharing a single bed. He was a chronic bed wetter and was berated and beaten by his mother for each offense.
In 1943 Chikatilo's mother gave birth to a baby girl, Tatyana. Because Chikatilo's father had been conscripted in 1941, he could not have fathered this child. As many Ukrainian women were raped by German soldiers in World War II, it has been speculated Tatyana was conceived as a result of a rape committed by a German soldier. As Chikatilo and his mother lived in a one-room hut, this rape may have been committed in Chikatilo's presence.
In September 1944, Chikatilo began his schooling. Although shy and ardently studious as a child, he was physically weak and regularly attended school in homespun clothing and, by 1946, with his stomach swollen from hunger resulting from the post-war famine which plagued much of the Soviet Union. On several occasions, this hunger caused Chikatilo to faint both at home and at school, and he was consistently targeted by bullies who regularly mocked him over his physical stature and timid nature. At home, Chikatilo and his sister were constantly berated by their mother. Tatyana later recalled that in spite of the hardships endured by her parents, their father, Roman, was a kind man, whereas their mother was harsh and unforgiving toward her children.
Chikatilo developed a passion for reading and memorizing data, and often studied at home, both to increase his sense of self-worth and to compensate for his myopia, which often prevented him from reading the classroom blackboard. To his teachers, Chikatilo was an excellent student upon whom they would regularly bestow praise and commendation.
By his teens, Chikatilo was both a model student and an ardent Communist. He was appointed editor of his school newspaper at age 14 and chairman of the pupils' Communist committee two years later. An avid reader of Communist literature, he was also delegated the task of organizing street marches. Although Chikatilo claimed learning did not come easy to him due to headaches and a poor memory, he was the only student from his collective farm to complete the final year of study, graduating with excellent grades in 1954.
At the onset of puberty, Chikatilo discovered that he suffered from chronic impotence, worsening his social awkwardness and self-hatred. He was shy in the company of women; his first crush, at age 17, had been on a girl named Lilya Barysheva, with whom he had become acquainted through his school newspaper, yet he was chronically nervous in her company and never asked her for a date. The same year, Chikatilo jumped upon an 11-year-old friend of his younger sister and wrestled her to the ground, ejaculating as the girl struggled in his grasp.
Following his graduation, Chikatilo applied for a scholarship at Moscow State University. Although he passed the entrance examination with good-to-excellent scores, his grades were not deemed good enough for acceptance. Chikatilo speculated his scholarship application was rejected due to his father's tainted war record (his father had been branded a traitor for being taken prisoner in 1943), but the truth was that other students had performed better in a highly competitive exam. He did not attempt to enroll at another university; instead, he travelled to the city of Kursk, where he worked as a labourer for three months before—in 1955—enrolling in a vocational school, where he studied to become a communications technician. The same year, Chikatilo formed his first serious relationship, with a local girl two years his junior. On three separate occasions, the couple attempted intercourse, although on each occasion, Chikatilo was unable to sustain an erection. After 18 months, the girl broke off their relationship.
Upon completion of his two-year vocational training, Chikatilo chose to relocate to the Urals city of Nizhny Tagil to work upon a long-term construction project. While working in this city, he also undertook correspondence courses in engineering with the Moscow Electrotechnical Institute of Communication. He worked in the Urals for two years until he was drafted into the Soviet Army in 1957.
Chikatilo performed his compulsory military service between 1957 and 1960, assigned first to serve with border guards in Central Asia, then to a KGB communications unit in Berlin. Here, his work record was unblemished, and he joined the Communist party in 1960, shortly before his military service ended.
Upon completing his army service, Chikatilo returned to his native village to live with his parents. He soon became acquainted with a young divorcee, and the pair began a three-month relationship, which ended after several unsuccessful attempts at intercourse, when the woman innocently asked her friends for advice as to how Chikatilo might overcome his inability to maintain an erection. As a result, most of his peers discovered his impotence. In a 1993 interview regarding this incident, Chikatilo stated: "Girls were going behind my back, whispering that I was impotent. I was so ashamed. I tried to hang myself. My mother and some young neighbours pulled me out of the noose. Well, I thought no one would want such a shamed man. So I had to run away from there, away from my homeland."
After several months, Chikatilo found a job as a communications engineer in a town located north of Rostov-on-Don. He relocated to Russia in 1961, renting a small apartment close to his workplace. The same year, his younger sister, Tatyana, finished her schooling and moved into his apartment (his parents would relocate to the Rostov-on-Don region shortly thereafter). Tatyana lived with her brother for six months before marrying a local youth and moving into her in-laws' home; she noted nothing untoward with regard to her brother's lifestyle, except his chronic shyness around women, and resolved to help her brother find a wife and start a family.
In 1963 Chikatilo married a woman named Feodosia Odnacheva, to whom he had been introduced by his younger sister. According to Chikatilo, although he was attracted to Feodosia, his marriage was basically an arranged one which occurred barely two weeks after they had met and in which the decisive roles were played by his sister and her husband.
Chikatilo later claimed that his marital sex life was minimal and that, after his wife understood he was unable to maintain an erection, they agreed she would conceive by him ejaculating externally and pushing his semen inside her vagina with his fingers. In 1965, Feodosia gave birth to a daughter, Lyudmila. Four years later, in 1969, a son named Yuri was born.
In 1970 Chikatilo completed a five-year correspondence course in Russian literature and obtained his degree in the subject from Rostov University. Shortly before obtaining his degree, Chikatilo obtained a job managing regional sports activities. He remained in this position for one year, before beginning his career as a teacher of Russian language and literature in Novoshakhtinsk.
Chikatilo was largely ineffective as a teacher; although knowledgeable in the subjects he taught, he was seldom able to maintain discipline in his classes and was regularly subjected to mockery by his students who, he claimed, took advantage of his modest nature.
In May 1973, Chikatilo committed his first known sexual assault upon one of his pupils. In this incident, he swam towards a 15-year-old girl and groped her breasts and genitals, ejaculating as the girl struggled against his grasp. Months later, Chikatilo sexually assaulted another teenage girl whom he had locked in his classroom. He was not disciplined for either of these incidents, or for the occasions in which fellow teachers observed Chikatilo fondling himself in the presence of his students. One of Chikatilo's duties at this school was ensuring his students who boarded at the school were present in their dormitories in the evenings; on several occasions, he is known to have entered the girls' dormitory in the hope of seeing them undressed.
In response to the increasing number of complaints lodged against him by his students, the director of the school summoned Chikatilo to a formal meeting and informed him he should resign voluntarily, or be fired. Chikatilo left his employment discreetly and found another job as a teacher at another school in Novoshakhtinsk in January 1974. He lost this job as a result of staff cutbacks in September 1978, before finding another teaching position in Shakhty.
