Anatoly Onoprienko

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Banned
Anatoly Onoprienko




A.K.A.: "The Beast of Ukraine" - "Terminator"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Robberies
Number of victims: 52
Date of murders: 1989 - 1996
Date of arrest: April 16, 1996
Date of birth: July 25, 1959
Victims profile: Men, women and children
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Ukraine
Status: Sentenced to death April 1999. Commutted to life in prison August 1999





Anatoly Yuriyovych Onoprienko (born Ukrainian: Анатолій Юрійович Онопрієнко on July 25, 1959) is a Soviet serial killer. He is also known by the nicknames "The Beast of Ukraine", "The Terminator" and "Citizen O". After police arrested the 37-year-old former forestry student on April 16, 1996, Onoprienko confessed to killing 52 people.

Birth and childhood

Anatoly Onoprienko was the youngest of two sons; his brother, Valentine, was 13 years his senior. His father, Yuri Onoprienko, was decorated for bravery during the Second World War. When Anatoly was 4 years old, his mother died. He was cared for by his grandparents and aunt for a time before being handed over to an orphanage in the village of Privitnoe. In one interview, Onoprienko later said that this predetermined his destiny - and remarked that 70% of those who are brought up in orphanages end up going to prison in later life.

Crimes

When finally arrested by police, Onoprienko was found to be in possession of a hunting rifle and a number of other weapons, which matched the murder weapons used in several of the killings, together with a number of items which had been removed from murder victims. While in custody he eventually confessed to eight killings between 1989 to 1995. At first, he denied other charges, but ultimately confessed to the killing of 52 innocent victims over a six-year period. While in custody, he claimed that he killed in response to commands he was given by inner voices.

Methods

The killings followed a set pattern. He chose an isolated house, gained the attention of the occupants by creating a commotion. He would then kill all occupants starting with the adult male, before going to find and kill the spouse and finally the children. He would then usually set the buildings alight in an attempt to cover his tracks. He would also kill any witness unlucky enough to cross his path during his murderous rampages. The first to die were a family of four in Bratkovychi. Another family of five and two witnesses were killed not long after in the same village. When police imposed a security cordon around Bratkovychi, he then moved to other villages to continue killing.

Capture and conviction

In March 1996, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and Public Prosecutor's Office specialists detained 26-year-old Yury Mozola as a suspect of several brutal murders. Over the course of three days, six SBU members and one representative of Public Prosecutor's Office tortured (burning, electric shocking and beating) the arrested citizen. Mozola refused to confess to the crimes and died during the torture. Seven responsible for the death were sentenced to prison terms.

Seventeen days later, the real murderer, Anatoly Onoprienko, was found after a massive manhunt, seven years after his first murder. This happened after he moved in with one of his relatives and his stash of weapons was discovered. Anatoly was quickly booted out of the house. Days later, from the information received, Anatoly was captured.

Onopriyenko murdered 43 victims in 6 months.

Wikipedia.org

Anatoly Onoprienko

Anatoly Onoprienko was born on in 1959, in the city of Laski, Ukraine, he was thrown in an orphanage at the age of one after his mother died, even though his father was around, taking care of Anatoly's older brother. This would prove to be a catalyst in Onoprienko's future crimes, as families were now a target of his hatred and fury. He grew to hate and despise the family unit that was denied him in his childhood.

In 1989, after years of mental problems and menial jobs, Onoprienko killed his first victim at the age of 30, old by serial killer standards. However, over the next five years this guy made up for lost time, killing 11 others individually, and virtually unnoticed by the local authorities.

On 16 April, 1996, 37-year-old Anatoly Onoprienki was arrested at his girlfriend’s house in Zhitomir, Western Ukraine. His arrest ended “The Terminator’s” reign of terror in which he is reported to have murdered over 40 people. It ended a manhunt involving 2, 000 police and more than 3,000 troops eventually leading to Onoprienko's arrest following an anonymous tip-off.

Investigators fear the tally of victims may go even higher than 52 as a gap in murders seemed too long. Onoprienki was found with a 12-gauge shotgun that could be linked to bullets found at one of the murder scenes. Also he was in possession of jewellery and electrical equipment belonging to several of his victims. Onoprienko’s girlfriend was wearing an engagement ring that he had stolen by cutting off one of his victim’s fingers.

Onoprienki had worked as sailor and had studied forestry at university before his arrest. He was known to authorities and was on an outpaitent program of a local psychiatric hospital department. When Onoprienki was arrested he quickly confessed to eight of the killings spanning the years 1989 to 1995, yet denied all of the other murders police linked to him.

In total police believe Onoprienko may have killed up to 52 people equalling the tally of fellow countryman Andrei Chikatilo.

Onoprienki began his murderous campaign in 1989, where he and accomplice Serhiy Rogozin robbed and killed nine people. He later claimed that he had been hearing voices since the age of seven when his brother had sent him to an orphanage after his mother had died.

Onoprienko's first human victims were a couple, standing by their Lada car on a motorway: "I just shot them. It's not that it gave me pleasure, but I felt this urge. From then on, it was almost like some game from outer space." He said he had derived no pleasure from the act of killing. "Corpses are ugly," he said with distaste. "They stink and send out bad vibes. Once I killed five people and then sat in the car with their bodies for two hours not knowing what to do with them. The smell was unbearable."

Onoprienki then continued his rampage alone in late 1995 where in the next six months he would murder 43 people.

In March 1996, police began to panic as the number of bodies rose and soon a manhunt was launched across western Ukraine after eight families were brutally murdered in their homes. Many of Onoprienko’s victims lived in remote villages in the Lvov region near the border of Poland.

On one occasion he confronted a young girl who was huddled on her bed, praying. She had seen him kill both her parents. "Seconds before I smashed her head, I ordered her to show me where they kept their money," he said. "She looked at me with an angry, defiant stare and said, 'No, I won't.' That strength was incredible. But I felt nothing."

He blew the doors off homes on the edges of villages, gunning down adults and battering children with metal objects. He stole money, jewellery, stereo equipment and other items before burning down the houses.

Onoprienko’s blood lust climaxed with a three-month massacre in early 1996 where he began the systematic slaughter of families in the Ukrainian villages of Bratkovichi and Busk.

Army and special forces where mobilised in the areas to try and assist those still living in the region a well as trying to catch the man dubbed “The Terminator”.

Police used a tactic of blockading the area trying to capture the killer, however Onoprienki easily slipped through the police trap and moved to nearby villages to continue his killing spree. The murderer had a pattern and signature to his method. He would pounce on secluded houses on the fringes of villages.

Before dawn Onoprienki would sneak into the house and round up the entire family before shooting them all dead with a 112-gauge shotgun at point-blank range. The house would then be set alight before “The Terminator” fled the scene.

The killer would also murder anyone who crossed his path during his rampage. Onoprienki showed no remorse, as he wiped out entire families in cold blood, battering children and raping a woman after shooting her in the face.

At his trial in November 1998, Onoprienki stated he felt like a robot driven for years by a dark force, and argued he should not be tried until authorities determine the source of this force. Hundreds of spectators watched the trial unfold and bayed for the killer’s blood. He had devastated many villages throughout the Ukraine and the towns’ people wanted their own revenge.

At his trial Onoprienki was silent. The court asked him if he would like to make a statement to which he replied with a shrug of his shoulders, and a quiet spoken "No, nothing." Informed of his legal right to object to the court's proceedings, he growled "This is your law, I consider myself a hostage."

Asked to state his nationality, he said: "None." When Judge Dmitry Lipsky said this was impossible, Onoprienko rolled his eyes and replied: "Well, according to law enforcement officers, I'm Ukrainian."

Onoprienko's co-defendant Sergei Rogozin, accused of helping in the first nine murders, did speak and proclaimed his innocence. Onoprienki had his lawyers attempt to use the insanity defence, rambling inanely during police interviews about conspiracies against him by the CIA and Interpol, unknown powers and future revelations.

However psychiatrists ruled him fit to stand trial. "I perceive it all as a kind of experiment," Onoprienki said of the conspiracies against him. "There can be no answer in this experiment to what you're trying to learn."

Onoprienki was found guilty and sentenced to death but he will not be executed because Ukraine has pledged as a member of the Council of Europe to suspend capital punishment and eventually ban it.

After his trial Onoprienki said: "I have never regretted anything and I don't regret anything now." Still complaining of the conspiracies of higher powers and powers on earth out to murder humanity.

Claiming to have special hypnotic powers and saying he had information "nobody, not even the president" had access to, he said he had received "permission" to kill from another world, but did not explain those reasons which drove him to destroy his victims. "I love all people and I loved those I killed. I looked those children I murdered in the eyes and knew that it had to be done," he said. "For you it's 52 murders, but for me that's the norm."

He said he would have been prepared to kill his own son. Though Onoprienko has remained completely silent during court hearings, when it comes to the media he’s naturally verbose.

The daily newspaper “Fakty” published an long interview with Onoprienki from his jail cell in Zhytomyr where he was quoted saying "Naturally, I would prefer the death penalty. I have absolutely no interest in relations with people. I have betrayed them."

The misunderstood killer added that he was shaken by people's indifference to his crimes. As he slaughtered his victims in one village, “People screamed so loudly that they could be heard in neighbouring villages. But nobody came to help them. Everybody went into hiding, like mice."

During an interview with a London Times reporter Onoprienki reminisced about the murders he had committed. "The first time I killed, I shot down a deer in the woods," he said, in a flat monotone, as if reading from his curriculum vitae. "I was in my early twenties and I recall feeling very upset when I saw it dead. I couldn't explain why I had done it, and I felt sorry for it. I never had that feeling again." "To me killing people is like ripping up a duvet… Men, women, old people, children, they are all the same. I have never felt sorry for those I killed. No love, no hatred, just blind indifference. I don't see them as individuals, but just as masses."

Onoprienko's crimes have caused such revulsion in Ukraine, however, that the Ukrainian president is considering temporarily lifting a moratorium on capital punishment that was imposed on March 1997, in accordance with the rules of the Council of Europe, to execute him.

The alternative, to commute the serial killer's sentence to 20 years in jail, would outrage most Ukrainians. Telling a reporter after his sentence: "To me it was like hunting. Hunting people down," "I would be sitting, bored, with nothing to do. And then suddenly this idea would get into my head. I would do everything to get it out of my mind, but I couldn't. It was stronger than me. So I would get in the car or catch a train and go out to kill."

Some experts view the fact that he grew up without parents and was given up to an orphanage by his elder brother as a clue to his destruction of entire families. Strangely, his most vicious spree coincided with the time when he moved in with the woman he intended to marry and with her children - towards whom, she claimed, he was always very loving.

