KRASNODAR, November 13 (Itar-Tass) — The Krasnodar Territory court on Tuesday held the second hearing of the high-profile case over the murder of 12 persons in the village of Kushchevskaya in November 2010. Six defendants are in the prisoner's dock including Sergei Tsapok, accused of setting up and leading a ruthless gang. The case is heard by a jury.
At the beginning of the hearing, Tsapok's lawyer Igor Skripka had demanded recusal of the presiding judge, on the ground that the latter had rejected the statement about the torture of his client" and also because of "the biased trial."
The lawyers of the injured parties did not support the recusal bid. "The statement is unsubstantiated and only reflects the opinion of the defendant’s lawyer," the prosecutor for the state underlined.
Overnight from November 4 to November 5, 2010, members of three families were brutally murdered in the village of Kushchevskaya. There were three girls, aged nine months, 18 months, and five years and a boy of 14 among the murdered people. Police said leader of the local gang Sergei Tsapok had masterminded the murder.
The murder of Tsapok's brother was the motive behind the massacre at Akhmetov's house. Sergei Tsapok, as he planned the murder, was guided by the false motive of revenge, assuming that Akhmetov had killed his relative, the investigators said.
Aside from Tsapok, the defendants are his uncle Nikolai Tsapok, and Vladimir Alexeyev, Igor Chernykh, Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz and Vladimir Zaporozhets.
According to the investigators, each gang member had committed three to 20 serious and very serious crimes. They were charged with participation in a gang, murders, attempted murders, rapes, robberies, illegal deprivation of freedom, malicious destruction or damage to property and illegal keeping of firearms.
The case materials comprise 477 volumes. The investigators carried out more than 2,000 questionings and 600 expert examinations.
During preliminary investigation, two suspected gang members – Sergei Karpenko and Vitaly Ivanov – committed suicide in remand prison. Andrei Bykov and Vyacheslav Ryabstev have already been sentenced to 20 years in prison each. Sergei Tsepovyaz, found guilty of concealing the crime, was fined 150,000 roubles.