Chikatilo's career as a teacher ended in March 1981 following several complaints of child molestation against pupils of both sexes. The same month, he began a job as a supply clerk for a factory based in Rostov which produced construction materials. This role required Chikatilo to travel extensively across much of the Soviet Union to either physically purchase the raw materials required to fulfill production quotas, or to negotiate supply contracts.
In September 1978, Chikatilo moved to Shakhty, a coal mining town near Rostov-on-Don, where he committed his first documented murder. On 22 December, Chikatilo lured a 9-year-old girl named Yelena Zakotnova to an old house which he had secretly purchased; he attempted to rape her but failed to achieve an erection. When the girl struggled, he choked her and stabbed her three times in the abdomen, ejaculating while stabbing the child. In an interview after his arrest, Chikatilo later recalled that after stabbing Yelena, the girl had "said something very hoarsely", whereupon he strangled her into unconsciousness before throwing her body into the nearby Grushevka River. Her body was found two days later.
Numerous pieces of evidence linked Chikatilo to Zakotnova's murder: spots of blood had been found in the snow near the house Chikatilo had purchased; neighbours had noted that Chikatilo had been present in the house on the evening of 22 December; Zakotnova's school rucksack had been found upon the opposite bank of the river at the end of the street (indicating the girl had been thrown into the river at this location); and a witness had given police a detailed description of a man closely resembling Chikatilo, whom she had seen talking with Zakotnova at the bus stop where the girl had last been seen alive. Despite these facts, a 25-year-old labourer named Aleksandr Kravchenko who, as a teenager, had served a prison sentence for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, was arrested for the crime. A search of Kravchenko's home revealed spots of blood on his wife's jumper: the blood type was determined to match both Zakotnova and Kravchenko's wife.
Kravchenko had a watertight alibi for the afternoon of 22 December: he had been at home with his wife and a friend of hers the entire afternoon, and neighbours of the couple were able to verify this. Nonetheless, the police, having threatened Kravchenko's wife with being an accomplice to murder and her friend with perjury, obtained new statements in which the women claimed Kravchenko had not returned home until late in the evening on the day of the murder. Confronted with these altered testimonies, Kravchenko confessed to the killing. He was tried for the murder in 1979. At his trial, Kravchenko retracted his confession and maintained his innocence, stating his confession had been obtained under extreme duress. Despite his retraction, he was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death in 1979. This sentence was commuted to 15 years' imprisonment (the maximum possible length of imprisonment at the time) by the Supreme Court in December, 1980. Under pressure from the victim's relatives, Kravchenko was retried and eventually executed for Zakotnova's murder in July 1983.
Following Zakotnova's murder, Chikatilo was able to achieve sexual arousal and orgasm only through stabbing and slashing women and children to death, and he later claimed that the urge to relive the experience had overwhelmed him although he did stress that, initially, he had struggled to resist these urges.
On 3 September 1981 Chikatilo encountered a 17-year-old boarding school student, named Larisa Tkachenko, standing at a bus stop as he exited a public library in Rostov city centre. According to his subsequent confession, Chikatilo lured Tkachenko to a forest near the Don River with the pretext of drinking vodka and "relaxing". When they reached a secluded area, he threw the girl to the ground before tearing off her clothes and attempting intercourse, as Tkachenko remonstrated against his actions. When Chikatilo failed to achieve an erection, he forced mud inside her mouth to stifle her screams before battering and strangling her to death. As he had no knife, Chikatilo mutilated the body with his teeth and a stick; he also tore one nipple from Tkachenko's body with his teeth, before loosely covering her body with leaves, branches, and torn pages of newspaper. Tkachenko's body was found the following day.
Nine months after the murder of Tkachenko, on 12 June 1982, Chikatilo travelled by bus to the Bagayevsky District of Rostov to purchase vegetables. Having to change buses in the village of Donskoi, he decided to continue his journey on foot. Walking away from the bus station, he encountered a 13-year-old girl, named Lyubov Biryuk, who was herself walking home from a shopping trip. Once the path both were taking together was shielded from the view of potential witnesses by bushes, Chikatilo pounced upon Biryuk, dragged her into nearby undergrowth, tore off her dress, and killed her by stabbing and slashing her to death. When her body was found on 27 June, the medical examiner discovered evidence of 22 knife wounds inflicted to the head, neck, chest, and pelvic region. Further wounds found on the skull suggested the killer had attacked Biryuk from behind with the handle and blade of his knife. In addition, several striations were discovered upon Biryuk's eye sockets.
Following Biryuk's murder, Chikatilo no longer attempted to resist his homicidal urges: between July and September 1982, he killed a further five victims between the ages of nine and 18. He established a pattern of approaching children, runaways, and young vagrants at bus or railway stations, enticing them to a nearby forest or other secluded area, and killing them, usually by stabbing, slashing and eviscerating the victim with a knife; although some victims, in addition to receiving a multitude of knife wounds, were also strangled or battered to death.
Many of the victims' bodies bore evidence of mutilation to the eye sockets. Pathologists concluded the injuries were caused by a knife, leading investigators to the conclusion the killer had gouged out the eyes of his victims. Chikatilo's adult female victims were often prostitutes or homeless women whom he would lure to secluded areas with promises of alcohol or money. Chikatilo would typically attempt intercourse with these victims, but he would usually be unable to achieve or maintain an erection; this would send him into a murderous fury, particularly if the woman mocked his impotence. He would achieve orgasm only when he stabbed and slashed the victim to death. His child and adolescent victims were of both sexes; Chikatilo would lure these victims to secluded areas using a variety of ruses, usually formed in the initial conversation with the victim, such as promising them assistance or company, or offering to show them a shortcut, a chance to view rare stamps, films or coins, or with an offer of food or candy. He would usually overpower these victims once they were alone, often tying their hands behind their backs with a length of rope before stuffing mud or loam into the victims' mouth to silence their screams, and then proceed to kill them. After the killing, Chikatilo would make rudimentary—though seldom serious—efforts to conceal the body before leaving the crime scene.
On 11 December 1982 Chikatilo encountered a 10-year-old girl, named Olga Stalmachenok, riding a bus to her parents' home in Novoshakhtinsk and persuaded the child to leave the bus with him. She was last seen by a fellow passenger, who reported the girl was being led firmly by the hand by a middle-aged man. Stalmachenok was lured to a cornfield on the outskirts of Novoshakhtinsk before she was killed. Chikatilo stabbed the girl in excess of 50 times around the head and body, ripped open her chest and excised her lower bowel and uterus.