Onoprienko, however, claimed he was possessed. "I'm not a maniac," he said, without a hint of self-doubt. "If I were, I would have thrown myself onto you and killed you right here. No, it's not that simple. I have been taken over by a higher force, something telepathic or cosmic, which drove me. For instance, I wanted to kill my brother's first wife, because I hated her. I really wanted to kill her, but I couldn't because I had not received the order. I waited for it all the time, but it did not come. I am like a rabbit in a laboratory. A part of an experiment to prove that man is capable of murdering and learning to live with his crimes. To show that I can cope, that I can stand anything, forget everything."

Onoprienki insists he should be executed claiming; "If I am ever let out, I will start killing again," he said. "But this time it will be worse, 10 times worse. The urge is there. Seize this chance because I am being groomed to serve Satan. After what I have learnt out there, I have no competitors in my field. And if I am not killed I will escape from this jail and the first thing I'll do is find Kuchma (the Ukrainian president) and hang him from a tree by his testicles."


Anatoly Onoprienko

Onoprienko mother died when he was one or four and his father and brother gave him to an orphanage when he was seven. He was a native of Zhitomir, Ukrainan, and was a former forestry student, sailor and mental hospital patient.

Onoprienko, is been sentenced to death in Ukraine after being convicted of murdering 52 people from 1989 to 1996.

Disturbing, however, is the five-year gap in Onoprienko's personal history between 1989 and 1995, when he left Ukraine and traveled to Europe. Little is known about his activities during that period. According to the Austrian and German embassies, Onoprienko was deported from both countries, although they declined to give dates.

Onoprienko has said he worked as a manual laborer during that time, but that his primary source of income was crime - burglaries and muggings. He hasn't confessed to any European murders.

The 52 killings followed a set pattern. Onoprienko always chose isolated houses. He would enter the houses before dawn, round up the family and shoot all of them (including children), at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun. Somtimes he used an axe or a hamer. Afterwards, he would set the home on fire and kill whoever crossed his path during his murderous outbursts. He often stole valuables from his victims and sometimes scattered family photographs about the floor.

Onoprienko, was arrested on April 16, 1996, at his girlfriend's apartment, a Yavoriv hairdresser whom police have identified as "Anna Kazak", in a village near the Polish border after Ukraine's biggest ever manhunt. The Ukrainian government dispatched a National Guard division, complete with armored personnel carriers and bazookas. As if the deployment of an entire military division to combat a lone sadistic killer wasn't enough, more than 2,000 police investigators, both federal and local, were assigned to the case.

Since then, Onoprienko has been sitting in his prison cell taking advantage of a macabre quirk of Ukrainian law.

Incredibly, trials cannot begin until the defendant has read all the evidence against him, at his leisure, and in this case there is plenty to get through; 99 volumes of gruesome photos, showing dismembered bodies, burnt cars and houses and random objects such as shoes and radios which Onoprienko stole from his victims.

There has been another reason for the delay; money. Under that same legal code, the court has to pay the travel and hotel bills of the four hundred witnesses it wants to call. In cash strapped Ukraine, it seems, justice is not a high priority.

It was not until the head judge in the trial made a televised appeal that the Ukrainian government agreed to allocate the necessary funds.

The trial started on November 24, 1998.

On February 12, 1999, a Ukrainian court ruled that Anatoly Onoprienko was mentally competent and could be held responsible for his crimes even though he claims he has heard voices telling him to kill.

The regional court in Zhytomyr said that Onoprienko: "Does not suffer any psychiatric diseases, is conscious of and is in control of the actions he commits, and does not require any extra psychiatric examination.”

As you watch Onoprienko on the TV-screen in his faded denim jacket, it is hard to believe this is a man nicknamed "The Terminator," a title he earned because of the brutality of his killings.

He shot whole families at point blank range, sparing no-one, not even sleeping babies. Villages were terrorised with the desperate authorities at one stage sending in troops to protect them.

As for his motive, there has been speculation that his early years spent in an orphanage instilled a hatred of families. However, his interrogation sheds little light on the workings of his mind.

He speaks slowly and calmly about dark forces standing behind him, urging him to kill.

Onoprienko surprised the courtroom by demanding to replace his state-appointed attorney, Ruslan Mashkovsky, with another lawyer who is "at least 50 years old, Jewish or half- Jewish, economically independent and has international experience."

When the court refused his request, Onoprienko, who had been cooperative in the past, refused to testify further. He was confined to a metal cage throughout the proceedings.

Anatoly Onoprienko, said he had nothing to say about his alleged seven-years of killing that left at least 52 people dead. The accused murderer exuded arrogance and boredom throughout the hearing. Asked if he would like to make a statement at the start of the trial, Onoprienko shrugged his shoulders, slowly sauntered to the microphone and said: ``No, nothing.''

Informed of his legal right to object to the court's proceedings, he growled: ``This is your law, I consider myself a hostage.''

Asked to state his nationality, he said: ``None.'' When Judge Dmitry Lipsky said this was impossible, Onoprienko rolled his eyes and replied: ``Well, according to law enforcement officers, I'm Ukrainian.''

Onoprienko's attitude angered the hundreds huddled in the unheated courtroom. Some had travelled hundreds of kilometres for the hearing.

Judge Dmytro Lipsky had to call the court to order on several occasions as people shouted abuse at Onoprienko. Outside, about 50 more people pushed and shoved in an unruly queue, demanding to be allowed into the courtroom so they could get a closer look at the man called the ``Terminator''.

Afraid that the crowd might take the law into their own hands, police searched bags and made everyone pass through an airport-style metal detector.

``Let's tear him apart,'' shouted a pensioner at the back of the court just before the hearing started. ``He does not deserve to be shot. He needs to die a slow and agonising death.'' Others muttered agreement, saying the ``beast should be tortured''.

``They should cut him in shreds and then rub salt in his wounds,'' said Zinaida Muller, 64, who travelled 240kilometres to attend the trial. ``I can't believe they're wasting money on him.''

All of the witnesses summoned to speak failed to appear at the trial, which began by looking into the murder of the first two victims, a husband and wife shot dead in June 1989. The judge read a telegram saying family circumstances had prevented relatives of the couple from attending.

Prosecutor Yuri Ignatenko said the mass no-show will not hurt his case.

"This case is built around specialist evidence. There really weren't any eyewitnesses," Ignatenko said. "They probably just don't want to see (Onoprienko), and then again, it has been such a long time since it happened."

Codefendant Serhiy Rogozin, a former Afghan war veteran who is accused of helping Onoprienko carry out nine murders, described Onoprienko as a "kind, intelligent man."

"He wasn't greedy. He seemed good-natured. I cannot say anything bad about him," Rogozin said. Rogozin claims he had nothing to do with the killings.

Public pressure is high for Onoprienko to be sentenced to death. Ukraine imposed a moratorium on capital punishment last year, a requirement for it to join the Council of Europe, a leading human rights organization.

But President Leonid Kuchma said he was willing to appeal to the Council to grant Ukraine an exception and allow Onoprienko's execution.

On March 3, 1999, after more than 400 witnesses and 100 volumes of gruesome evidence, Anatoly Onoprienko, dubbed: ‘Ukraine's worst Serial Killer’ was sentenced to death. Judge Dmytro Lypsky told the court: "In line with Ukraine’s criminal code ... Onoprienko is sentenced to the death penalty by shooting". Onoprienko, stood with his head bent, staring at the floor of the locked metal cage, as the sentence was announced.

Onoprienko's accomplice in the first nine murders, Serhiy Rogozin was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Onoprienko has expressed no remorse. He issued a press release from his prison cell saying he had wanted to hold the world record for killing.

"If I am ever let out, I will start killing again," he said. "But this time it will be worse, 10 times worse. The urge is there.

"Seize this chance because I am being groomed to serve Satan. After what I have learnt out there, I have no competitors in my field. And if I am not killed I will escape from this jail and the first thing I'll do is find Kuchma (the Ukrainian president) and hang him from a tree by his testicles."


Anatoly Onoprienko

On April 16, 1996, 37-year-old Anatoly Onoprienki was arrested at his girlfriend’s house in Zhitomir, Western Ukraine. His arrest ended “The Terminator’s” reign of terror in which he is reported to have murdered over 40 people. It ended a manhunt involving 2, 000 police and more than 3,000 troops eventually leading to Onoprienko's arrest following an anonymous tip-off. Investigators fear the tally of victims may go even higher than 52 as a gap in murders seemed too long.

Onoprienki was found with a 12-gauge shotgun that could be linked to bullets found at one of the murder scenes. Also he was in possession of jewellery and electrical equipment belonging to several of his victims. Onoprienko’s girlfriend was wearing an engagement ring that he had stolen by cutting off one of his victim’s fingers.

Anatoly Onoprienki had worked as sailor and had studied forestry at university before his arrest. He was known to authorities and was on an outpaitent program of a local psychiatric hospital department.

When Onoprienki was arrested he quickly confessed to eight of the killings spanning the years 1989 to 1995, yet denied all of the other murders police linked to him. In total police believe Onoprienko may have killed up to 52 people equalling the tally of fellow countryman Andrei Chikatilo.

Onoprienki began his murderous campaign in 1989, where he and accomplice Serhiy Rogozin robbed and killed nine people. He later claimed that he had been hearing voices since the age of seven when his brother had sent him to an orphanage after his mother had died.

Onoprienko's first human victims were a couple, standing by their Lada car on a motorway: "I just shot them. It's not that it gave me pleasure, but I felt this urge. From then on, it was almost like some game from outer space."

He said he had derived no pleasure from the act of killing. "Corpses are ugly," he said with distaste. "They stink and send out bad vibes. Once I killed five people and then sat in the car with their bodies for two hours not knowing what to do with them. The smell was unbearable."

Onoprienki then continued his rampage alone in late 1995 where in the next six months he would murder 43 people. In March 1996, police began to panic as the number of bodies rose and soon a manhunt was launched across western Ukraine after eight families were brutally murdered in their homes. Many of Onoprienko’s victims lived in remote villages in the Lvov region near the border of Poland.

On one occasion he confronted a young girl who was huddled on her bed, praying. She had seen him kill both her parents.

"Seconds before I smashed her head, I ordered her to show me where they kept their money," he said.

"She looked at me with an angry, defiant stare and said, 'No, I won't.' That strength was incredible. But I felt nothing."

He blew the doors off homes on the edges of villages, gunning down adults and battering children with metal objects. He stole money, jewellery, stereo equipment and other items before burning down the houses.

Onoprienko’s blood lust climaxed with a three-month massacre in early 1996 where he began the systematic slaughter of families in the Ukrainian villages of Bratkovichi and Busk. Army and special forces where mobilised in the areas to try and assist those still living in the region a well as trying to catch the man dubbed “The Terminator”.

