The Dnepropetrovsk maniacs (Ukrainian: Дніпропетровські маніяки, Russian: Днепропетровские маньяки) are Ukrainian serial killers responsible for a string of murders in Dnipropetrovsk in June and July 2007. The case gained additional notoriety because the killers made video recordings of some of the murders, with one of the videos leaking to the Internet. Two 19‑year-old locals, Viktor Sayenko (Ukrainian: Віктор Саєнко, Russian: Виктор Саенко) and Igor Suprunyuk (Ukrainian: Ігор Супрунюк, Russian: Игорь Супрунюк), were arrested and charged with 21 murders.
A third conspirator, Alexander Hanzha (Ukrainian: Олександр Ганжа, Russian: Александр Ганжа) was charged with two armed robberies that took place before the murder spree. On 11 February 2009, all three defendants were found guilty. Suprunyuk and Sayenko were sentenced to life imprisonment, while Hanzha received nine years in prison. The lawyers for Suprunyuk and Sayenko launched an appeal, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine in November 2009.
The first two murders occurred late on 25 June 2007. The first victim was a 33-year-old woman, Yekaterina Ilchenko, who was walking home after having tea at her friend's apartment. According to Sayenko's confession, he and Suprunyuk were "out for a walk." Suprunyuk had a hammer. As Ilchenko walked past, Suprunyuk "spun around" and struck her in the side of the head. Ilchenko's body was found by her mother at 5 AM. Within an hour of the first murder, the two men attacked their next victim, Roman Tatarevich, as he slept on a bench near the first murder scene. Tatarevich's head was smashed with blunt objects numerous times, rendering him unrecognizable. The bench was located across the street from the local public prosecutor's office.
On 1 July, two more victims, Yevgenia Grischenko and Nikolai Serchuk, were found murdered in the nearby town of Novomoskovsk.
On the night of 6 July, three more people were murdered in Dnipropetrovsk. The first was Egor Nechvoloda, a recently discharged army recruit, who was bludgeoned while walking home from a nightclub. His mother found the body in the morning by their apartment building on Bohdan Khmelnytsky Street. Yelena Shram, a 28‑year-old night guard, was then murdered around the corner on Kosiora Street. According to Sayenko's taped confession, as Shram walked towards them, Suprunyuk struck her with the hammer he had been hiding under his shirt and struck her several more times after she fell down. She had been carrying a bag filled with clothes. The men picked up the bag, used the clothes to clean the hammer, and threw the bag out. Later the same night, the men murdered a woman named Valentina Hanzha (no apparent relation to co-defendant Alexander Hanzha), a mother of three with a disabled husband.
The next day, 7 July, two 14‑year-old boys from Podgorodnoye, a nearby town, were attacked as they went fishing. One of the two friends, Andrei Sidyuk, was killed, but the other, Vadim Lyakhov, managed to escape.
On 12 July, 48‑year-old Sergei Yatzenko, disabled by a recent bout with cancer, went missing while riding his Dnepr motorcycle. His body was found four days later, with signs of a savage attack visible even after four days in the summer heat.
Twelve more murders followed, often with multiple bodies found on the same day. In addition to the earlier sprees, two victims were found each day from 14 July to 16. Victims were seemingly selected at random. Many were vulnerable to attack, including children, elderly, vagrants, or people under the influence of alcohol. Most victims were killed using blunt objects, including hammers and steel construction bars. Blows were often directed at their faces, leaving them unrecognizable. Many victims were also mutilated and tortured; some victims had their eyes gouged out while they were still alive. One pregnant woman had her fetus cut from her womb. No sexual assaults on any victim were reported. Some victims were also robbed of their cell phones and other valuables, their possessions pawned to second-hand shops in the area. However, most victims had their possessions intact. The murders covered a large geographical area. Aside from Dnepropetrovsk, many occurred in outlying areas of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
No official link between the murders was made until the 7 July attack on two boys in Podgorodnoye. Vadim Lyakhov, the survivor, was initially placed under arrest, suspected of murdering his friend. He was reportedly denied access to counsel and beaten by police during questioning. However, it quickly became clear that he was not responsible for his friend's death, and that the murder was connected with the murder spree. Lyakhov cooperated with the investigators to create sketches of the attackers.
Several days later, on 14 July, 45‑year-old Natalia Mamarchuk was riding her scooter in the nearby village of Diyovka. As she was passing through a wooded area, two men approached her and knocked her down. They then bludgeoned her to death with a hammer or pipe and drove off on her scooter. Local witnesses gave chase but lost sight of the attackers. Two local children also witnessed the attack from nearby, hidden in a tent just a few feet away. They provided a detailed description matching the one given by Lyakhov. A task force was quickly set up from Kiev, headed by lead criminal investigator Vasily Paskalov. The manhunt soon grew to encompass most local law enforcement. Reportedly over 2,000 investigators worked on the case.
The investigation was initially kept secret. No official information about the murders was released, and local people were not warned about possible attacks or provided with descriptions of the suspects. However, rumors of the attacks kept most of the local population home at night. Eventually, investigators selectively distributed sketches and lists of stolen property to local pawn shops. Stolen property began to appear in the pawn shops of the city's Leninskiy district. The combination of the sketches and located stolen property quickly led to the suspects.
Arrest and trial:
The three suspects Viktor Sayenko (Ukrainian: Віктор Саєнко, Russian: Виктор Саенко), Igor Suprunyuk (Ukrainian: Ігор Супрунюк, Russian: Игорь Супрунюк) and Alexander Hanzha (Ukrainian: Олександр Ганжа, Russian: Александр Ганжа) were arrested on 23 July 2007. Suprunyuk attempted to sell a mobile phone stolen from a victim in a local pawn shop, asking for 150 hryvnia (around 30 USD in 2007). Law enforcement agents tracked the phone's location. Suprunyuk and Sayenko were arrested near the cash register of the shop. Hanzha was arrested at home, reportedly managing to flush other stolen mobile phones down the toilet. The phones were recovered, but all information on them was lost.
The three men were charged with involvement in 29 separate incidents, including 21 murders and eight more attacks where victims survived. Suprunyuk was charged with 27 of the cases, including 21 counts of capital murder, eight armed robberies, and one count of animal cruelty. Sayenko was charged with 25 instances, including 18 murders, five robberies and one count of animal cruelty. Hanzha was charged with two counts of armed robbery stemming from a 1 March 2007 incident in Dniprodzerzhynsk.
All three confessed quickly, although Suprunyuk later withdrew his confession. Their trial began in June 2008. Suprunyuk pleaded not guilty, while the other two suspects pleaded guilty to all charges. Viktor Chevguz, Suprunyuk's original defense lawyer, left the case after reportedly being disappointed that his client's plea of insanity was not accepted. Lawyers for the victims' families argued that the level of care taken by the killers during their crime spree meant that they were fully aware of their actions.
Prosecution evidence included bloodstains on the suspects' clothing and video recordings of the murders. The defense denied that the people in the videos were the suspects, claiming serious problems with the investigation, including at least 10 more murders covered up by the prosecution, supposed cover-ups of additional arrests of people with powerful connections who were released without being charged, even naming some of the additional people supposedly involved with the murders. The case was heard by a panel of judges chaired by judge Ivan Senchenko. The prosecution asked for life imprisonment for Sayenko and Suprunyuk, and 15 years of hard labor for Hanzha. Ukraine has no capital punishment since February 2000 after the Constitutional Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in December 1999.
Videos of the murders are some where on the internet. I won't post a link here.