Taking into consideration the horrible misdeeds of which he is guilty, this court has no alternative but to impose the only sentence that he deserves. I therefore sentence him to death.
When the Soviet Union entered World War II, Chikatilo's father was drafted into the Red Army and subsequently taken prisoner after being wounded in combat. Between 1941 and 1944, Chikatilo witnessed some of the effects of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, which he described as "horrors", adding he witnessed bombings, fires, and shootings from which he and his mother would hide in cellars and ditches. On one occasion, Chikatilo and his mother were forced to watch their own hut burn to the ground. With his father at war, Chikatilo and his mother slept sharing a single bed. He was a chronic bed wetter and was berated and beaten by his mother for each offense.
Following his graduation, Chikatilo applied for a scholarship at Moscow State University. Although he passed the entrance examination with good-to-excellent scores, his grades were not deemed good enough for acceptance. Chikatilo speculated his scholarship application was rejected due to his father's tainted war record (his father had been branded a traitor for being taken prisoner in 1943), but the truth was that other students had performed better in a highly competitive exam. He did not attempt to enroll at another university; instead, he travelled to the city of Kursk, where he worked as a labourer for three months before—in 1955—enrolling in a vocational school, where he studied to become a communications technician. The same year, Chikatilo formed his first serious relationship, with a local girl two years his junior. On three separate occasions, the couple attempted intercourse, although on each occasion, Chikatilo was unable to sustain an erection. After 18 months, the girl broke off their relationship.
In September 1944, Chikatilo began his schooling. Although shy and ardently studious as a child, he was physically weak and regularly attended school in homespun clothing and, by 1946, with his stomach swollen from hunger resulting from the post-war famine which plagued much of the Soviet Union. On several occasions, this hunger caused Chikatilo to faint both at home and at school, and he was consistently targeted by bullies who regularly mocked him over his physical stature and timid nature. At home, Chikatilo and his sister were constantly berated by their mother. Tatyana later recalled that in spite of the hardships endured by her parents, their father, Roman, was a kind man, whereas their mother was harsh and unforgiving toward her children.
By his teens, Chikatilo was both a model student and an ardent Communist. He was appointed Editor of his school newspaper at age 14 and chairman of the pupils' Communist committee two years later. An avid reader of Communist literature, he was also delegated the task of organizing street marches. Although Chikatilo claimed learning did not come easy to him due to headaches and a poor memory, he was the only student from his collective farm to complete the final year of study, graduating with excellent grades in 1954.
Chikatilo performed his compulsory military Service between 1957 and 1960, assigned first to serve with border guards in Central Asia, then to a KGB communications unit in Berlin. Here, his work record was unblemished, and he joined the Communist party in 1960, shortly before his military Service ended.
After several months, Chikatilo found a job as a communications Engineer in a town located north of Rostov-on-Don. He relocated to Russia in 1961, renting a small apartment close to his workplace. The same year, his younger sister, Tatyana, finished her schooling and moved into his apartment (his parents would relocate to the Rostov-on-Don region shortly thereafter). Tatyana lived with her brother for six months before marrying a local youth and moving into her in-laws' home; she noted nothing untoward with regard to her brother's lifestyle, except his chronic shyness around women, and resolved to help her brother find a wife and start a family.
In 1963 Chikatilo married a woman named Feodosia Odnacheva, to whom he had been introduced by his younger sister. According to Chikatilo, although he was attracted to Feodosia, his marriage was basically an arranged one which occurred barely two weeks after they had met and in which the decisive roles were played by his sister and her husband.
Chikatilo chose to enroll as a correspondence student at the Rostov University in 1964, studying Russian literature and philology; he obtained his degree in these subjects in 1970. Shortly before obtaining his degree, Chikatilo obtained a job managing regional Sports activities. He remained in this position for one year, before beginning his career as a Teacher of Russian language and literature in Novoshakhtinsk.
Chikatilo later claimed that his marital sex life was minimal and that, after his wife understood he was unable to maintain an erection, they agreed she would conceive by him ejaculating externally and pushing his semen inside her vagina with his fingers. In 1965, Feodosia gave birth to a daughter, Lyudmila. Four years later, in 1969, a son named Yuri was born.