Police used a tactic of blockading the area trying to capture the killer, however Onoprienki easily slipped through the police trap and moved to nearby villages to continue his killing spree.

The murderer had a pattern and signature to his method. He would pounce on secluded houses on the fringes of villages. Before dawn Onoprienki would sneak into the house and round up the entire family before shooting them all dead with a 112-gauge shotgun at point-blank range. The house would then be set alight before “The Terminator” fled the scene. The killer would also murder anyone who crossed his path during his rampage. Onoprienki showed no remorse, as he wiped out entire families in cold blood, battering children and raping a woman after shooting her in the face.

At his trial in November 1998, Onoprienki stated he felt like a robot driven for years by a dark force, and argued he should not be tried until authorities determine the source of this force.

Hundreds of spectators watched the trial unfold and bayed for the killer’s blood. He had devastated many villages throughout the Ukraine and the towns’ people wanted their own revenge.

"Let us tear him apart," shouted a pensioner at the back of the court just before the hearing started, her voice trembling with emotion.

"He does not deserve to be shot. He needs to die a slow and agonizing death."

At his trial Onoprienki was silent. The court asked him if he would like to make a statement to which he replied with a shrug of his shoulders, and a quiet spoken

"No, nothing."

Informed of his legal right to object to the court's proceedings, he growled

"This is your law, I consider myself a hostage."

Asked to state his nationality, he said:

"None."

When Judge Dmitry Lipsky said this was impossible, Onoprienko rolled his eyes and replied:

"Well, according to law enforcement officers, I'm Ukrainian."

Onoprienko's co-defendant Sergei Rogozin, accused of helping in the first nine murders, did speak and proclaimed his innocence.

Onoprienki had his lawyers attempt to use the insanity defence, rambling inanely during police interviews about conspiracies against him by the CIA and Interpol, unknown powers and future revelations. However psychiatrists ruled him fit to stand trial.

"I perceive it all as a kind of experiment," Onoprienki said of the conspiracies against him. "There can be no answer in this experiment to what you're trying to learn."

Onoprienki was found guilty and sentenced to death but he will not be executed because Ukraine has pledged as a member of the Council of Europe to suspend capital punishment and eventually ban it.

After his trial Onoprienki said:

"I have never regretted anything and I don't regret anything now."

Still complaining of the conspiracies of higher powers and powers on earth out to murder humanity. Claiming to have special hypnotic powers and saying he had information "nobody, not even the president" had access to, he said he had received "permission" to kill from another world, but did not explain those reasons which drove him to destroy his victims.

"I love all people and I loved those I killed. I looked those children I murdered in the eyes and knew that it had to be done," he said. "For you it's 52 murders, but for me that's the norm."

He said he would have been prepared to kill his own son.

Though Onoprienko has remained completely silent during court hearings, when it comes to the media he’s naturally verbose. The daily newspaper “Fakty” published an long interview with Onoprienki from his jail cell in Zhytomyr where he was quoted saying

"Naturally, I would prefer the death penalty. I have absolutely no interest in relations with people. I have betrayed them."

The misunderstood killer added that he was shaken by people's indifference to his crimes. As he slaughtered his victims in one village, “people screamed so loudly that they could be heard in neighbouring villages. But nobody came to help them. Everybody went into hiding, like mice."

During an interview with a London Times reporter Onoprienki reminisced about the murders he had committed. "The first time I killed, I shot down a deer in the woods," he said, in a flat monotone, as if reading from his curriculum vitae.

"I was in my early twenties and I recall feeling very upset when I saw it dead. I couldn't explain why I had done it, and I felt sorry for it. I never had that feeling again."

"To me killing people is like ripping up a duvet… Men, women, old people, children, they are all the same. I have never felt sorry for those I killed. No love, no hatred, just blind indifference. I don't see them as individuals, but just as masses."

Onoprienko's crimes have caused such revulsion in Ukraine, however, that the Ukrainian president is considering temporarily lifting a moratorium on capital punishment that was imposed on March 1997, in accordance with the rules of the Council of Europe, to execute him. The alternative, to commute the serial killer's sentence to 20 years in jail, would outrage most Ukrainians.

Telling a reporter after his sentence:

"To me it was like hunting. Hunting people down,"

"I would be sitting, bored, with nothing to do. And then suddenly this idea would get into my head. I would do everything to get it out of my mind, but I couldn't. It was stronger than me. So I would get in the car or catch a train and go out to kill."

Some experts view the fact that he grew up without parents and was given up to an orphanage by his elder brother as a clue to his destruction of entire families. Strangely, his most vicious spree coincided with the time when he moved in with the woman he intended to marry and with her children - towards whom, she claimed, he was always very loving.

Onoprienko, however, claimed he was possessed. "I'm not a maniac," he said, without a hint of self-doubt. "If I were, I would have thrown myself onto you and killed you right here. No, it's not that simple. I have been taken over by a higher force, something telepathic or cosmic, which drove me.

"For instance, I wanted to kill my brother's first wife, because I hated her. I really wanted to kill her, but I couldn't because I had not received the order. I waited for it all the time, but it did not come.

"I am like a rabbit in a laboratory. A part of an experiment to prove that man is capable of murdering and learning to live with his crimes. To show that I can cope, that I can stand anything, forget everything."

Onoprienki insists he should be executed claiming

"If I am ever let out, I will start killing again," he said. "But this time it will be worse, 10 times worse. The urge is there.

"Seize this chance because I am being groomed to serve Satan. After what I have learnt out there, I have no competitors in my field. And if I am not killed I will escape from this jail and the first thing I'll do is find Kuchma (the Ukrainian president) and hang him from a tree by his testicles."

Onoprienko, Anatoly

A native of Laski in the Zhitomirskaya Oblast district of the Ukraine, born in 1959, Anatoly Onoprienko was placed in an orphanage at the age of one year, following his mother's death. An older brother was kept at home with their father, and the fact of his abandonment apparently fueled a pathological hatred of families, erupting into a seven-year killing spree that would snuff out 52 lives.

A forestry student and sometime mental patient, Onoprienko got off to a slow start as a serial killer, claiming his first victim at age 30 in 1989. Eleven more would follow by 1995, but he had yet to hit his stride with a series of ultraviolent home invasions that would lead Ukrainian newspapers to dub him the Terminator.

Prior to December 1995, his murders had gone virtually unnoticed, except by overworked police detectives and surviving loved ones of the victims, but Onoprienko was preparing to change his MODUS OPERANDI, venting his rage at whole families instead of solitary targets. The massacres followed a pattern, Onoprienko invading isolated houses in the predawn hours, herding family members together and blasting them with a 12gauge shotgun before looting and burning their homes. Frequently, police found family photos scattered at the crime scenes, torn and tossed about in the slayers fury.

The first wholesale slaughter occurred on December 12, 1995, in Gamarnya, Zhitomirskaya Oblast, where a forestry teacher named Zaichenko, his wife, and two infant sons were killed in their home. Nine days later, four members of the Kryuchkov famiiy were killed at Bratkovichi, their home set afire. A passerby named Malinsky was also shot dead on the street outside when he glimpsed the flecing gunman.

On January 5, two businessmen named Odintsov and Dolinin were shot while sitting in their stalled car outside Energodar, Zaporozhskaya Oblast, and before the night was out, two more victims were killed at nearby VasilyevkaDnelprorudny, including a pedestrian named Garmasha and a policeman named Pybalko. The following day, three more men were shot and killed in a car parked on the Berdyansk-Dnieprovskaya highway.

The Terminator returned to Bratkovichi on january 17, butchering five members of the Pilat family and torching their home. Two apparent witnesses to the crime were also shot dead as the killer escaped.

In Fastova, Kievskaya Oblast, four more victims were blasted on january 30, including a 28-year-old nurse, her two sons, and a male visitor. The Dubchak family was next, annihilated at home in Olevsk, Zhitomirskaya Oblast, on February 19. (The father and son were shot in that attack; the mother and daughter were beaten to death with a hammer.)

Eight days later, in Malina, Lvivskaya Oblast, four members of the Bodnarchuk famlly were slain, the adults shot, their children hacked to death with an ax; within an hour, a male neighbor was also shot and mutilated in his home. Back in the Bratkovichi neighborhood on March 22, the Terminator shot and burned to death four members of the Novosad family.

Bratkovichi residents had seen enough. With the largest manhunt in Ukrainian history already under way, they demanded and received "an extreme response." A National Guard unit, complete with rocket launchers and armored vehicles, was sent to protect the village, while some 2,000 officers scoured the western Ukraine in search of their nameless, faceless quarry.

In the end, ¡t was apparently a family quarrel that brought the reign of terror to a close. Anatoly Onoprienko was staying with a cousin's family when one of his hosts found weapons hidden in his room and a quarrel erupted, ending with Anatoly's ejection from the house. Before he left, the stalker vowed that his cousin's family would be "punished on Easter," a threat that was relayed to local authorities. On Easter Sunday, April 16, police traced Onoprienko to a glrlfriend's home where he was arrested following a brief scuffle. A search of the premises revealed a tape deck stolen from the Novosad family, a pistol taken from a murder scene in Odessa, and a second firearm linked to severas of the family massacres.

In custody, Onoprienko demanded to speak with "a general," and once the officer of proper rank arrived, he swiftly confessed a total of 52 murders, thus tying the official Russian record held by ANDREI CHIKATILO. The murders were compelled by "inner voices" emanating "from above," he claimed, though Anatoly wasn't sure if his orders carne from God or aliens in outer space. Either way, the killer said, he was imbued with "strong hypnotic powers" and telepathic control over animals. The best thing, Anatoly said, would be for scientists to study him as "a phenomenon of nature."

Onoprienko was convicted on all counts and sentenced to death on April 1, 1999. There are still significant gaps in the time line of his movements between 1989 and 1995, although ¡t is confirmed that Anatoly was expelled from both Austria and Germany during that period. Investigators are exploring possible links between their prisoner and other unsolved homicidas in the Ukraine and elsewhere.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans

Anatoly Onoprienko

On April 1st 1999, a Ukrainian court of law convicted one of the most brutal serial killers in history for the murder of 52 people. Anatoli Onoprienko, 39, confessed the murders, but never showed any remorse: "I know it's cruel, but I'm a robot that's driven to kill. I don't feel a thing'. He was nicknamed 'The Terminator'.

Onoprienko killed most of his victims during the three months before he got arrested in April 1996. He traveled the country by train for three years and picked his victims by random. The children themselves were often horribly mutilated. He used fire weapons, knives, axes and hammers. The killings followed a set pattern. "The Terminator" chose isolated houses in the outskirts of villages. He would enter the houses before dawn, round up the family and shoot them all -- including children. Then he would torch the place and kill whoever crossed his path during his murderous outbursts. He often stole valuables from his victims and sometimes scattered family photographs about the floor. After each murder, he kept the underwear his victims wore. He regarded them as relics. Sometimes he even gave them to his girlfriend, Anna, as a present.

