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Jury passes guilty verdict for Primorye territory gang accused of murders, robberies

February 04, 2014, 12:47 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK

Jurors also found gang members guilty of participation in an organized criminal group

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© ITAR-TASS/Yury Smityuk

VLADIVOSTOK, February 04. /ITAR-TASS/. A jury has unanimously passed a guilty verdict in the case against six gunmen accused of three murders and three attempted murders of law-enforcement personnel, thefts and robberies in the Primorye Territory.

The jurors also found them guilty of participation in an organized criminal group. However, the jurors said the prosecutors had not proven the defendants' involvement in several thefts, robbery and arson of the police office in the village of Varfolomeyevka in 2010.

Earlier, two of the defendants - Vadim Kovtun and Alexei Nikitin - pleaded not guilty to all the charges, while the others partially admitted their guilt.

Long case

The case came to the Primorye regional court back in June 2011, but it was unable to form a jury for a long time because candidates did not turn up for selection.

At one point, three volumes of the criminal case were found missing. They contained procedural documents which investigators acknowledged as evidence. It took the court several hours to restore the missing materials.

There are six persons in the prisoner's dock: Alexander Kovtun, Vadim Kovtun, Roman Savchenko, Maxim Kirillov, Vladimir Ilyutikov and Alexei Nikitin.

They were charged with three murders and there assassination attempts on the lives of law-enforcement personnel. They were also accused of banditry, robbery, thefts, car thefts and illegal firearms possession.

Capturing criminals

The investigators said gang members committed several thefts and attacks in small settlements of the Primorye Territory in the spring of 2010. They stole cars, money and hunting rifles. The prosecutors said the gang had attacked policemen several times, killing two and wounding several others.

Regional authorities launched a sweeping manhunt. The gang's whereabouts were established on June 11, 2011. The gunmen offered armed resistance wounding two policemen. Two gunmen committed suicide as police were storming the gang's hideout.

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