By January 1983, four victims thus far killed had been tentatively linked to the same killer. A Moscow police team, headed by Major Mikhail Fetisov, was sent to Rostov-on-Don to direct the investigation. Fetisov established a team of 10 investigators, based in Rostov, charged with solving all four cases. In March, Fetisov assigned a newly appointed specialist forensic analyst, Viktor Burakov, to head the investigation. The following month, Olga Stalmachenok's body was found. Burakov was summoned to the crime scene, where he examined the numerous knife wounds and eviscerations conducted upon the child, and the striations on her eye sockets. Burakov later stated that, as he noted the striations upon Stalmachenok's eye sockets, any doubts about the presence of a serial killer evaporated.
Chikatilo did not kill again until June 1983, when he murdered a 15-year-old Armenian girl named Laura Sarkisyan; her body was found close to an unmarked railway platform near Shakhty. By September, he had killed a further five victims. The accumulation of bodies found and the similarities between the pattern of wounds inflicted on the victims forced the Soviet authorities to acknowledge that a serial killer was on the loose. On 6 September 1983 the public prosecutor of the USSR formally linked six of the murders thus far committed to the same killer.
Due to the sheer savagery of the murders and the precision of the eviscerations upon the victims' bodies, police theorized that the killings had been conducted by either a group harvesting organs to sell for transplant, the work of a Satanic cult, or a mentally ill individual. Much of the police effort concentrated upon the theory that the killer must be either mentally ill, homosexual, or a paedophile, and the alibis of all individuals who had either spent time in psychiatric wards or had been convicted of homosexuality or paedophilia were checked and logged in a card filing system. Registered sex offenders were also investigated and, if their alibi was corroborated, eliminated from the inquiry.
Beginning in September 1983, several young men confessed to the murders, although these individuals were often intellectually disabled youths who admitted to the crimes only under prolonged and often brutal interrogation. Three known homosexuals and a convicted sex offender committed suicide as a result of the investigators' heavy-handed tactics. As a result of the investigation into the killings, more than 1000 unrelated crimes, including 95 murders and 245 rapes, were solved.
However, as police obtained confessions from suspects, bodies continued to be discovered, proving that the suspects who had confessed could not be the killer the police were seeking. On 30 October 1983 the eviscerated body of a 19-year-old prostitute, named Vera Shevkun, was found in Shakhty. Shevkun had been killed on 27 October. Although the mutilations inflicted upon Shevkun's body were otherwise characteristic of those found upon other victims linked to the unknown murderer, the victim's eyes had not been enucleated or otherwise wounded. Two months later, on 27 December, a 14-year-old Gukovo schoolboy, named Sergey Markov, was lured off a train and murdered at a rural station near Novocherkassk. Markov was emasculated and suffered over 70 knife wounds to his neck and upper torso before being eviscerated.
In January and February 1984, Chikatilo killed two women in Rostov's Aviators' Park. On 24 March, he lured a 10-year-old boy, named Dmitry Ptashnikov, away from a stamp kiosk in Novoshakhtinsk. While walking with the boy, Chikatilo was seen by several witnesses who were able to give investigators a detailed description of the killer. When Ptashnikov's body was found three days later, police also found a footprint of the killer and both semen and saliva samples on the victim's clothing.
On 25 May, Chikatilo killed a young woman named Tatyana Petrosyan and her 10-year-old daughter, Svetlana, in a wooded area outside Shakhty; Petrosyan had known Chikatilo for several years prior to her murder. By the end of July, he had killed three additional young women between the ages of 19 and 21, and a 13-year-old boy. In the summer of 1984, Chikatilo was fired from his work as a supply clerk for theft of property. The accusation had been filed against him the previous February, and he had been asked to resign quietly but had refused to do so, as he had denied the charges. Chikatilo found another job as a supply clerk in Rostov on 1 August.
On 2 August, Chikatilo killed a 16-year-old girl, Natalya Golosovskaya, in Aviators' Park. On 7 August, he lured a 17-year-old girl, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, to the banks of the Don River on the pretense of showing her a shortcut to a bus terminal. Alekseyeva suffered 39 slash wounds to her body before Chikatilo mutilated and disemboweled her: intentionally inflicting wounds he knew would not be immediately fatal. Her body was found in the following morning, her excised upper lip inside her mouth. Hours after Alekseyeva's murder, Chikatilo flew to the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent on a business trip. By the time he had returned to Rostov on 15 August, he had killed an unidentified young woman and a 10-year-old girl. Within two weeks an 11-year-old boy had been found strangled and castrated, with his eyes gouged out, in Rostov before a young librarian, Irina Luchinskaya, was killed in Aviators' Park on 6 September.
On 13 September 1984 Chikatilo was observed by an undercover detective attempting to lure young women away from a Rostov bus station. He was arrested and held. A search of his belongings revealed a knife and rope. He was also discovered to be under investigation for minor theft at one of his former employers, which gave the investigators the legal right to hold him for a prolonged period of time. Chikatilo's dubious background was uncovered, and his physical description matched the description of the man seen with Dmitry Ptashnikov in March prior to the boy's murder. A sample of Chikatilo's blood was taken; the results of which revealed his blood group to be type A, whereas semen samples found upon a total of six victims murdered by the unknown killer throughout the spring and summer of 1984 had been classified by medical examiners to be type AB. Chikatilo's name was added to the card index file used by investigators; however, the results of his blood type analysis largely discounted him as being the unknown killer. (By Chikatilo's arrest, the index file had expanded to include over 25,000 individuals investigated in connection with the murders.)
Chikatilo was found guilty of theft of property from his previous employer and sentenced to one year in prison, but was freed on 12 December 1984 after serving three months.
On 8 October 1984 the head of the Russian Public Prosecutors Office formally linked 23 of Chikatilo's murders into one case and dropped all charges against the mentally handicapped youths who had previously confessed to the murders.
Upon his release from prison in December 1984, Chikatilo found new work at a locomotive factory in Novocherkassk and kept a low profile. He did not kill again until 1 August 1985 when, on a business trip to Moscow, he encountered an 18-year-old woman, named Natalia Pokhlistova, at a railway platform near Domodedovo Airport. Pokhlistova was lured into a thicket of woods where she was bound, stabbed 38 times, then strangled to death. Based upon the hypothesis that the killer had travelled from the Rostov Oblast to Moscow via air, investigators checked all Aeroflot flight records of passengers who had commuted between Moscow and the Rostov Oblast between late July and early August. On this occasion, however, Chikatilo had travelled to Moscow by train and, accordingly, no documentation existed for investigators to research. Four weeks later, on 27 August, Chikatilo killed another young woman, Irina Gulyaeva, in Shakhty. As had been the case with Natalia Pokhlistova, the wounds inflicted upon the victim linked her murder to the hunt for the serial killer.