He claims he can recollect every single murder. "A soldier who kills during a war doesn't see who he hits. Someone who kills just a few times doesn't have any control; he can't analyze his actions. I can, because I've killed a lot. I perfectly remember; once I killed a couple and their three children in their car. I went to sit on the father, and I drove around the country with the five bodies. That was quite interesting."

Onoprienko stays insensitive and analyzes every single murder in a scientific way. He claims he never thought of himself as an ordinary killer, he always felt as a top-surgeon. "When you see it like that, I'm a very unique person. I did things nobody else does. These all were unique events."

April 1996, the police finally arrested Onoprienko, father of a little boy himself, at his girlfriend's house, after a nationwide manhunt. After being captured, the former sailor confessed he had already killed nine people in 1990.

Onoprienko's son looks up to him, but ever since he found out his dad's the serial killer; he becomes more and more aggressive. In an interview he said: "Killing someone with a knife is boring. One can better do it with bare hands, by strangling, or to fire a gun. It must be impressive to see the bullet fly and see it penetrate a body from a distance."

Unlike most serial killers, Onoprienko wasn't driven by any sexual motives during his killing journeys. Neither is he psychiatrically disturbed, but examinations prove that he's intelligent and fully sane. Some experts search for suitable motives in his miserable childhood. His mother died when he was four years old, and when he got seven, his father sent him to an orphanage. According to his ex-wife, Onoprienko also kills children to avoid them to end up in orphanages, like he did.

When he got 17, he became a sailor, and he met his future wife. On his sea trips, his merciless fantasies got shaped. Onoprienko himself claims he hasn't become a murderer by his own free will. "I've been chosen to fulfill a mission. In a way, I feel related with Messir, the hero from the Russian author Bulgakow's book. He was evil, and so am I. I did what I had to do: kill people. I don't owe any more explanation to my victims, their families and the police." He also claims he spoke to Hitler once, and that this one advised him to unchain a new world war.

Shortly after he got arrested, Onoprienko called himself a hostage, who had to be put on trial wrongly. He claimed the police should first track down the unknown force that drove him. He does admit that he looks forward to the gigantic attention of the press. He's been sentenced to death, but as Russia can't perform any capital punish ments anymore since it joined the Council of Europe, his punishment was replaced by a life sentence in the Zhytomyr prison, although Onoprienko himself wanted to be executed.

The fact that he killed 52 people is a neglectable detail to Onoprienko. "None of my victims resisted. Armed or not, man or woman, none of them dare to do anything. A human being doesn't mean anything. I've only seen weak people. I compare humans to sand-grains. There are so much of them that they don't mean a thing."

Anatoly Onoprienko

Matt Taibbi recounts how a couple of quick-thinking small-town cops caught the man suspected of being modern history's worst serial killer.

Easter Sunday morning, Western Ukraine. Yavoriv was once a town dominated spiritually by a giant Soviet military base. But now communism is forgotten, the base has been cut in size and, like most of the villages near Ukraine's Polish border, religion is the focus of life again.

Depending on their faith, drivers cross themselves when they pass Greek or Roman Catholic churches in their cars. Nobody works Sunday, much less Easter Sunday. Nobody, that is, except the police, for whom any holiday means double shifts and unwanted overtime.

Sunday is usually patrolman Igor Khuney's day off, but by 10 a.m. on Easter, he was on his beat in the military housing area as part of an added holiday detail.

At the precinct house a few kilometers across town, Khuney's boss, Deputy Police Chief Sergei Kryukov, was sitting in his office, stirring his fifth cup of tea that day. He'd been at work since midnight Saturday; on holiday weekends, he splits 24-hour shifts with the police chief.

Both men were prepared for a long evening - holidays always mean more public drinking and, subsequently, more work for police - but neither had the faintest idea that, within a matter of hours, he would be preparing to arrest of a suspect in the worst series of murders in modern history. Nor did the two have any idea that they would get no credit for their work.

The Easter arrest and subsequent confession of Anatoly Onoprienko, suspected of killing 52 people, was hailed by Ukrainian Interior Ministry officials in Kiev as the result of a long, "beautiful" investigation by federal detectives.

But in fact, police logs and statements from witnesses show that it came down to the quick thinking and common sense of a few ordinary, small-town cops. The Western Ukraine killings had prompted the largest criminal investigation in Ukrainian history, and one of the most remarkable in modern times.

The horror erupted in Bratkovichi - like Yavoriv, a rural town not far from Lviv. After a series of brutal murders in which entire families were shot and butchered and their homes set afire, citizens demanded an extreme response. They got one.

The Ukrainian government dispatched a National Guard division, complete with armored personnel carriers and bazookas, to protect Bratkovichi.

As if the deployment of an entire military division to combat a lone sadistic killer wasn't enough, more than 2,000 police investigators, both federal and local, were assigned to the case from December 1995 until Easter, the span of a killing spree that left at least 40 people dead.

But the same modern problems that have given rise to the phenomenon of serial murder - the creation of a huge urban crowd in which people can lose themselves and become alienated - also make it difficult for police to catch serial killers by usual investigative methods. From Jack the Ripper on, the history of serial-killer investigations is a litany of massive manhunts that have failed to solve the crimes. Confronted with millions of suspects and a lack of motives, police usually have ended up relying on sheer luck.

While the 2,000-member squad of investigators in Lviv, an urban area with a population of about 1 million, was getting nowhere, the local cops in Yavoriv were showing why both life and crime-fighting were simpler and safer back in the days when most people lived in small towns.

Like any patrolman in a rural town, Khuney knew personally most of the people on his beat. His neighborhood is a series of run-down, adobe-colored, five-story buildings in a military housing complex a few hundred meters from the base entrance.

Most of the residents are current and former army officers and their families. He was on a first-name basis with most of the officers, and visited them socially or even drank with them.

One person he knew well was Pyotr Onoprienko, the suspect's cousin and an army captain, who lived with his wife and two children about 100 meters from the suspect's apartment on Ivana Khristitelya Street.

In the end, it was probably a family dispute between Pyotr and Anatoly that led Khuney to make the Easter arrest. Pyotr's next-door neighbor, a former base commander who declined to give his name, said Pyotr's family had been shaken up by the arrival of Anatoly, a long-lost cousin from Eastern Ukraine. "Anatoly arrived out of nowhere in early December," said the neighbor, whose statement was backed up by his wife and by another officer neighbor of Pyotr Onoprienko's, who later arranged for the cousin to be interviewed. "He stayed for a few weeks with Peya, but then his wife kicked him out. She'd found weapons in his room, and didn't like him in general. Anatoly was so mad that he told Pyotr to his face: 'God will punish you and your family on Easter.'"

Pyotr Onoprienko, a tall, solidly built man with a stern, round face and reddish complexion, is reluctant to talk about his cousin and the evens of the past few months.

During an interview outside the base, he paced back and forth in his uniform, looking down and absentmindedly kicking dirt with his shoes. "Anatoly stayed with me for a while, but we had problems, and we kicked him out," he said. "He's my relative, but I have a wife and two children, and I have my life and theirs to worry about. That's all I can say about my cousin." Did Pyotr, fearing an attack on his family on Easter, give up his cousin to Khuney? Although neither will say what he knows about the source of the critical tip Khuney received Easter morning, both men admit they knew each other, and the Yavoriv police log suggests that Pyotr was the source.

Kryukov said the log for 12 p.m. on Easter showed that "officer Khuney received a tip that a man of suspicious character from the Zhitomirskaya Oblast, presumed to be armed, was planning to commit a violent crime on the Easter holiday."

The information about the suspicious character being from the Zhitomirskaya Oblast intrigued Kryukov, who had little to do all morning but sit around and read police dispatches. One of those dispatches was among hundreds connected to the Lviv area murders that had been sent to police stations all around the country in the previous three months.

It said information gained by federal investigators revealed that a 12-gauge, Russian-made Tos-34 hunting rifle - the type used in the Bratkovichi killings - had been reported stolen in the Zhitomirskaya Oblast the previous fall.

"It was a long shot, but I thought, '"Here we've got an armed guy from the Zhitomirskaya Oblast, and a weapon missing. And we don't have too many people from 'Zhitom' come here,'" said Kryukov.

"If I hadn't gotten the telegram that morning, I might never have considered it. But as it was, I had to think about it." Alarmed, Kryukov immediately called superiors in the Lviv Oblast police headquarters for advice on how to proceed with this potentially sticky confrontation.

At 12:15 p.m., he got an order from the oblast police chief, General Bogdan Romanuk, to form a task force of local detectives and policemen and to organize a reserve of "extra strength," meaning a volunteer civilian posse. Within an hour, 20 patrolmen and detectives were assembled, and the group set off for Ivana Khristitelya Street in unmarked cars.

To get an idea of the layout of the apartment where the suspect was living, Kryukov spent about half an hour going through a corner third-floor apartment in a neighboring stairwell. He then blocked the exits to the suspect's building with unmarked cars and sent two men each to guard the fourth and second floors.

The rest of the police and volunteers surrounded the building. Khuney, Kryukov and patrolman Vladimir Kensalo then approached the suspect's door.

The apartment belonged to the suspect's girlfriend, a Yavoriv hairdresser whom police have identified only as "Anna." Kryukov had no idea whether she and her two children were home. Fortunately, they were at church, and Anatoly Onoprienko, whom the children already called "Dad" after knowing him only three months, was expecting them home any minute. He therefore opened the door unquestioningly when Kryukov rang the doorbell, and to his surprise, was quickly subdued and handcuffed.

Here is how Kryukov, Khuney and Kensalo realized who they had on their hands: An Akai tape deck, which Kryukov noticed in the living room, was identified as belonging to the Novosad family, murdered in nearby Busk on March 22. "I had a list, which I always carried around, of certain items that had been reported missing, their makes and serial numbers," said Kryukov. "And the Akai matched the Busk crime scene." Onoprienko, despite being handcuffed, made an attempt to get a weapon. When police asked for his documents, he led them to a closet in which a gas pistol was hidden and made an unsuccessful grab for it. The pistol was the second piece of evidence. It had been stolen from a murder scene in Odessa.

In all, 122 items belonging to murder victims were recovered from the scene. But the "smoking gun" of material evidence was just that - a sawed-off Tos-34 rifle, the same one reported missing in the telegram, which had been used in the Bratkovichi and Busk killings, as well as others. As the search at Ivana Khristitelya Street was winding down, Anna came home late.