On 14 October, the court reconvened to hear formal sentencing (this sentencing would not finish until the following day). Judge Akubzhanov began sentencing by announcing Chikatilo guilty of 52 of the 53 murders for which he had been tried. He was sentenced to death for each offense. Chikatilo was also found guilty of five counts of sexual assault committed during the years he worked as a Teacher in the 1970s. In reciting his findings, the judge read the list of murders again, before criticizing both the police and the prosecutor's department for various mistakes in the investigation which had allowed Chikatilo to remain free until 1990. Particular criticism was directed towards not local police, but the prosecutor's department—primarily procurator Issa Kostoyev—whom Judge Akubzhanov scathed as "negligent", and who had been dismissive of Chikatilo's inclusion upon a 1987 suspect list compiled by police. Akubzhanov also rejected the numerous claims Kostoyev had made to the media in the months prior to the trial that police had deliberately withheld documents pertaining to Chikatilo from the prosecutor's department as being provably baseless, adding that proof existed he had been in possession of all internal bulletins.
In May 1973, Chikatilo committed his first known sexual assault upon one of his pupils. In this incident, he swam towards a 15-year-old girl and groped her breasts and genitals, ejaculating as the girl struggled against his grasp. Months later, Chikatilo sexually assaulted another teenage girl whom he had locked in his classroom. He was not disciplined for either of these incidents, or for the occasions in which fellow teachers observed Chikatilo fondling himself in the presence of his students. One of Chikatilo's duties at this school was ensuring his students who boarded at the school were present in their dormitories in the evenings; on several occasions, he is known to have entered the girls' dormitory in the hope of seeing them undressed.
In response to the increasing number of complaints lodged against him by his students, the Director of the school summoned Chikatilo to a formal meeting and informed him he should resign voluntarily, or be fired. Chikatilo left his employment discreetly and found another job as a Teacher at another school in Novoshakhtinsk in January 1974. He lost this job as a result of staff cutbacks in September 1978, before finding another teaching position in Shakhty.
In September 1978, Chikatilo moved to Shakhty, a coal mining town near Rostov-on-Don, where he committed his first documented murder. On 22 December, Chikatilo lured a 9-year-old girl named Yelena Zakotnova to an old house which he had secretly purchased; he attempted to rape her but failed to achieve an erection. When the girl struggled, he choked her and stabbed her three times in the abdomen, ejaculating while stabbing the child. In an interview after his arrest, Chikatilo later recalled that after stabbing Yelena, the girl had "said something very hoarsely", whereupon he strangled her into unconsciousness before throwing her body into the nearby Grushevka River. Her body was found two days later.
Kravchenko had a watertight alibi for the afternoon of 22 December: he had been at home with his wife and a friend of hers the entire afternoon, and neighbours of the couple were able to verify this. Nonetheless, the police, having threatened Kravchenko's wife with being an accomplice to murder and her friend with perjury, obtained new statements in which the women claimed Kravchenko had not returned home until late in the evening on the day of the murder. Confronted with these altered testimonies, Kravchenko confessed to the killing. He was tried for the murder in 1979. At his trial, Kravchenko retracted his confession and maintained his innocence, stating his confession had been obtained under extreme duress. Despite his retraction, he was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death in 1979. This sentence was commuted to 15 years' imprisonment (the maximum possible length of imprisonment at the time) by the Supreme Court in December, 1980. Under pressure from the victim's relatives, Kravchenko was retried and eventually executed for Zakotnova's murder in July 1983.
On 3 September 1981 Chikatilo encountered a 17-year-old boarding school student, named Larisa Tkachenko, standing at a bus stop as he exited a public library in Rostov city centre. According to his subsequent confession, Chikatilo lured Tkachenko to a forest near the Don River with the pretext of drinking vodka and "relaxing". When they reached a secluded area, he threw the girl to the ground before tearing off her clothes and attempting intercourse, as Tkachenko remonstrated against his actions. When Chikatilo failed to achieve an erection, he forced mud inside her mouth to stifle her screams before battering and strangling her to death. As he had no knife, Chikatilo mutilated the body with his teeth and a stick; he also tore one nipple from Tkachenko's body with his teeth, before loosely covering her body with leaves, branches, and torn pages of newspaper. Tkachenko's body was found the following day.
