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MOSCOW, February 20, /ITAR-TASS/. - Moscow City Court on Wednesday sentenced Belarusian citizen Stepan Goncharik to 20 years in jail for the murder of his wife and stepdaughter. The sentence was handed down on the strength of jury verdict.
Jurors had said Goncharik did not deserve clemency.
Goncharik was Yevgenia Silina's husband. He was arrested on January 13. During a questioning he confessed to the murder of Yevgenia Silina in June 2010, and the murder of her 16-year-old daughter Yekaterina in January 2011.
Criminal proceedings were opened after Yekaterina Silina's uncle reported the disappearance of his niece and sister.
Yekaterina Silina was a student at Moscow University's department of journalism working for the REX information agency.
According to the verdict, Goncharik will spend the first ten years in prison, and the remaining ten years in a maximum security penitentiary.
Goncharik will also pay six million roubles in damages to the injured parties as the court met their damages claims.
The investigator said Goncharik had prepared the murder for six months in order to come in possession of his wife's Moscow apartment.
In 2008, he married Yevgenia Silina who was living with her daughter Yekaterina. "Assuming that he was the sole heir, he decided to take the apartment belonging to the women, feigning their disappearance," the Investigative Committee said.
He initially planned double murder overnight to June 20, 2010. To secure his alibi, he purchased train tickets to St Petersburg on the same day for his wife and stepdaughter. However, his plan misfired as Yekaterina did not come home on that day.
Goncharik killed his wife by strangling her. He hid the body in a forest. In January 2011, he killed his stepdaughter.
More than 50 expert examinations were carried out within the probe. Goncharik was found sane.