MOSCOW, January 10 (Itar-Tass) — A witness in the case over the murder of former Colonel Yuri Budanov failed to identify the suspected killer at a hearing on Thursday. Witness for the defense Ruslan Fataliyev told the jury he had been busy repairing the cellar of the notary's office near which Budanov was gunned down. The witness said he was coming out into the street at the moment of murder and saw a man in sportswear running toward a car. "I saw him for a minute, maximum a minute and a half," Fataliyev said. When asked by lawyer Murad Musayev if he recognized defendant Temerkhanov as the killer, the witness responded: No, I don't. The killer was shorter and of more athletic build.
On Thursday, the court planned to question a second witness, nicknamed "Alan" for security reasons, who earlier had identified Temerkhanov, but "Alan" did not turn up at the hearing. The court denied the petition to disclose the witness's name and a judge said he was hoping "Alan" would come to testify of his own accord.
The case is being tried by a jury.
Chechnya native Yusup Temerkhanov, 40, is accused of hate murder and strife against a social group, and illegal acquisition, keeping and carrying of firearm.
Temerkhanov earlier disagreed with the indictment.
"The main falsehood in the case is the claim that my client murdered Budanov," his lawyer said.
During preliminary investigation, the defendant refused to answer the investigator’s questions, saying he would only testify at the trial.
Yuri Budanov, 47, was shot and killed in central Moscow at noon on June 10, 2011, as he was leaving a notary's office in Komsomolsky Prospekt (Avenue). An unidentified attacker fired eight shots at him. The white Mitsubishi Lancer in which he fled was later found in a nearby district in Dovatora Street. Police found a pistol with a silencer in the car.
Investigators said two unidentified persons had assisted Temerkhanov. They had tailed Budanov, but it was Temerkhanov who finally decided to murder the former Colonel.
One of the initial leads was that Budanov had been killed because of revenge.
After killing Budanov, Temerkhanov set the car on fire, thinking that the fire would destroy all the evidence of his involvement in the crime.
"However, the fire was extinguished on time. The investigators found and retrieved many items, including those that helped them ascertain the suspect's identity through DNA tests," an Investigative Committee /SK/ spokesman said earlier.
The Investigative Committee said "Temerkhanov, after the murder of his father in Chechnya in 2000, decided to kill the serviceman who he believed had been involved. He chose Budanov, former commander of the 160th tank regiment well-known to the public in connection with the murder of a Chechen girl in 2000 and his subsequent trial."
In 2003, Budanov was sentenced to ten years in jail on charges of kidnapping and murdering Chechen woman Elza Kungayeva in the village of Tangi-Chu in March 2000. The North Caucasus district military court stripped him of his rank of Colonel and state decorations. A court denied his parole plea four times. On December 24, 2008, the Dimitrovgrad district court granted him parole. Chechnya said it would be seek to arraign him for other crimes committed during his participation in the anti-terrorist operation.