She left her children outside and was led to Kryukov. "She understood that something serious had happened, and asked me what was going on," Kryukov said. "There was nothing to do. I took her aside and said, 'Do you remember those killings in Bratkovichi?' and she broke down crying. She had no idea. She thought he was some kind of businessman."

Although they seemed to have material evidence, Kryukov and his crew knew they didn't have everything. They needed a confession. Onoprienko made it clear right away he wasn't going to give up easily.

When Kryukov confronted him with the gun and some of the other evidence, Onoprienko just smiled. "I'll talk to a general, but not to you," he said. Folding his arms, he sat silently, and finally was led away to the precinct across town.

Yavoriv's lead investigator, Bogdan Teslya, had not been involved in the arrest. At the time of the operation, he had been home with his family watching television. Shortly after the search at Ivana Khristitelya Street was finished, at about 9 p.m., he got a phone call from Kryukov asking him to come in and handle the interrogation.

A gregarious, dark-skinned man with a warm smile full of gold teeth, Teslya was considered by Khuney and other patrolmen to be the town's best interrogator because of his engaging personality and ability to speak calmly with criminals.

At the precinct, Onoprienko had waived his right to an attorney. Despite his announcement that he would speak to no one below the rank of general, Teslya considered it vital to try to get as much information as he could out of the suspect as soon as possible. "I was terrified that it would go wrong," he said. "In this kind of case, you never know what will happen.

He might hang himself in his cell by the next morning, and then you'd never be able to really close the case. We needed to get him to speak." Beginning at 10 p.m., Teslya sat alone in an interrogation room with Onoprienko while he waited for an Interior Ministry general to arrive from Lviv, and tried to get him to talk about himself.

Onoprienko was quiet at first, but in the second half hour of questioning began to talk about his personal history, telling Teslya that he had been born in the town of Laski in the Zhitomirskaya Oblast. He told Teslya his mother had died when he was 1 year old, and that his father had put him into an orphanage in the Zhitomirskaya region.

Onoprienko talked at length about this, saying he was still upset that his father gave him away, but kept Anatoly's brother, who was 12 years older. "Onoprienko said that he felt that his father and brother could easily have taken care of him," Teslya said. "He was moved and upset to talk about it." Following this line of questioning, Teslya then asked Onoprienko whether he ever felt hostility toward families. Onoprienko paused and then shook his head before reiterating that he would not talk to anyone below the rank of general.

"At that point, I tried something new," Teslya said. "I said to him, 'We'll get you your generals. We'll get 10 generals if you want. But how am I going to look if I bring them in here and you've got nothing to tell them? Because maybe there's nothing to tell. How will I look then?' "And that's when he said it. He said, 'Don't worry. There's definitely something to tell.'"

At that moment - about 11:30 p.m. - Teslya left the room and went into the corridor, where General Romanuk, who in fact had arrived long ago, was waiting. After a five-minute pause, the two men and Romanuk's assistant, Maryan Pleyukh, entered the room, and Onoprienko began his confession.

He first admitted that he had stolen the shotgun, then admitted that he had used it in the recent murders, the officers say. The three men sat with Onoprienko until 6 a.m. listening to his confession to 52 murders. They spent most of that time taking down details about each killing. There was little discussion of motive, although Onoprienko mentioned several times that he wanted to be studied as a "phenomenon of nature" and that he had been commanded "from above" to kill.

The next day, Teslya went to Lviv, where Onoprienko had been moved, and began a five-day series of one-on-one interviews with his suspect. Teslya called Onoprienko "the most perplexing person I've ever interviewed."

He said the first week of questioning was a roller-coaster ride in which he struggled to keep track of Onoprienko's two personalities: one a rational, educated, eloquent young man; the other a deranged, homicidal megalomaniac.

The suspect told Teslya he was commanded either by God or from outer space to kill, and that he had been "chosen" as a superior specimen among men for the work. He claimed he could exert strong hypnotic powers, control animals through telepathy and stop his heart with his mind through his mastery of Yoga.

"I told him that I thought his hypnotic powers were interesting, and asked him, for my benefit, if he could try them on me," Teslya said. "But he said that it only worked with weak people, and I wasn't a weak enough person."

He revealed that he had been for schizophrenia in a Kiev hospital, a lead which Teslya, as a Lviv investigator, was not allowed to pursue. The statement is interesting because immediately following the arrest,

Kiev Interior Ministry investigator Alexander Tevashchenko said Onoprienko - then identified as "Citizen O." - was an outpatient whose therapists knew he was a killer. Teslya says he knows nothing about that side of the case, and the Kiev investigators have not released any further information on that score since the initial statement.

On Friday, April 19, the investigation was taken out of Teslya's hands and turned over to federal Interior Ministry investigators. When his week of questioning the suspect was over, Teslya said he had concluded Onoprienko was genuinely insane and had acted alone.

"There have been many rumors that he was part of a gang, but my feeling is that his discussions of his motives, and of his special powers, were not fabricated. I can be wrong, but that's what I think," he said. "Plus, just thinking rationally, I don't think anyone but a single killer could have pulled off so many murders. In a gang, someone talks, another drinks, a third whispers something to a girlfriend, and it's all over. You'd never make it to 52 killings. But as I say, I can be wrong."

The investigation is far from over. Although Teslya and other investigators remain convinced that the suspect acted alone, many people in the Lviv area - including Pyotr Onoprienko, who said he still fears for his life - believe Anatoly Onoprienko had people "standing behind him."

Police say they are working hard to prove concretely that he had no accomplices, and will release evidence to that effect in the near future.

More disturbing, however, is the five-year gap in Onoprienko's personal history between 1989 and 1995, when he left Ukraine and traveled to Europe. Little is known about his activities during that period. According to the Austrian and German embassies, Onoprienko was deported from both countries, although they declined to give dates.

Onoprienko has said he worked as a manual laborer during that time, but that his primary source of income was crime - burglaries and muggings. He hasn't confessed to any European murders, but Teslya, for one, thinks the list of victims will get longer.

"My feeling, and the feeling of most of those who've questioned him, is that he hasn't told us everything," he said. "We don't think this story is over."

'Terminator' in the dock

Monday, November 23, 1998

Anatoly Onoprienko: "I look at it... as an animal"

A Ukrainian man who has confessed to 52 murders has gone on trial, declaring himself a "prisoner of war".

BBC's Jeremy Cooke: Onoprienko says he was motivated by "dark forces"

Anatoly Onoprienko, 39, has admitted killing 52 men, women and children in towns and villages throughout Ukraine.

He answered questions firmly and calmly, from within an iron cage at the court.

The judge often had to repeat requests to stand when he was being spoken to.

At one point he said he had been guided by "dark forces". Occasional flashes of impatience broke through Mr Onuprienko's impassive demeanour.

"This is your law. I consider myself a hostage," he told the judge at one point.

The man whom police have nicknamed the "terminator" has already released a statement through his lawyer boasting of being the world's best killer.

In fact his alleged killing spree has failed to match that of a Russian, Andrei Chikatilo, who murdered and mutilated 53 boys and women. He was executed in 1994.

But suspicions remain over whether Mr Onuprienko could also have been responsible for deaths in other parts of Europe in the early 1990s.

The alleged Ukrainian murders took place over seven years, although most were carried out in a three month period between 1995 and 1996.

During that time, villagers lived in terror. The forester and sailor says he killed entire families, including a three-month-old baby, and left no witnesses to his crimes.

BBC Correspondent James Coomarasamy: "Onoprienko says he wanted to hold the world record for killing"

At one point, 2,000 investigators and 3,500 troops were involved in the country's biggest ever manhunt.

Despite some of his statements regarding the murders, psychiatrists have ruled that he is fit to stand trial.

The trial could take several months to complete as the court hears from more than 400 witnesses and 100 volumes of gruesome evidence.

While Mr Onoprienko technically faces the death penalty if found guilty, he may eventually be imprisoned for life.

Ukraine has retained capital punishment in its legislation but is due to abolish it on January 1, 1999, in line with membership of the Council of Europe.

Anatoly Onoprienko confessed to serial killings

Monday, November 23, 1998

By James Commarasamy in Ukraine

As Alexander Yevashenko watches the televised one-man show, his face goes through a range of emotions. The project which he filmed just over two years ago still provokes a mixture of pride, frustration and guilty amusement.

He feels close to its star, even at times, obsessed with him. Ah, Tolik, he mutters at the slightly built man staring out from the screen. You really are something special. He's not wrong.

Ukraine's biggest ever manhunt

The film is not a drama, but the video record of the police interrogation of Anatoly Onoprienko - "Tolik" to his friends - a 39-year-old drifter who confessed to killing 52 people across Ukraine.

When he was arrested in the Spring of 1996, after Ukraine's biggest ever manhunt, Alexander Yevashenko was one of the investigators who interviewed him.

Since then, Onoprienko has been sitting in his prison cell taking advantage of a macabre quirk of Ukrainian law.

Incredibly, trials cannot begin until the defendant has read all the evidence against him, at his leisure, and in this case there is plenty to get through; 99 volumes of gruesome photos, showing dismembered bodies, burnt cars and houses and random objects such as shoes and radios which Onoprienko stole from his victims.

Funding the trial

There has been another reason for the delay; money. Under that same legal code, the court has to pay the travel and hotel bills of the four hundred witnesses it wants to call. In cash strapped Ukraine, it seems, justice is not a high priority.

It was not until the head judge in the trial made a televised appeal that the Ukrainian government agreed to allocate the necessary funds.

As you watch Onoprienko on the screen in his faded denim jacket, it is hard to believe this is a man nicknamed "The Terminator," a title he earned because of the brutality of his killings.

He shot whole families at point blank range, sparing no-one, not even sleeping babies. Villages were terrorised with the desperate authorities at one stage sending in troops to protect them.

Sinister forces

As for his motive, there has been speculation that his early years spent in an orphanage instilled a hatred of families. However, his interrogation sheds little light on the workings of his mind.

He speaks slowly and calmly about dark forces standing behind him, urging him to kill.

He is not mad, says Alexander, waving his remote control at the screen, he knew exactly what he was doing. Listen to this; and we listen, as one of the world's worst ever serial killers gives an example of these sinister forces. It turns out to be a well-known American magician.

I am not sure what this proves but Alexander looks up triumphantly, willing me to share the truth he has found in this strange pronouncement.

Family of victim

And if Onoprienko's story is sad and bizarre in itself, it is long drawn out conclusion has served to deepen the tragedy, especially for people like Anatoly Grishenko whose wife, Galina, was one of the first victims.

I went to visit him in his gloomy, poorly heated house in the centre of Ukraine which he shares with his teenage son. A broken man, he is been worn down by the months, now years, of waiting for the trial to begin.