In November 1985, a special procurator, named Issa Kostoyev, was appointed to supervise the investigation, which had by this stage expanded to include 15 procurators and 29 detectives assigned to work exclusively upon the manhunt. The known murders linked to the manhunt were carefully re-investigated, and police began another round of questioning of known sex offenders and homosexuals. The following month, the militsiya resumed the patrolling of railway stations around Rostov, and plain clothed female officers were ordered to loiter around bus and train stations. At the request of Viktor Burakov, police also took the step of consulting a psychiatrist, Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky, the first such consultation in a serial killer investigation in the Soviet Union. All crime scene and medical examiner's reports were made available to Bukhanovsky, upon the understanding he would produce a psychological profile of the unknown murderer for investigators.
Bukhanovsky's 65-page psychological profile described the killer as a reclusive man aged between 45 and 50 years old who had endured a painful and isolated childhood, and who was incapable of flirting or courtship with women. This individual was of average intelligence, likely to be married and to have fathered children, but also a sadist who suffered from impotence and could achieve sexual arousal only by seeing his victims suffer. The murders themselves were an analogue to the sexual intercourse this individual was incapable of performing, and his knife became a substitute for a penis which failed to function normally. Because many of the killings had occurred on weekdays near mass transport hubs and across the entire Rostov Oblast, Bukhanovsky also argued that the killer's work required him to travel regularly, and based upon the actual days of the week when the killings had occurred, the killer was most likely tied to a production schedule.
Chikatilo followed the investigation carefully, reading newspaper reports about the manhunt for the killer, which had begun to appear in the news media, and keeping his homicidal urges under control. For almost a year following the August 1985 murder of Irina Gulyaeva, no further victims were found in either the Rostov or Moscow Oblasts whose bodies bore the signature mutilations of the unknown murderer. Investigators did tentatively link the murder of a 33-year-old woman named Lyubov Golovakha—found stabbed to death in the Myasnikovsky District of Rostov on 23 July 1986—to the investigation, although this was solely upon the basis that the killer's semen type matched that of the killer they were seeking, that the victim had been stripped naked prior to her murder, and that she had been stabbed in excess of 20 times. The victim had not been dismembered or otherwise mutilated, nor had she been seen near mass transportation. Because of these discrepancies, many investigators expressed serious doubts as to whether Golovakha's murder had been committed by the killer they were seeking.
On 18 August 1986 a victim was found buried in a depression of earth in the grounds of a collective farm in the city of Bataysk. The wounds inflicted upon this victim did seem to bear the trademark mutilations of victims linked to the manhunt killed between 1982 and 1985. The victim was an 18-year-old secretary named Irina Pogoryelova. Pogoryelova's body bore all the trademark mutilations of the previous victims: her body had been slit open from the neck to the genitalia, with one breast removed and her eyes cut out. As the murderer had made serious efforts to bury the body, some investigators theorized that this explained the sudden dearth in the number of victims found.
By the autumn of 1986, investigators in Rostov theorized that the unknown killer may have moved to another part of the Soviet Union and continued killing there. As the three victims killed in the Rostov Oblast in 1985 and 1986 had died in August, some investigators gave credence to the possibility the perpetrator may have relocated to another part of the Soviet Union, and may only be returning to the Rostov Oblast in summer. The Rostov police compiled bulletins to be sent to all forces throughout the Soviet Union, describing the pattern of wounds their unknown killer inflicted upon his victims and requesting feedback from any police force who had discovered murder victims with wounds matching those upon the victims found in the Rostov Oblast. The response was negative. (Uzbekistan investigators did not link the two murders committed by Chikatilo in Tashkent to the series because in one instance, the victim had been beheaded, and in the second instance, the mutilations upon the victim had been so extensive police had concluded the body had been caught in a harvesting machine.)
In 1987 Chikatilo killed three times. On each occasion the murder took place while he was on a business trip far away from the Rostov Oblast, and none of these murders were linked to the manhunt in Rostov. Chikatilo's first murder in 1987 was committed on 16 May, when he encountered a 12-year-old boy, named Oleg Makarenkov, at a train station in the Urals town of Revda. Makarenkov was lured from the station with the promise of sharing a meal with Chikatilo at his dacha; he was murdered in woodland close to the station, although his remains would remain undiscovered until 1991. In July, he killed a 12-year-old boy, named Ivan Bilovetsky, in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia, and on 15 September, he killed a 16-year-old vocational school student, named Yuri Tereshonok, in woodland on the outskirts of Leningrad.
In 1988 Chikatilo killed three times, murdering an unidentified woman in Krasny Sulin in April and two boys in May and July. His first murder victim was lured off a train at Krasny Sulin before Chikatilo bound her hands behind her back and stuffed her mouth with dirt, before severing her nose from her face and inflicting numerous knife wounds to her neck. Chikatilo then bludgeoned her to death with a slab of concrete; her body was found on 6 April. Investigators noted that the knife wounds inflicted upon this victim were similar to those inflicted on the victims linked to the manhunt and killed between 1982 and 1985, but as the woman had been killed with a slab of concrete and had not been disemboweled, investigators were unsure whether to link this murder to the investigation. In May, Chikatilo killed a 9-year-old boy, named Aleksey Voronko, in Ilovaisk, Ukraine. The boy's wounds left no doubt the killer had struck again, and this murder was linked to the manhunt. On 14 July, Chikatilo killed 15-year-old Yevgeny Muratov at Donleskhoz station near Shakhty. Muratov's murder was also linked to the investigation, although his body was not found until April 1989. Although his remains were largely skeletal, Muratov's autopsy revealed he had been emasculated, and suffered at least 30 knife wounds.
Chikatilo did not kill again until 1 March 1989, when he killed a 16-year-old girl in his daughter's vacant apartment. He dismembered her body and hid the remains in a sewer. As the victim had been dismembered, police did not link her murder to the investigation. Between May and August, Chikatilo killed a further four victims, three of whom were killed in Rostov and Shakhty, although only two of these victims were linked to the killer. With the resurfacing of victims definitively linked to the manhunt and the fact the majority of these victims' bodies had been discovered close to railway stations, investigators assigned numerous plain clothed officers to discreetly film and photograph passengers on trains throughout the Rostov Oblast. Several trains were also fitted with hidden cameras with the intention of filming or photographing a victim in the company of his or her murderer.
On 14 January 1990 Chikatilo encountered 11-year-old Andrei Kravchenko standing outside a Shakhty theater. Kravchenko was lured from the theater on the pretext of being shown imported Western films Chikatilo claimed to have at his residence; his extensively stabbed, emasculated body was found in a secluded section of woodland the following month. Seven weeks after Kravchenko's murder, on 7 March, Chikatilo lured a 10-year-old boy, named Yaroslav Makarov, from a Rostov train station to Rostov's Botanical Gardens. The eviscerated body was found the following day.
