ALEXANDER PICHUSHKIN: THE CHESSBOARD KILLER
Born in 1974, life was fairly normal for Russian child and future serial murderer Alexander Pichushkin. Normal at least until one day when he fell off a swing and was hit on head by the swing on its way back. While it may seem like a minor childhood accident, Pichushkin's family claims that the event marked a change in his demeanor. Instead of being a normal, sociable child, Pichushkin became aggressive and impulsive. This change was so drastic that his mother transferred him to a school that focused on children with learning disabilities. Unfortunately, this resulted in Pichushkin being bullied by other children.
As Pichushkin grew older, his maternal grandfather recognized that he wasn't being challenged in his classes, despite his obvious intelligence. Pichushkin moved in with his grandfather and amongst the many new pursuits he was exposed to, he showed a fondness and talent for chess. As a result, Pichushkin spent a lot of time in Bitsa park- a large, natural park in southeast Moscow- where he played exhibition games with older gentlemen. Unfortunately, Pichushkin was still bullied by other children. If that wasn't enough to exacerbate Pichushkin's problems, his grandfather also died, driving him to drink in what may have been an attempt to manage his emotions.
While Pichushkin may have looked like just a sad figure to many, he was also engaging in some more insidious activities. Pichushkin would carry a video camera with him and when he ran into other children he would record himself threatening them. Pichushkin committed his first murder in 1992 while still a student, but went through a long lull where he didn't kill anybody. It wasn't until 1999 that the 25-year-old man began to kill in greater numbers.
Most of his victims were people who lived on the margins of society- the homeless, addicts, etc.- which made it so that bodies were found without their disappearance ever having been reported. According to Pischushkin, he would lure them to secluded areas in Bitsa park under the pretense of sharing vodka while toasting the death of his dog. After the victims were intoxicated, he would strangle them, drown them in sewage, or drop them from balconies. Often, he would even ram the vodka bottle they had been drinking from into his victims' head, assuring their death. Pichushkin was finally caught when he murdered one of his ex-coworkers- a woman who informed her boyfriend she would be spending some time with Pichushkin, leaving his phone number.
Some footage from the metro station caught Pichushkin and the victim together, leading to his arrest. Pichushkin eventually confessed to 60 murders -11 more than the police found bodies for. During the trial, he described how killing made him feel powerful and that he felt it was necessary for him to kill to survive. He initially claimed he wanted to kill 64 people- one for each square on a chess board- but later said he would've kept on killing had he not been caught.
In 2007, Pichushkin was convicted of 49 murders and 3 attempted murders, with the sentence being life in prison with the first 15 years being spent in solitary confinement.