He can still remember his relief when Onoprienko was arrested, but only just.

It has long been replaced by a feeling of disillusionment. He cannot believe that the man who shot and burnt his wife has been calmly pouring over the results of his violence while he has had to sit and suffer.

Lives changed forever

How many of us have suffered at his evil hands, he wondered, it is going to be a lot of money. It would have been better if they had just strangled him in his prison cell.

Throughout our interview, his son hid in the darkened kitchen. He does not like meeting people, Anatoly explained, not since his mother was killed.

And as we said our goodbyes, he emerged, a lanky, blond boy with a long, sad face, one of the hundreds whose lives have been changed forever by Onoprienko.

Kuchma says shoot Onoprienko

Thursday, November 26, 1998

A human rights group in Ukraine has criticized President Leonid Kuchma for saying that a man accused of mass killings should be executed if he is found guilty.

President Kuchma said that the case of Anatoly Onoprienko was so exceptional that the Council of Europe should be asked to allow his execution.

Ukraine introduced a moratorium on capital punishment last year in response to Council promptings.

Mr Onoprienko, a former seaman, has confessed to fifty-two murders.

The human rights group, Amnesty International, said the president's statement could influence the outcome of Mr Onoprienko's trial.

Serial killer sentenced to death

Thursday, April 1, 1999

Onoprienko: Said he was driven by a higher force

Ukrainian serial killer Anatoly Onoprienko has been sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering 52 people.

The former sailor admitted killing 52 people, including 10 children in villages across Ukraine, most of them in a three-month spree.

Judge Dmytro Lypsky told the court: "In line with Ukraine'scriminal code ... Onoprienko is sentenced to the death penalty by shooting."

The five presiding judges gave their verdict at the end of a four-month trial on the man who could be one of the world's worst-ever mass murderers.

Onoprienko, 39, stood head bent, staring at the floor of the locked metal cage that was being used as a dock, as the sentence was announced. It took three hours to read out the details of the murders and announce the verdict.

'Devil'

During the trial, in his home town of Zhytomyr, he described himself as the Devil and boasted of being the world's best serial killer. He has expressed no remorse and has claimed that a higher force drove him to commit his crimes.

The death sentence ruling will put Ukraine in an awkward position.

Under its obligations as a Council of Europe member, it is committed to abolishing capital punishment. But both the public and politicians say the Onoprienko case should be an exception.

Ukrainian killer's death sentence upheld

KIEV, Ukraine -- Friday, August 27, 1999, © The Associated Press

Ukraine's Supreme Court on Thursday 27 August, upheld a death sentence for the country's most notorious mass killer, who was convicted of murdering 52 people.

Anatoliy Onoprienko, who was sentenced to death in April, had asked for the sentence to be reduced to life in prison.

Onoprienko's rampage began in 1989 when he and accomplice Serhiy Rogozin robbed and killed nine people.

The former sailor resumed the killings in late 1995, murdering 43 people in less than six months before police arrested him in April 1996.

Rogozin also had appealed to have his 13-year sentence lessened, and on Thursday the Supreme Court reduced it to 12 years, court officials said.

The 39-year-old Onoprienko still can appeal to President Leonid Kuchma, though Kuchma has said that he favors Onoprienko's execution.

However, it's possible that he won't be executed in any case. Ukraine has imposed a moratorium on capital punishment and pledged to eventually ban it.

VICTIMS

Lviv police spokesman say Anatoly Onoprienko has confessed to the following 40 killings from December 1995 to March 1996, in addition to 12 earlier murders;

12 Dec. 1995:
In Gamarnya, Zhitomirskaya Oblast, a forestry teacher whose last name was Zaichenko, 37, and his wife and two infant sons are killed in their home. One of the children was just 3 months old.

31 Dec. 1995:
The first Bratkovichi killings. A middle-aged man by the last name of Kryuchkov, his wife and his two sisters are killed in their homes, which are then set on fire. Later that evening, a man by the name of Malinsky is killed on the street, possibly after seeing the killer leave the crime scene.

5 Jan. 1996:
In Energodar, Zaporozhskaya Oblast, two businessmen named Odintsov and Dolinin are shot as they sit in ther car, which had broken down. Later that night, down the road in Vasilyevka-Dneiprorudny, two more people are killed: a pedestrian named Garmasha and a patrolman named Pybalko from the Vasilyevsky precinct.

6 Jan. 1996:
On the nearby Berdyansk-Dnieprovskaya highway, three more are killed in a stopped car - a Navy ensign named Kasai, a taxi driver named Savitsky and a kolkhoz cook named Kochergina.

17 Jan. 96:
The second Bratkovichi killings. The Pilat family, five in all (including a 6-year-old boy), are shot and burned in their homes before dawn. Later that morning two witnesses are killed - a woman railroad worker named Kondzela, 27, and a train passenger named Zakharko, 56.

30 Jan. 1996:
In Fastova, Kievskaya Oblast, four more are killed with a shotgun: a driver named Zagranichniy, 32; and a nurse named Marusina, 28, and her two sons.

19 Feb. 1996:
In Olevsk, Zhitomirskaya Oblast, the Dubchak family of four is killed. In this episode, the father and son are shot, and the mother and daughter are mauled to death with a hammer.

27 Feb. 1996:
In Malina, Lvivskaya Oblast, the Bodnarchuk family of four, including daughters aged 7 and 8, is slaughtered. The adults are shot, and the children are hacked to death with an axe. One hour later, a neighboring businessman named Tsalk is shot and hacked to death outside his home.

22 March 1996:
The last killings. In Busk, not far from Bratkovichi, the Novosad family, four in all, is shot and burned to



The Story of Anatoly Onoprienko

by David Lohr


Unwanted Overtime

Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia, and it is located in the eastern quadrant. The country has rarely stood alone and has been subjugated at one time or another by Poland, Lithuania and Russia. The population of the Ukraine is estimated to be approximately 50 million.

The territory of the Ukraine is mostly a level, treeless plain, except for the Crimean Mountains in the Crimean peninsula and the Carpathians in the west. The climate is moderate and winters are relatively mild with no severe frosts. Because of these positive climatic conditions, the Ukraine is by tradition an agricultural area. They grow wheat, maize, buckwheat and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The Ukraine is also one of the world's main centers of sugar production.

The country is also rich in natural resources, such as iron ore, coal, various metal ores, oil, gas, etc., and has a variety of industries concentrated mostly in and around big cities, such as Kiev, Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk, and Dnyeprodzerzhinsk. They produce planes and ships, cars, buses, locomotives, computer and electronic equipment, precision instruments, agricultural machines, and various other consumer goods. Odessa, Sebastopol, Nickolayev, Kherson and Kerch are the Ukraine’s main ports.

A massive Soviet military base once dominated the town of Yavoriv, located in Western Ukraine, but after the end of the Cold War, the base has been cut in size, and religion now dominates the area. Nobody works Sunday, much less Easter Sunday. Nobody, that is, except the police, for whom any holiday means double shifts and unwanted overtime.

Investigator Igor Khuney usually has Sunday’s off, however by 10:00 in the morning on April 7, 1996, he was on his beat in the military housing area as part of an added holiday detail. At the precinct house a few kilometers across town, Khuney's boss, Deputy Police Chief Sergei Kryukov, was sitting in his office, stirring his fifth cup of tea that day. He'd been at work since midnight the previous day and was trying his best to stay alert. Both men were prepared for a long evening ─ holidays always mean more public drinking and, subsequently, more work for police Neither police officer had the faintest idea that, within a matter of hours, he would be involved in the arrest of a suspect in one the worst series of murders in modern history. Nor did the two have any idea that they would get no credit for their work.


A Killer Unmasked

Sometime around noon Officer Khuney received a strange call from a man by the name of Pyotr Onoprienko. According to Pyotr, he had recently stumbled upon a stash of weapons hidden in his home. He had suspected that they belonged to his live-in cousin, Anatoly Onoprienko, and ordered him to pack up and move. Anatoly had become enraged at his cousin’s accusations and told Pyotr that he better watch out, because he would take care of his cousin's family on Easter. Obviously fearing for the safety of his family, Pyotr wanted Khuney to investigate the threat. Pyotr told the investigator that his cousin had recently moved in with a woman and her child in the nearby town of Zhitomirskaya. The information about the suspicious character from the Zhitomirskaya intrigued Kryukov, who had just read a police report about a 12-gauge, Russian-made Tos-34 hunting rifle ─ the type used in a recent local killing ─ had been reported stolen in the Zhitomirskaya area.

“It was a long shot, but I thought, here we've got an armed guy from Zhitomirskaya, and a weapon missing. And we don't have too many people from Zhitom come here,” said Kryukov. “If I hadn't gotten the (tip) that morning, I might never have considered it. But as it was, I had to think about it.” Concerned, Kryukov quickly called superiors in the Lviv police headquarters for advice on how to proceed. Lviv police chief, General Bogdan Romanuk, instructed Kryukov to form a task force and conduct a search of Anatoly Onoprienko’s apartment.

Within an hour, over 20 patrolmen and detectives were assembled, and the group set off for Ivana Khristitelya Street in unmarked cars. The suspect shared an apartment there with a Yavoriv hairdresser “Anna” and her two children. The exits to the suspect's building were blocked with unmarked cars and two men guarded the fourth and second floors. The remaining investigators surrounded the building. Khuney, Kryukov and patrolman Vladimir Kensalo then approached the suspect's door.

Kryukov had no idea whether Anna and her two children were home. Unbeknown to investigators, they were at church, and Anatoly Onoprienko, whom the children now called "Dad", was expecting them home any minute. When Kryukov rang the doorbell, Onoprienko assumed that it was Anna and opened the door without hesitation. To his surprise, he was quickly subdued and handcuffed. As Kryukov looked around the suspect’s apartment, he noticed an Akai stereo in the living room. The stereo caught his eye because a Novosad family, recently murdered in nearby Busk on March 22, 1996, had a similar stereo, which was reported missing by family members shortly after their murder. “I had a list, which I always carried around, of certain items that had been reported missing, their makes and serial numbers,” said Kryukov. “And the Akai matched the Busk crime scene.”

When police asked Onoprienko for his identification, he led them to a closet. As an investigator opened the closet door, Onoprienko dove for a pistol he had previously hidden inside. Regardless of his efforts, he was quickly subdued and unable to get to it in time. The pistol, as it would turn out, was the second piece of evidence ─ it had been stolen from a murder scene in Odessa.

Realizing the seriousness of the situation, investigators escorted Onoprienko back to police headquarters and began a comprehensive search of the premises. By the end of the day, 122 items, belonging to numerous unsolved murder victims were recovered from the scene, including a sawed-off Tos-34 rifle.