On 11 March, the leaders of the investigation, headed by Mikhail Fetisov, held a meeting to discuss progress made in the manhunt. Fetisov was under intense pressure from the public, the press, and the Ministry of the Interior in Moscow to solve the case. The intensity of the manhunt in the years up to 1984 had receded to a degree between 1985 and 1987, when Chikatilo had committed only three murders investigators had conclusively linked to the killer—all killed by 1986. However, by March 1990, a further six victims had been linked to the killer. In addition, following the introduction of greater media freedom as a result of glasnost, the Soviet news media was much less repressed than it had been in the early years of the manhunt and as such, devoted extensive publicity to the case. Fetisov had also noted laxity in some areas of the investigation and warned that people would be fired if the killer was not caught soon.
Chikatilo had killed three further victims by August 1990: on 4 April, he lured a 31-year-old woman, named Lyubov Zuyeva, off a train and killed her in woodland near Donleskhoz station. Her body was not found until 24 August. On 28 July, he lured a 13-year-old boy, named Viktor Petrov, away from a Rostov railway station and killed him in Rostov's Botanical Gardens; and on 14 August, he killed an 11-year-old boy, named Ivan Fomin, in the reeds near Novocherkassk beach.
The discovery of more victims sparked a massive police operation. Because several victims had been found at stations on one rail route through the Rostov Oblast, Viktor Burakov suggested a plan to saturate all larger stations in the Rostov Oblast with an obvious uniformed police presence which the killer could not fail to notice. The intention was to discourage the killer from attempting to strike at any of these locations, and to have undercover agents patrol smaller and less busy stations, where the murderer's activities would be more likely to be noticed. The plan was approved, and both the uniformed and undercover officers were instructed to question any adult man in the company of a young woman or child, and note his name and passport number. Police deployed 360 men at all the stations in the Rostov Oblast, but only undercover officers were posted at the three smallest stations on the route through the oblast where the killer had struck most frequently—Kirpichnaya, Donleskhoz, and Lesostep—in an effort to force the killer to strike at one of those three stations. The operation was implemented on 27 October 1990.
On 30 October, police found the body of a 16-year-old boy, named Vadim Gromov, at Donleskhoz station. The wounds upon Gromov's body immediately linked his murder to the manhunt: the youth had been strangled, stabbed 27 times and castrated, with the tip of his tongue severed and his left eye stabbed. Gromov had been killed on 17 October, 10 days before the start of the initiative. The same day Gromov's body was found, Chikatilo lured another 16-year-old boy, Viktor Tishchenko, off a train at Kirpichnaya station, another station under surveillance from undercover police, and killed him in a nearby forest. Tishchenko's body—bearing 40 separate knife wounds—was found on 3 November.
On 6 November 1990, Chikatilo killed and mutilated a 22-year-old woman, named Svetlana Korostik, in woodland near Donleskhoz station. While leaving the crime scene, he was observed by an undercover officer. The policeman observed Chikatilo approach a well and wash his hands and face. When he approached the station, the undercover officer noted that Chikatilo's coat had grass and soil stains on the elbows. Chikatilo also had a small red smear on his cheek. To the officer, he looked suspicious. The only reason people entered woodland near the station at that time of year was to gather wild mushrooms (a popular pastime in Russia), but Chikatilo was not dressed like a typical forest scavenger; he was wearing more formal attire. Moreover, he had a nylon sports bag, which was unsuitable for carrying mushrooms. The policeman stopped Chikatilo and checked his papers, but had no formal reason to arrest him. When the policeman returned to his office, he filed a routine report, containing the name of the person he had stopped at the station.
On 13 November, Korostik's body was found; she was the 36th known victim linked to the manhunt. Police summoned the officer in charge of surveillance at Donleskhoz station, and examined the reports of all men stopped and questioned in the previous week. Not only was Chikatilo's name among those reports, but it was familiar to several officers involved in the case, because he had been questioned in 1984, and had been placed upon a 1987 suspect list compiled and distributed throughout the Soviet Union. After checking with Chikatilo's present and previous employers, investigators were able to place him in various towns and cities at times when several victims linked to the investigation had been killed. Questioning of former colleagues from Chikatilo's teaching days revealed that Chikatilo had been forced to resign from two teaching positions due to repeated complaints of lewd behaviour and sexual assault made by his pupils.
Police placed Chikatilo under surveillance on 14 November. In several instances, particularly on trains or buses, he was observed approaching lone young women or children, and engaging them in conversation. If the woman or child broke off the conversation, Chikatilo would wait a few minutes and then seek another conversation partner. On 20 November, after six days of surveillance, Chikatilo left his house with a large jar, which he had filled with beer at a small kiosk in a local park, before he wandered around Novocherkassk, attempting to make contact with children he met on his way. Upon exiting a cafe, Chikatilo was arrested by four plainclothes police officers.
Upon his arrest, Chikatilo gave a statement claiming that the police were mistaken, and complained that he had also been arrested in 1984 for the same series of murders. A strip-search of the suspect revealed a further piece of evidence: one of Chikatilo's fingers had a flesh wound. Medical examiners concluded the wound was from a human bite. Chikatilo's penultimate victim, Viktor Tishchenko, was a physically strong youth. At the crime scene, the police had found numerous signs of a ferocious physical struggle between the victim and his murderer. Although a finger bone was later found to be broken, and his fingernail had been bitten off, Chikatilo had never sought medical treatment for his injuries.
A search of Chikatilo's belongings revealed he had been in possession of a folding knife and two lengths of rope. A sample of Chikatilo's blood was taken, and he was placed in a cell inside the KGB headquarters in Rostov with a police informer, who was instructed to engage Chikatilo in conversation and elicit any information he could from him. The next day, 21 November, formal questioning of Chikatilo began. The interrogation was performed by Issa Kostoyev. The strategy chosen by the police to elicit a confession was to lead Chikatilo to believe that he was a very sick man in need of medical help. The intention was to give Chikatilo hope that if he confessed, he would not be prosecuted by reason of insanity. Police knew their case against Chikatilo was largely circumstantial, and under Soviet law, they had 10 days in which they could legally hold a suspect before either charging or releasing him.
On 21 November, the results of Chikatilo's blood test again revealed his blood type to be type A and not type AB. Due to the amount of physical and circumstantial evidence investigators had thus far compiled, which indicated Chikatilo was indeed the murderer they had been pursuing, plus the fact that investigators had deduced the blood type of the murderer they had pursued using semen samples obtained from the clothing and bodies of 14 of the victims as opposed to actual blood samples, investigators obtained a sample of Chikatilo's semen to test his blood type, the results of which confirmed that Chikatilo's semen was type AB, whereas his blood and saliva were type A. (Investigators had received a circular in 1988 indicating that in extremely rare cases, a man's blood type may differ from his semen and saliva type.)
