Prosecutors on Monday asked for the "severest punishment" for a Russian man accused of killing dozens of people and keeping count of them on a chessboard. But the defendant showed no remorse on the final day of his five-week trial, mocking both prosecutors and his own lawyers.
Alexander Pichushkin, 33, has confessed to killing 63 people with the goal of marking all 64 squares on the chessboard. Prosecutors charged him with 49 murders, but later dropped one count for lack of evidence.
Most of the victims were killed over the course of five years in Bittsa Park, a sprawling wild green area on the southern edge of the city, and the serial killer became known as the "Bittsa Maniac."
Moscow city prosecutor Yuri Syomin told the jury in his closing arguments that investigators have proved Pichushkin killed 48 people and attempted to kill three others and he "deserves the severest punishment as a serial killer."
Russia has maintained a moratorium on the death penalty since 1996, although it has stopped short of abolishing it completely.
Pichishkin's lawyers questioned the evidence in 23 of those killings -- in 14 cases no body was found -- and asked that he be cleared on those crimes.
"I would not want him to be blamed for someone else's crimes," lawyer Pavel Ivannikov said.
Pichushkin, who was held in the courtroom in a glass cage, refused to make a final statement.
"A final statement?" he said, speaking through a microphone. "It sounds grim. I donate my final statement to all the deaf and mute."
"All that is being said here by the prosecutors and lawyers is so pitiful," he said, after prosecutors several times had to correct one of his defense lawyers when he confused some facts of the case during his closing arguments.
"I would give him death by firing squad," a woman whose sister was one of the victims said.
Prosecutors said Pichushkin lured his victims to the park by promising them vodka if they would join him in mourning the death of his dog.
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