As the search at Ivana Khristitelya Street was winding down, Anna came home. “She understood that something serious had happened, and asked me what was going on,” Kryukov said. “There was nothing to do. I took her aside and said, 'Do you remember those killings in Bratkovichi?' and she broke down crying. She had no idea. She thought he was some kind of businessman.”


Silence

Although they had a mountain of material evidence, Kryukov needed a confession. Nonetheless, Onoprienko immediately made it clear that he was not interested in talking. When Kryukov confronted him with the facts, Onoprienko showed little reaction and just smiled. “I'll talk to a general, but not to you,” he said.

Yavoriv's lead investigator, Bogdan Teslya, had not been involved in the arrest or initial search. At the time of the operation, he had been at home relaxing with his family. Shortly after the search at Onoprienkos’ apartment was finished, at approximately 9:00 at night, he got a phone call from Kryukov asking him to come in and handle the interrogation. Teslya was considered by Khuney and other investigators to be the best interrogator in the area, because of his personality and ability to speak calmly with suspects.

At police headquarters, Onoprienko had waived his right to an attorney and continued to remain silent. Despite his announcement that he would speak to no one below the rank of general, Teslya considered it imperative to try to get as much information as he could. “I was terrified that it would go wrong,” he said. “In this kind of case, you never know what will happen. He might hang himself in his cell by the next morning, and then you'd never be able to really close the case. We needed to get him to speak.” Beginning at 10 p.m., Teslya sat alone in an interrogation room with Onoprienko while they waited for an Interior Ministry general to arrive from Lviv, and tried to get him to talk about himself.

Onoprienko was silent at first, but in the second half hour of questioning began to talk about his life, telling Teslya that he had been born in the town of Laski in the Zhitomirskaya Oblast. He told Teslya his mother had died when he was very young and that his father had put him into a Russian orphanage. Onoprienko talked at length about this, saying he was still angry that his father gave him away, but kept his older brother. “Onoprienko said that he felt that his father and brother could easily have taken care of him,” Teslya said. “He was moved and upset to talk about it.” Following this line of questioning, Teslya then asked Onoprienko whether he ever felt resentment toward families. Onoprienko hesitated briefly and then shook his head before restating that he would not talk to anyone below the rank of general.

“At that point, I tried something new,” Teslya said. “I said to him, 'We'll get you your general. We'll get 10 generals if you want. But how am I going to look if I bring them in here and you've got nothing to tell them? Because maybe there's nothing to tell. How will I look then? And that's when he said it. He said, ‘Don't worry. There's definitely something to tell.’”


Confessions of Madness

Shortly after 11 p.m., Teslya left the room and went into the corridor, where General Romanuk was waiting. After a brief recess, the two men and Romanuk's assistant, Maryan Pleyukh, entered the room, and Onoprienko began his confession.

He first admitted that he had stolen the shotgun, and then admitted that he had used it in a recent murder. Onoprienko confessed to investigators that he killed for the first time in 1989. He had met a friend, Sergei Rogozin, at a local gym where the two worked out. The two hit it off and began spending much of their time together and their friendship eventually turned into a partnership of crime. They began robbing homes as a way to supplement their meager incomes.

However, one night while robbing a secluded home outside of town, the owners discovered the two intruders. Armed with weapons they carried for self-defense, the two felt that killing the family was necessary in assuring their freedom. Hence, in covering up their tracks, they murdered the entire family ─ two adults and eight children. Onoprienko informed investigators that he broke all ties with Sergei a few months later and shot and killed five people, including an 11-year-old boy, who were sleeping in a car. He then burned their bodies. “I was approaching the car only to rob it,” he said. “I was a completely different person then. Had I known there had been five people, I would have left.” He said he had derived no pleasure from the act of the killing. “Corpses are ugly,” he said. “They stink and send out bad vibes. After I killed the family in the car, I sat in the car with their bodies for two hours not knowing what to do with them. The smell was unbearable.”

Following the murders, Onoprienko kept to himself for several years and moved in with a distant cousin, before he killed again on December 24, 1995. That night, he broke into the secluded home of the Zaichenko family, located in Garmarnia, a village in central Ukraine. He murdered the forestry teacher, along with his wife and two young sons, with a sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun. He then escaped with the couple’s wedding rings, a small golden cross on a chain, earrings, and a bundle of worn clothes. Before leaving the scene of the crime, he set the home ablaze. “I just shot them. It's not that it gave me pleasure, but I felt this urge,” he said. “From then on, it was almost like some game from outer space.”

Onoprienko informed investigators that he had a vision from god, was commanded to murder, and just nine days later killed a family of four, before burning the house down. All the victims were shot with his gun. He claimed that while fleeing the scene, he was spotted by a man on the road and decided to kill him as well, so as not to leave any living witnesses that could later identify him or place him at the scene. Less than a month later, on January 6, 1996 Onoprienko told investigators, that he killed four more people in three separate incidents. He was hanging out near the Berdyansk-Dnieprovskaya highway and decided to stop cars and kill the drivers. Onoprienko stated that he murdered four travelers that day - a Navy ensign named Kasai, a taxi driver named Savitsky, and a kolkhoz cook named Kochergina. “To me it was like hunting. Hunting people down,” he explained. “I would be sitting, bored, with nothing to do. And then suddenly this idea would get into my head. I would do everything to get it out of my mind, but I couldn't. It was stronger than me. So I would get in the car or catch a train and go out to kill.”


Commanded to Kill

Anatoly Onoprienko waited just 11 days after the highway murders before killing again. On January 17, 1996, he drove to Bratkovichi and broke into a home owned by the Pilat family. “I look at it very simply,” he told investigators. “As an animal. I watched all this as an animal would stare at a sheep.” He shot five in all, including a six-year-old boy. Following the murder, just before daybreak, he set the house ablaze prior to leaving. While making his get away, he was spotted by two witnesses, a 27-year-old female railroad worker named Kondzela, and a 56-year-old man named Zakharko. He wasted little time and shot them both in cold blood.

Less than two weeks later, on January 30, 1996, in the Fastova, Kievskaya Oblast region, Onoprienko shot and killed a 28-year-old nurse named Marusina, along with her two young sons and a 32-year-old male visitor named Zagranichniy. He told investigators that he could not stop himself and was obsessed with killing.

A month after the Fastova murders, on February 19, 1996, Onoprienko traveled to Olevsk, Zhitomirskaya Oblast, and broke into the home of the Dubchak family. He shot the father and son, and mauled the mother and daughter to death with a hammer before leaving. He stated that the young girl had witnessed him murder her parents and was praying when he walked into her room. “Seconds before I smashed her head, I ordered her to show me where they kept their money,” he said. “She looked at me with an angry, defiant stare and said, ‘No, I won't.’ That strength was incredible. But I felt nothing.”

On February 27, 1996, Onoprienko said that he drove to Malina, in the Lvivskaya Oblast region and broke into the Bodnarchuk family home. He shot the husband and wife to death and then murdered their two daughters, aged seven and eight. Rather than shooting the young children, he hacked them both to death with an axe. One hour later, a neighboring businessman named Tsalk was wandering around outside and Onoprienko decided to kill him as well. He shot the man and then hacked up his corpse with the same axe he had used to murder the children. “Oh, you know, I killed them because I loved them so much, those children, those men and women, I had to kill them, the inner voice spoke inside my mind and heart and pushed me so hard!”

Onoprienko claimed that his last murder occurred on March 22, 1996, when he traveled to the small village of Busk, just outside of Bratkovichi, and murdered the Novosad family, four in all. He shot them to death and set their home ablaze in order to destroy any evidence. “I'm not a maniac,” he said. “If I were, I would have thrown myself onto you and killed you right here. No, it's not that simple. I have been taken over by a higher force, something telepathic or cosmic, which drove me. I am like a rabbit in a laboratory. A part of an experiment to prove that man is capable of murdering and learning to live with his crimes. To show that I can cope, that I can stand anything, forget everything.”

Investigators questioned Onoprienko until 6 a.m., as he confessed to committing over 50 murders during his 3-month rampage. They spent most of their time taking down details about each killing. There was little talk of motive, although Onoprienko stated several times that he wanted to be studied as a “phenomenon of nature” and that a higher being had commanded him to kill.


Citizen O

The day after the initial interview with Onoprienko, Teslya went to Lviv, where Onoprienko had been moved, and began a 5-day series of one-on-one interviews with his suspect. Teslya called Onoprienko “the most perplexing person I've ever interviewed.” The suspect told Teslya he was commanded by God to kill, and that he had been “chosen” as a superior specimen. He claimed he could wield strong hypnotic powers, control animals through telepathy and stop his heart with his mind. “I told him that I thought his hypnotic powers were interesting, and asked him, for my benefit, if he could try them on me,” Teslya said. “But he said that it only worked with weak people, and I wasn't a weak enough person.”

Onoprienko revealed that he had previously spent time in a Kiev hospital for schizophrenia, a lead that Teslya, as an Lviv investigator, was not allowed to pursue. The statement was interesting because immediately following the arrest, Kiev Interior Ministry investigator Alexander Tevashchenko said that Onoprienko ─ then identified as "Citizen O" ─ was an outpatient whose therapists knew he was a killer. Teslya later stated that he knew nothing about that side of the case, and the Kiev investigators have yet to release any further information regarding it since the initial statement.

On Friday, April 19, 1996, the investigation was taken out of Teslya's hands and turned over to federal Interior Ministry investigators. When his week of questioning the suspect was over, Teslya said he had concluded Onoprienko was genuinely insane and had acted alone. “There have been many rumors that he was part of a gang, but my feeling is that his discussions of his motives, and of his special powers, were not fabricated. I can be wrong, but that's what I think,” he said. “Plus, just thinking rationally, I don't think anyone but a single killer could have pulled off so many murders. In a gang, someone talks, another drinks, a third whispers something to a girlfriend, and it's all over…but as I say, I can be wrong.”

Even though psychiatrists declared Anatoly Onoprienko mentally fit to stand trial, the proceedings did not begin until November of 1998. Incredibly, trials in the Ukraine cannot begin until the defendant has read all the evidence against him, at his leisure, and in the case of Anatoly Onoprienko there was plenty to get through ─ 99 volumes of gruesome photos, showing dismembered bodies, cars, houses and random objects Onoprienko stole from his victims. Another reason for the delay was money. It was not until the head judge in the trial made a televised appeal that the Ukrainian government agreed to allocate the necessary funds for a lengthy trial.

On November 23, 1998, a Ukrainian court ruled that 39-year-old Anatoly Onoprienko was mentally competent and could be held responsible for his crimes. The regional court in Zhytomyr said that Onoprienko, “Does not suffer any psychiatric diseases, is conscious of and is in control of the actions he commits, and does not require any extra psychiatric examination.”