Throughout the questioning, Chikatilo repeatedly denied that he had committed the murders, although he did confess to molesting his pupils during his career as a teacher. He also produced several written essays for Kostoyev which, although evasive regarding the actual murders, did reveal psychological symptoms consistent with those predicted by Dr. Bukhanovsky in 1985. The interrogation tactics used by Kostoyev may also have caused Chikatilo to become defensive; the informer sharing a KGB cell with the suspect reported to police that Chikatilo had informed him that Kostoyev had repeatedly asked him direct questions regarding the mutilations inflicted upon the victims.
On 29 November, at the request of Burakov and Fetisov, Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky, the psychiatrist who had written the 1985 psychological profile of the then-unknown killer, was invited to assist in the questioning of the suspect. Bukhanovsky read extracts from his 65-page psychological profile to Chikatilo. Within two hours, Chikatilo burst into tears and confessed to Bukhanovsky that he was indeed guilty of the crimes for which he had been arrested. After conversing into the evening, Bukhanovsky reported to Burakov and Fetisov that Chikatilo was ready to confess.
Armed with the handwritten notes Bukhanovsky had prepared, Issa Kostoyev prepared a formal accusation of murder dated 29 November—the eve of the expiration of the 10-day time period during which Chikatilo could legally be held before being charged.
The following morning, 30 November, Issa Kostoyev resumed the interrogation. According to the official protocol, Chikatilo confessed to 34 of the 36 murders police had linked to him, although he denied two additional murders committed in 1986 the police had initially believed he had committed: one of whom was Lyubov Golovakha, found stabbed to death on 23 July 1986 and whom investigators had had serious doubts about linking to the manhunt; the second was 18-year-old Irina Pogoryelova, found murdered in Bataysk on 18 August 1986 and whose mutilations closely matched those inflicted upon other victims linked to the manhunt. (Chikatilo would later specifically state in an outburst at his trial he had indeed killed Pogoryelova, whom he referred to by name in this outburst.)
Chikatilo gave a full, detailed description of each murder on the list of charges, all of which were consistent with known facts regarding each killing. When prompted, he could draw a rough sketch of various crime scenes, indicating the position of the victim's body and various landmarks in the vicinity of the crime scene. Additional details provided further proof of his guilt: one victim on the list of charges was a 19-year-old student named Anna Lemesheva, whom Chikatilo had killed on 19 July 1984 near Shakhty station. Chikatilo recalled that as he had fought to overpower her, she had stated that a man named "Bars" would retaliate for his attacking her. Lemesheva's fiancé had the nickname "Bars" tattooed on his hand.
In describing his victims, Chikatilo falsely referred to them as "déclassé elements" whom he would lure to secluded areas before killing. In many instances, particularly (though not exclusively) with his male victims, Chikatilo stated he would bind the victims' hands behind their back with a length of rope before he would proceed to kill them. He would typically inflict a multitude of knife wounds upon the victim; initially inflicting shallow knife wounds to the chest area before inflicting deeper stab and slash wounds—usually 30 to 50 in total—before proceeding to eviscerate the victim. He had, he stated, become adept at avoiding the spurts of blood from his victims' bodies as he inflicted the knife wounds and eviscerations upon them, and would regularly sit or squat beside his victims until their hearts had stopped beating, adding that the victims' "cries, the blood and the agony gave me relaxation and a certain pleasure." When questioned as to why most of his later victims' eyes had been stabbed and/or slashed, but not enucleated as his earlier victims had been, Chikatilo stated that he had initially believed in an old superstition that the image of a murderer is left imprinted upon the eyes of the victim. However, he stated, in "later years", he had become convinced this was simply an old wives' tale and he had ceased to gouge out the eyes of his victims.
Chikatilo also informed Kostoyev he had often tasted the blood of his victims, to which he stated he "felt chills" and "shook all over." He also confessed to tearing at victims' genitalia, lips, nipples and tongues with his teeth. In several instances, Chikatilo would cut or bite off the tongue of his victim as he performed his eviscerations, then—either at or shortly after the point of death—run around the body as he held the tongue aloft in one hand. Although he also admitted that he had chewed upon the excised uterus of his female victims and the testicles of his male victims, he stated he had later discarded these body parts. Nonetheless, Chikatilo did confess to having swallowed the nipples of some of his victims.
On 30 November, Chikatilo was formally charged with each of the 34 murders he had confessed to, all of which had been committed between June 1982 and November 1990.
Over the following days, Chikatilo confessed to a further 22 killings which had not been connected to the case, either because the murders had been committed outside the Rostov Oblast, because the bodies had not been found, or, in the case of Yelena Zakotnova, because an innocent man had been convicted and executed for the murder. (Aleksandr Kravchenko received a posthumous pardon for Yelena Zakotnova's murder.) As had been the case with the victims compiled upon the initial list of charges, Chikatilo was able to provide details of these additional killings only the perpetrator could have known: one of these additional victims, 14-year-old Lyubov Volobuyeva, had lived in south-western Siberia, and had been killed in a sorghum field near Krasnodar Airport on 25 July 1982. Chikatilo recalled that he had killed Volobuyeva in a millet field, and that he had approached the girl as she sat in the waiting rooms at Krasnodar Airport. Volobuyeva, Chikatilo stated, had informed him she lived in the Siberian city of Novokuznetsk, and was awaiting a connecting flight at the airport to visit relatives.
In December 1990, Chikatilo led police to the body of Aleksey Khobotov, a boy he had confessed to killing in August 1989 and whom he had buried in woodland near a Shakhty cemetery, proving unequivocally that he was the killer. He later led investigators to the bodies of two other victims he had confessed to killing. Three of the 56 victims Chikatilo confessed to killing could not be found or identified, but Chikatilo was charged with killing 53 women and children between 1978 and 1990. He was held in the same cell in Rostov-on-Don where he had been detained on 20 November, to await trial.
On 20 August 1991, after police had completed their interrogation, including re-enactments of all the murders at each crime scene, Chikatilo was transferred to the Serbsky Institute in Moscow to undergo a 60-day psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he was mentally competent to stand trial. Chikatilo was analysed by a senior psychiatrist, Dr. Andrei Tkachenko. Tkachenko did note Chikatilo suffered from various physiological problems which he attributed to prenatal brain damage, but concluded on 18 October that, although suffering from borderline personality disorder with sadistic features, he was fit to stand trial. In December 1991, details of Chikatilo's arrest and a brief summary of his crimes were released to the newly liberated Russian media by police.
Andrei Chikatilo was brought to trial in Rostov on 14 April 1992, charged with 53 counts of murder in addition to five charges of sexual assault against minors committed when he had been a teacher. He was tried in Courtroom Number 5 of the Rostov Provincial Court, before Judge Leonid Akubzhanov.