Over the following days, Chikatilo confessed to a further 22 killings which had not been connected to the case, either because the murders had been committed outside the Rostov Oblast, because the bodies had not been found, or, in the case of Yelena Zakotnova, because an innocent man had been convicted and executed for the murder. As had been the case with the victims compiled upon the initial list of charges, Chikatilo was able to provide details of these additional killings only the perpetrator could have known: one of these additional victims, 14-year-old Lyubov Volobuyeva, had lived in south-western Siberia, and had been killed in a sorghum field near Krasnodar Airport on 25 July 1982. Chikatilo recalled that he had killed Volobuyeva in a millet field, and that he had approached the girl as she sat in the waiting rooms at Krasnodar Airport. Volobuyeva, Chikatilo stated, had informed him she lived in the Siberian city of Novokuznetsk, and was awaiting a connecting FLIGHT at the airport to visit relatives.
Judge Leonid Akhobzyanov cleared Chikatilo of the murder of 15-year-old Laura Sarkisyan at his trial due to insufficient evidence. Sarkisyan, a runaway from Armenia, was last seen by her family on 18 June. In his confessions to police, Chikatilo had stated he had killed an Armenian girl in the early summer of 1983 and that she had been killed in a stretch of woodland located near Kirpichnaya station. Although Chikatilo had been unable to identify Sarkisyan's picture when presented to him, the timing of Sarkisyan's disappearance and Chikatilo's physical description both of the victim, her clothing, and where he had killed her did match scattered, partial skeletal remains and personal effects which, although determined as being those of a female in her early- to mid-teens, could not be precisely identified.
Following the conclusion of the prosecutor's closing argument, Judge Akubzhanov invited Chikatilo back into the courtroom, before formally asking him whether he would like to make a final statement on his own behalf. In response, Chikatilo simply sat mute. Judge Akubzhanov then announced an initial date of 15 September for himself and the two official jurors to review the evidence and pass final sentence upon Chikatilo. (This date was later postponed until 14 October.) As court announced recess, the brother of Lyudmila Alekseyeva, a 17-year-old girl killed by Chikatilo in August 1984, threw a heavy chunk of metal at Chikatilo, hitting him in the chest. When security tried to arrest the young man, other victims' relatives shielded him.
On 3 July, Bukhanovsky was permitted to testify as to his analysis of Chikatilo, although solely in the capacity as a witness. For three hours, Bukhanovsky testified as to his 1985 psychological profile of Chikatilo, and of the conversations he had held with Chikatilo following his arrest, which had culminated in Chikatilo's confession. Four psychiatric experts from the Serbsky Institute also testified as to the results of a behavioral analysis they had conducted on Chikatilo in May, following the initial adjournment of the trial. All testified as to his behaviour in the courtroom being strikingly at contrast to his behaviour in his cell, and that they considered his antics to be a calculated attempt to obtain acquittal on the grounds of insanity.
The following morning, 30 November, Issa Kostoyev resumed the interrogation. According to the official protocol, Chikatilo confessed to 34 of the 36 murders police had linked to him, although he denied two additional murders committed in 1986 the police had initially believed he had committed: one of whom was Lyubov Golovakha, found stabbed to death on 23 July 1986 and whom investigators had had serious doubts about linking to the manhunt; the second was 18-year-old Irina Pogoryelova, found murdered in Bataysk on 18 August 1986 and whose mutilations closely matched those inflicted upon other victims linked to the manhunt.
In 1987 Chikatilo killed three times. On each occasion the murder took place while he was on a Business trip far away from the Rostov Oblast, and none of these murders were linked to the manhunt in Rostov. Chikatilo's first murder in 1987 was committed on 16 May, when he encountered a 12-year-old boy, named Oleg Makarenkov, at a train station in the Urals town of Revda. Makarenkov was lured from the station with the promise of sharing a meal with Chikatilo at his dacha; he was murdered in woodland close to the station, although his remains would remain undiscovered until 1991. In July, he killed a 12-year-old boy, named Ivan Bilovetsky, in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia, and on 15 September, he killed a 16-year-old vocational school student, named Yuri Tereshonok, in woodland on the outskirts of Leningrad.