Caged Justice

Deemed competent to face the charges against him, Onoprienko’s trial opened in the city of Zhytomyr, 90 miles west of Kiev on February 12, 1999. As the proceedings began, Onoprienko, like Andrei Chikatilo, Russia's infamous “Rostov Ripper,” sat in court in an iron cage, and was spat upon and raged at by the public.

Hundreds of people huddled together in the unheated courtroom were angered, “Let us tear him apart,” shouted a woman from the back of the court room just before the hearing started, adding, “He does not deserve to be shot. He needs to die a slow and agonizing death.” Afraid that the crowd might take the law into their own hands, police searched bags and made everyone pass through an airport-style metal detector before continuing. Many of those attending the hearing said they were afraid that the killer would be sentenced to only 15 years in prison ─ the maximum sentence possible under Ukrainian law, except for capital punishment.

While in court, Onoprienko had very little to say. Asked if he would like to make a statement he shrugged his shoulders and replied, “No, nothing.” Informed of his legal rights he growled, “This is your law.” When asked to state his nationality, he said, “None.” When Judge Dmitry Lipsky said this was impossible, Onoprienko rolled his eyes and replied, “Well, according to law enforcement officers, I'm Ukrainian.”

The defendant claimed he felt like a robot driven for years by a dark force and argued that he should not be tried until authorities could determine the source. “You are not able to take me as I am,” he shouted at Judge Dmytro Lypsky. “You do not see all the good I am going to do, and you will never understand me,” he said. “This is a great force that controls this hall as well. You will never understand this. Maybe only your grandchildren will understand.”

Onoprienko's lawyer, Ruslan Moshkovsky, who said he did not contest his client's guilt, blamed ineptitude of investigators for the extent of his rampage and asked that his childhood in the orphanage be viewed as an extenuating circumstance. Nonetheless, Prosecutor Yury Ignatenko countered that examinations of Onoprienko's mental health during the investigation had overturned an independent diagnosis of schizophrenia made before his arrest, and a further test ordered by the court confirmed his current mental health.

The prosecutor said Onoprienko's motives lay in his own violent nature. “In every society there have been and are people who due to their innate natures can kill, and there are those who will never do that,” he added. “People demand how come he killed so many people. But why not, if conditions make it possible?... Onoprienko led a double life, and that is the main thing.”

Onoprienko told the court that he had been driven by a devil, higher powers and mysterious voices. He assured the court he was guilty of all charges against him, however insisted that he felt no remorse. “I would kill today in spite of anything,” Anatoly told the court. “Today I am a beast of Satan.”

Following 100 volumes of shocking evidence and the defendant’s own admissions, closing arguments began in April of 1999. Prosecutor Yury Ignatenko wasted little time in demanding the death sentence, “In view of the extreme danger posed by (Anatoly) Onoprienko as a person, I consider that the punishment for him must also be extreme -- in the form of the death sentence,” Yury Ignatenko told the court in his concluding speech.

Onoprienko's lawyer Ruslan Moshkovsky, once again tried to play on the sympathy of the court as he began his own closing arguments, “My defendant was from the age of four deprived of motherly love, and the absence of care which is necessary for the formation of a real man," Moshkovsky said. “I appeal to the court...to soften the punishment.”

With the trial now over, court was adjourned to await the judge’s ultimate verdict.


Epilogue

After just 3 hours of deliberation, Judge Dmytro Lypsky called the court back into session. Onoprienko stood head bent, staring at the floor of his metal cage as the sentence was read. “In line with Ukraine’s criminal code, Onoprienko is sentenced to the death penalty by shooting,” Judge Lypsky announced to the court.

In his final statement to the court, Onoprienko exclaimed, “I've robbed and killed, but I'm a robot, I don't feel anything, I've been close to death so many times that it's even interesting for me now to venture into the afterworld, to see what is there, after this death.”

“Thank goodness that's over,” said a secretary leaving the hearing.

The death sentence ruling put the Ukraine in an awkward position. Under its obligations as a Council of Europe member, they had committed to abolishing capital punishment. Nonetheless, both the public and the politicians argued that the Onoprienko case was an exception.

Following his sentencing, Onoprienko, the media dubbed “Terminator,” gave a lengthy interview to a London Times reporter. During their meeting, Onoprienko reminisced about the murders he had committed.

“I started preparing for prison life a long time ago -- I fasted, did yoga, I am not afraid of death,” he said. “Death for me is nothing. Naturally, I would prefer the death penalty. I have absolutely no interest in relations with people. I have betrayed them.

“The first time I killed, I shot down a deer in the woods. I was in my early twenties and I recall feeling very upset when I saw it dead. I couldn't explain why I had done it, and I felt sorry for it. I never had that feeling again.

“If I am ever let out, I will start killing again, but this time it will be worse, ten times worse. The urge is there. Seize this chance because I am being groomed to serve Satan. After what I have learnt out there, I have no competitors in my field. And if I am not killed I will escape from this jail and the first thing I'll do is find Kuchma (the Ukrainian president) and hang him from a tree by his testicles.”

Onoprienko's accomplice in the first set of murders, 36-year-old Serhiy Rogozin, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Anatoly Onoprienko currently resides on death row as authorities are still looking into a string of additional murders that took place between 1989 and 1995. Since there is a gap in Onoprienko's life during that time that he will not discuss and which cannot be accounted for, he remains a suspect in them.

CrimeLibrary.com

Victims
Onoprienko's rampage began in 1989, when he and accomplice Serhiy Rogozin, robbed and killed nine people.

June 1989
A husband and wife both shot dead.

The couple was standing by their Lada car on a motorway: "I just shot them. It's not that it gave me pleasure, but I felt this urge. From then on, it was almost like some game from outer space."

1989
two more people death

1989
Onoprienko said he shot and killed five people, including an 11-year-old boy, who were sleeping in a car. He then burned their bodies. But he said at his trial he hadn't planned on killing anyone.

"I was approaching the car only to rob it," he said. "I was a completely different person then. Had I known there had been five people, I would have left."

From here there is a long gap between the murders. During this piriot he roamed illegally around several European countries without visas, living off petty crime and robbery.

Onoprienko has confessed to the following 43 killings from December 1995 to March 1996, in addition to the 9 earlier murders;

Dec. 12, 1995:
In Gamarnya, Zhitomirskaya Oblast, a forestry teacher whose last name was Zaichenko, 37, and his wife and two infant sons are killed in their home. One of the children was just 3 months old.

All victims where shot with a sawed-off, double-barreled shot gun. He then escaped with the couples wedding rings, a small golden cross on a chain, earrings, and a bundle of worn clothes. Before leaving the scene of the crime, he set the home ablaze.

Dec. 31, 1995:
The first Bratkovichi killings. A middle-aged man by the last name of Kryuchkov, his wife and her two nineteenth-year-old twin sisters are killed in their homes, which are then set on fire.

After the killings Onoprienko chopped off the wifes finger and stole her engagement ring.

One of the girls was found dead in the kitchen. From fear she had bitten so hard in her hand, that she almost had bitten through the bones.

Later that evening, two more man where killed on the street, possibly after seeing the killer leave the crime scene.

Jan. 5, 1996:
In Energodar, Zaporozhskaya Oblast, two businessmen named Odintsov and Dolinin are shot as they sit in ther car, which had broken down. Later that night, down the road in Vasilyevka-Dneiprorudny, two more people are killed: a pedestrian named Garmasha and a patrolman named Pybalko from the Vasilyevsky precinct.

Jan. 6, 1996:
On the nearby Berdyansk-Dnieprovskaya highway, three more are killed in a stopped car - a Navy ensign named Kasai, a taxi driver named Savitsky and a kolkhoz cook named Kochergina.

After the shooting he noted a woman with two shopping bags with groceries and shot at here twice He steals from her a Pair of boots, coat, ring, and the two bags with the groceries.

Jan. 17, 1996:
The second Bratkovichi killings. The Pilat family, five in all (including a 6-year-old boy), are shot and burned in their homes before dawn. Later that morning two witnesses are killed - a woman railroad worker named Kondzela, 27, and a train passenger named Zakharko, 56.

Jan. 30, 1996:
In Fastova, Kievskaya Oblast, four more are killed with a shotgun: a driver named Zagranichniy, 32; and a nurse named Marusina, 28, and her two sons.

Feb. 19, 1996:
In Olevsk, Zhitomirskaya Oblast, the Dubchak family of four is killed. In this episode, the father and son are shot, and the mother and daughter are mauled to death with a hammer.

On this occasion he confronted a seven-year-old girl who was huddled on her bed, praying. She had seen him kill both her parents and brother.

Onoprienko said:
"Seconds before I smashed her head, I ordered her to show me where they kept their money, She looked at me with an angry, defiant stare and said, 'No, I won't.'

That strength was incredible. But I felt nothing."

Feb. 27, 1996:
In Malina, Lvivskaya Oblast, the Bodnarchuk family of four, including daughters aged 7 and 8, is slaughtered. The adults are shot, and the children are hacked to death with an axe. One hour later, a neighboring businessman named Tsalk is shot and hacked to death outside his home.

March 22, 1996:
The last killings. In Busk, not far from Bratkovichi, the Novosad family, five in all, is shot and burned to. One child was ripped open from the stomach to the throat.







Anatoly and his girlfriend Anna Kazak who he met Dec. 1995.




Anatoly Onoprienko



Anatoly Onoprienko



Anatoly Onoprienko







Anatoly Onoprienko





Anatoly Onoprienko in a cage




Anatoly Onoprienko
 
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Banned


Anatoly Onoprienko



Anatoly Onoprienko



Anatoly Onoprienko



Anatoly Onoprienko has expressed no remorse.





Onoprienko said he was commanded either by God or from outer space to kill, and that he had been "chosen"
as a superior specimen among men for the work. He claimed he could exert strong hypnotic powers,
control animals through telepathy and stop his heart with his mind through his mastery of Yoga.





Police video of the Bodnarchuk crime scene.
On Feb. 27, 1996, in Malina, Lvivskaya Oblast, Onoprienko killed four members of the Bodnarchuk family. including daughters aged 7 and 8, are slaughtered. The adults are shot, and the children are hacked to death with an axe.



Some of Onoprienko's victims.



Investigators looking at evidence.



Anatoly Onoprienko's mother



Anatoly Onoprienko's family house

 

HERR

Lurker
Ukraine’s most prolific serial killer, Anatoly Onoprienko, who killed 52 people in a six-year reign of terror up to 1996, has died in jail, the state penitentiary service said on Tuesday.
The agency reported a prison service official as saying Onoprienko, who was about 54 years old, appeared to have died of a heart attack.
 
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