Chikatilo's trial was the first major media event of liberalized post-Soviet Russia. Shortly after his psychiatric evaluation at the Serbsky Institute, investigators had conducted a press conference in which a full list of Chikatilo's crimes was released to the press, alongside a 1984 identikit of the individual charged, but not the full name or a photograph of the accused. The media first saw Chikatilo on the first day of his trial, as he entered an iron cage specifically constructed in a corner of the courtroom to protect him from attack by the enraged and often hysterical relatives of his victims. In the opening weeks of Chikatilo's trial, the Russian press regularly published exaggerated and often sensationalistic headlines about the murders, referring to Chikatilo being a "cannibal" or a "maniac" and to his physically resembling a shaven-skulled demon. (As a standard prison procedure to prevent the spread of lice, Chikatilo's head had been shaved.)
The first two days of the trial were devoted to Judge Akubzhanov reading the long lists of indictments against Chikatilo. Each murder was discussed individually, and on several occasions, relatives present in the courtroom broke down in tears or fainted when details of their relatives' murder were revealed.
After reading the indictment, Judge Akubzhanov announced to the journalists present in the courtroom his intention to conduct an open trial, stating: "Let this trial at least teach us something, so that this will never happen anytime or anywhere again." Judge Akubzhanov then asked Chikatilo to stand, identify himself and provide his date and location of birth. Chikatilo complied, although this would prove to be one of the few civil exchanges between the judge and Chikatilo.
Chikatilo was initially questioned in detail about each charge upon the indictment. Responding to specific questions regarding the murders, Chikatilo often gave dismissive replies to questions, particularly when questioned as to the specific nature of the wounds he had inflicted upon his victims and the ruses he had used to entice his victims to the locations where he had killed them. He would become indignant only when accused of stealing personal possessions from the victims, or to his retaining organs excised from the victims missing from the crime scenes. On one occasion, when asked as to his seeming indifference as to the lifestyle and gender of those whom he had killed, Chikatilo replied: "I did not need to look for them. Every step I took, they were there."
In what became a regular (though not continuous) occurrence throughout the trial, Judge Akubzhanov berated Chikatilo as he questioned him in detail as to the charges; ordering him to "shut your mouth", before adding, "You're not crazy!" as Chikatilo's responses to questions deviated into his discussing issues such as the repression his family had endured throughout his childhood, and his claiming that the charges filed against him were false. These verbal exchanges between Chikatilo and the judge would occur whether Chikatilo was cooperative or uncooperative throughout proceedings, and the manner in which the judge questioned Chikatilo repeatedly led Chikatilo's defence lawyer, Marat Khabibulin, to protest against the accusatory nature of the court proceedings. In the instances in which Chikatilo was uncooperative throughout questioning, he would simply shout over the judge, denounce the court as a farce, and launch into rambling, disjointed speeches. On occasion, Chikatilo would also expose himself to the court, or sing socialist movement anthems throughout proceedings. These antics regularly resulted in his being returned to his cell as court proceedings continued in his absence.
On 21 April, Chikatilo's defence lawyer requested that Dr. Aleksandr Bukhanovsky be allowed to testify as to the contents of the 1985 psychological profile he had written, and his subsequent consultations with Chikatilo following his arrest, adding that Dr. Bukhanovsky could exert influence over Chikatilo and, by extension, might influence the court proceedings. This request was denied. The same day, Chikatilo began to refuse to answer any questions from the judge, the prosecutor or his own defence lawyer. Chikatilo refused to answer any questions for three consecutive days before stating his presumption of innocence had been irredeemably violated by the judge and that he intended to give no further testimony. The following day, proceedings were adjourned for two weeks.
Chikatilo withdrew his confessions to six of the killings for which he had been charged on 13 May, and also claimed he had killed four further victims who were not included upon the indictment. The same day, Chikatilo's defence lawyer again submitted a request that his client be subjected to a second psychiatric evaluation. This motion was dismissed by the judge as being groundless. In response, Khabibulin rose from his seat, condemning the composition of the court, and arguing that the judge was unfit to continue presiding over the case. Chikatilo himself repeated his earlier remarks as to the judge making numerous rash remarks prejudging his guilt. The prosecutor, Nikolai Gerasimenko, vocally supported the defence's claim, stating that the judge had indeed made too many such comments and had committed numerous procedural violations in his lecturing and insulting the defendant. Gerasimenko further contended that in his conducting an open trial, Chikatilo had already been effectively prejudged as being guilty by the press, before also requesting that the judge be replaced. (Judge Akubzhanov would later rule that the prosecutor be replaced instead, briefly conducting the trial in the absence of a prosecutor until a replacement prosecutor, Anatoly Zadorozhny, could be found.)
On 3 July, Bukhanovsky was permitted to testify as to his analysis of Chikatilo, although solely in the capacity as a witness. For three hours, Bukhanovsky testified as to his 1985 psychological profile of Chikatilo, and of the conversations he had held with Chikatilo following his arrest, which had culminated in Chikatilo's confession. Four psychiatric experts from the Serbsky Institute also testified as to the results of a behavioral analysis they had conducted on Chikatilo in May, following the initial adjournment of the trial. All testified as to his behaviour in the courtroom being strikingly at contrast to his behaviour in his cell, and that they considered his antics to be a calculated attempt to obtain acquittal on the grounds of insanity.
On 9 August, the defence delivered their closing arguments before the judge. Upon beginning his 90-minute closing argument, Marat Khabibulin first stated he had no confidence his voice would be heard above the "general outcry" to kill Chikatilo, before questioning the reliability of the forensic evidence presented at the trial, and describing areas of Chikatilo's confessions as being "baseless". Khabibulin also questioned the judge's objectivity, and again harked to the decision of the court not to allow the defence to present testimony from independent psychiatrists; emphasizing that the crimes could not have been committed by an individual of sane mind. Khabibulin then formally requested the judge find his client not guilty.
The following day, prosecutor Anatoly Zadorozhny delivered his closing argument before the judge. Harking towards the earlier testimony of psychiatrists at the trial, Zadorozhny argued that Chikatilo fully understood the criminality of his actions, was able to resist his homicidal impulses, and had made numerous conscious efforts to avoid detection. Moreover, Zadorozhny emphasized that in 19 of the charges, the material evidence of the crimes had been provided by Chikatilo himself. Zadorozhny then recited each of the charges before formally requesting the death penalty. (Chikatilo was not present in the courtroom throughout the prosecutor's closing argument, having again interrupted the proceedings.)
Following the conclusion of the prosecutor's closing argument, Judge Akubzhanov invited Chikatilo back into the courtroom, before formally asking him whether he would like to make a final statement on his own behalf. In response, Chikatilo simply sat mute. Judge Akubzhanov then announced an initial date of 15 September for himself and the two official jurors to review the evidence and pass final sentence upon Chikatilo. (This date was later postponed until 14 October.) As court announced recess, the brother of Lyudmila Alekseyeva, a 17-year-old girl killed by Chikatilo in August 1984, threw a heavy chunk of metal at Chikatilo, hitting him in the chest. When security tried to arrest the young man, other victims' relatives shielded him.
