MOSCOW, March 20 (Itar-Tass) – Chechnya native Yusup Temerkhanov, accused of murdering former Colonel Yuri Budanov, pleaded not guilty at the new trial of his case at the Moscow City Court on Wednesday.
Three jurors quit at the beginning but judge Andrei Korotkov ordered to continue the hearing. The prosecutor then read the indictment.
According to the prosecutor, three unidentified servicemen killed the defendant’s father in Chechnya in February 2000, and burnt his cafe and car. The murder kindled Temerkhanov's hate toward servicemen and participants in operations in Chechnya. "He decided to commit the murder as Budanov was a major representative of the group of servicemen which Temerkhanov hated," the prosecutor said.
The first trial was held amidst allegations by the defendant's lawyer about police putting pressure on witnesses. Meanwhile, the Investigative Committee opened a case over bribing a witness for the defense. Two witnesses at a hearing had failed to identify Temerkhanov as the killer.
Temirkhanov, 40, is accused of hate murder and strife against a social group, and illegal acquisition, keeping and carrying of firearm.
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.
"Temerkhanov and his two accomplices had been tailing Budanov," the investigators said. Temerkhanov arrived in Komsomolsky Avenue on June 10, 2011, parked his car, evaluated the situation and decided to assassinate Budanov at that location. He got out of the car and shot Budanov at least eight times, whereupon he fled.
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 defendant's lawyer Murad Musayev said called the investigator's arguments "nonsense." "It follows from this sick logic that the defendant's father was killed in February 2000, that Temerkhanov decided to take revenge in 2004, and that he took action in 2011. I believe it is utter nonsense," the lawyer said.
The defendant did not address the jurors. He plans to make statements at the final stage.
The next hearing is due on March 25. Prior to that, the court will consider a number of petitions related to the permissibility of evidence, lodged by the defense.
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 seeking to arraign him for other crimes committed during his participation in the anti-terrorist operation.
Criminal proceedings against Temerkhanov's accomplice made a separate case.