In 1988 Chikatilo killed three times, murdering an unidentified woman in Krasny Sulin in April and two boys in May and July. His first murder victim was lured off a train at Krasny Sulin before Chikatilo bound her hands behind her back and stuffed her mouth with dirt, before severing her nose from her face and inflicting numerous knife wounds to her neck. Chikatilo then bludgeoned her to death with a slab of concrete; her body was found on 6 April. Investigators noted that the knife wounds inflicted upon this victim were similar to those inflicted on the victims linked to the manhunt and killed between 1982 and 1985, but as the woman had been killed with a slab of concrete and had not been disemboweled, investigators were unsure whether to link this murder to the investigation. In May, Chikatilo killed a 9-year-old boy, named Aleksey Voronko, in Ilovaisk, Ukraine. The boy's wounds left no doubt the killer had struck again, and this murder was linked to the manhunt. On 14 July, Chikatilo killed 15-year-old Yevgeny Muratov at Donleskhoz station near Shakhty. Muratov's murder was also linked to the investigation, although his body was not found until April 1989. Although his remains were largely skeletal, Muratov's autopsy revealed he had been emasculated, and suffered at least 30 knife wounds.
Chikatilo did not kill again until 1 March 1989, when he killed a 16-year-old girl in his daughter's vacant apartment. He dismembered her body and hid the remains in a sewer. As the victim had been dismembered, police did not link her murder to the investigation. Between May and August, Chikatilo killed a further four victims, three of whom were killed in Rostov and Shakhty, although only two of these victims were linked to the killer. With the resurfacing of victims definitively linked to the manhunt and the fact the majority of these victims' bodies had been discovered close to railway stations, investigators assigned numerous plain clothed officers to discreetly film and photograph passengers on trains throughout the Rostov Oblast. Several trains were also fitted with hidden cameras with the intention of filming or photographing a victim in the company of his or her murderer.
In December 1990, Chikatilo led police to the body of Aleksey Khobotov, a boy he had confessed to killing in August 1989 and whom he had buried in woodland near a Shakhty cemetery, proving unequivocally that he was the killer. He later led investigators to the bodies of two other victims he had confessed to killing. Three of the 56 victims Chikatilo confessed to killing could not be found or identified, but Chikatilo was charged with killing 53 women and children between 1978 and 1990. He was held in the same cell in Rostov-on-Don where he had been detained on 20 November, to await trial.
On 20 August 1991, after police had completed their interrogation, including re-enactments of all the murders at each crime scene, Chikatilo was transferred to the Serbsky Institute in Moscow to undergo a 60-day psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he was mentally competent to stand trial. Chikatilo was analysed by a senior Psychiatrist, Dr. Andrei Tkachenko. Tkachenko did note Chikatilo suffered from various physiological problems which he attributed to prenatal brain damage, but concluded on 18 October that, although suffering from borderline personality disorder with sadistic features, he was fit to stand trial. In December 1991, details of Chikatilo's arrest and a brief summary of his crimes were released to the newly liberated Russian media by police.
Andrei Chikatilo was brought to trial in Rostov on 14 April 1992, charged with 53 counts of murder in addition to five charges of sexual assault against minors committed when he had been a Teacher. He was tried in Courtroom Number 5 of the Rostov Provincial Court, before Judge Leonid Akubzhanov.
Chikatilo was taken from the courtroom to his cell at Novocherkassk prison to await execution. He lodged an appeal against his conviction with the Russian Supreme Court, but this appeal was rejected in the summer of 1993.
On 14 February 1994 Chikatilo was taken from his death row cell to a soundproofed room in Novocherkassk prison and executed with a single gunshot behind the right ear.
Chikatilo also informed Kostoyev he had often tasted the blood of his victims, to which he stated he "felt chills" and "shook all over." He also confessed to tearing at victims' genitalia, lips, nipples and tongues with his teeth. In several instances, Chikatilo would cut or bite off the tongue of his victim as he performed his eviscerations, then—either at or shortly after the point of death—run around the body as he held the tongue aloft in one hand. Although he also admitted that he had chewed upon the excised uterus of his female victims and the testicles of his male victims, he stated he had later discarded these body parts. Nonetheless, Chikatilo did confess to having swallowed the nipples of some of his victims.