On 14 October, the court reconvened to hear formal sentencing (this sentencing would not finish until the following day). Judge Akubzhanov began sentencing by announcing Chikatilo guilty of 52 of the 53 murders for which he had been tried. He was sentenced to death for each offense. Chikatilo was also found guilty of five counts of sexual assault committed during the years he worked as a teacher in the 1970s. In reciting his findings, the judge read the list of murders again, before criticizing both the police and the prosecutor's department for various mistakes in the investigation which had allowed Chikatilo to remain free until 1990. Particular criticism was directed towards not local police, but the prosecutor's department—primarily procurator Issa Kostoyev—whom Judge Akubzhanov scathed as "negligent", and who had been dismissive of Chikatilo's inclusion upon a 1987 suspect list compiled by police. Akubzhanov also rejected the numerous claims Kostoyev had made to the media in the months prior to the trial that police had deliberately withheld documents pertaining to Chikatilo from the prosecutor's department as being provably baseless, adding that proof existed he had been in possession of all internal bulletins.
On 15 October, Judge Akubzhanov formally sentenced Chikatilo to death plus 86 years for the 52 murders and five counts of sexual assault for which he had been found guilty. Chikatilo kicked his bench across his cage when he heard the verdict, and began shouting abuse. However, when given an opportunity to make a speech in response to the verdict, he again remained silent. Upon passing final sentence, Judge Leonid Akubzhanov made the following speech:
Chikatilo was taken from the courtroom to his cell at Novocherkassk prison to await execution. He lodged an appeal against his conviction with the Russian Supreme Court, but this appeal was rejected in the summer of 1993.
Following the rejection of his appeal to the Russian Supreme Court, Chikatilo filed a final appeal for clemency with President Boris Yeltsin. This final appeal was rejected on 4 January 1994.
On 14 February 1994 Chikatilo was taken from his death row cell to a soundproofed room in Novocherkassk prison and executed with a single gunshot behind the right ear.
Judge Leonid Akhobzyanov cleared Chikatilo of the murder of 15-year-old Laura Sarkisyan at his trial due to insufficient evidence. Sarkisyan, a runaway from Armenia, was last seen by her family on 18 June. In his confessions to police, Chikatilo had stated he had killed an Armenian girl in the early summer of 1983 and that she had been killed in a stretch of woodland located near Kirpichnaya station. Although Chikatilo had been unable to identify Sarkisyan's picture when presented to him, the timing of Sarkisyan's disappearance and Chikatilo's physical description both of the victim, her clothing, and where he had killed her did match scattered, partial skeletal remains and personal effects which, although determined as being those of a female in her early- to mid-teens, could not be precisely identified.
Although he had at one stage denied having committed six of the murders for which he had been brought to trial, Chikatilo never specifically disputed Sarkisyan as being a victim of his.Chikatilo confessed to three additional murders which police were unable to verify. According to Chikatilo, these three murders were committed in and around the city of Shakhty between 1980 and 1982. Despite his confessions, police were unable to either match his descriptions of these victims to any missing persons reports, or locate any human remains, despite thoroughly searching the locations where Chikatilo stated he had committed these murders. Therefore, he was never charged with these three further killings he claimed to have committed.
Chikatilo is the prime suspect in the murder of 18-year-old Irina Pogoryelova, a court secretary from Bataysk who had disappeared on 11 August 1986 and whose body was found buried in the grounds of a collective farm on 18 August. Pogoryelova's body bore precisely the same mutilations found upon victims Chikatilo killed both before and after 1986. In his initial confession, Chikatilo had denied he had killed Pogoryelova, yet later insisted at his trial he had indeed killed her.
At his trial, Chikatilo claimed he had committed four further murders in addition to the 53 for which he was brought to trial. Presumably, three of these victims were the three he had initially confessed to having committed in 1990 and which the police were unable to either locate or match to any missing persons records, the fourth individual he specifically named as Irina Pogoryelova. If his claims of having killed four additional victims are true, the total number of victims Chikatilo claimed is 57.
The film Citizen X (1995) is directly based upon the murders committed by Andrei Chikatilo. Inspired by Robert Cullen's non-fiction book The Killer Department, Citizen X largely portrays the investigation of the "Rostov Ripper" murders through the experiences of Detective Viktor Burakov, in his efforts to ensnare the killer. This film casts Stephen Rea as Viktor Burakov, Jeffrey DeMunn as Andrei Chikatilo, Donald Sutherland as Colonel Mikhail Fetisov, and Max von Sydow as Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky.
The film Evilenko (2004) is loosely based upon the murders committed by Andrei Chikatilo. This film cast Malcolm McDowell as Andrei Evilenko and Marton Csokas as Inspector Lesev.
The film Child 44 (2015) is based upon the fiction novel Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, which was itself inspired by the Andrei Chikatilo case. The film was released in April 2015, and stars Tom Hardy as Leo Demidov, Joel Kinnaman as Vasili Nikitin, Noomi Rapace as Raisa Demidova, and Gary Oldman as General Timur Nesterov.
Four non-fiction books have been written about the case of Andrei Chikatilo:Conradi, Peter (1992). The Red Ripper: Inside the Mind of Russia's Most Brutal Serial Killer. True Crime. ISBN 0-86369-618-X.
Cullen, Robert (1993). The Killer Department: Detective Viktor Burakov's Eight-Year Hunt for the Most Savage Serial Killer of Our Times. Orion Media. ISBN 1-85797-210-4.
Krivich, Mikhail & Olgin, Olgert (1993). Comrade Chikatilo: The Psychopathology of Russia's Notorious Serial Killer. Barricade Books. ISBN 0-942-63790-9. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
Lourie, Richard (1993). Hunting The Devil: The Pursuit, Capture and Confession of the Most Savage Serial Killer in History. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-586-21846-7.
The fictional novel Child 44, written by Tom Rob Smith and released in 2008, was directly inspired by the case of Andrei Chikatilo. The events within the novel are set several decades earlier, during the Stalin era of the Soviet Union and immediately thereafter.
Criminal Russia: The Trail of Satan (1997). A documentary focusing on the case of Andrei Chikatilo that was broadcast on the Russian TV channel NTV.
Inside Story: The Russian Cracker (1999). A BBC documentary focusing upon the disproportionate number of serial killers in Rostov-on-Don in the years leading to and immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the efforts of Dr. Aleksandr Bukhanovsky to treat offenders. The case of Andrei Chikatilo is one of several included within this documentary.
The Butcher of Rostov (2004). A 45-minute The Biography Channel documentary focusing upon the murders committed by Andrei Chikatilo. Viktor Burakov is among those interviewed for this documentary.