Alexander Yuryevich "Sasha" Pichushkin (Russian, born 9 April 1974 in Mytishchi, Moscow Oblast), also known as The Chessboard Killer and The Bitsa Park Maniac, is a Russian serial killer known to have murdered at least 48 people. He is believed to have killed up to 61-63 people in southwest Moscow"s Bitsa Park, where several of the victims" bodies were found.
In 1992, Alexander Pichushkin committed his first murder as a student and escalated his crimes in 2001. Russian media believe that Pichushkin may have been motivated by a twisted competition with Russia"s most notorious serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, who was convicted in 1992 of killing 52 children and young women in a 12-year killing spree. Pichushkin said he aimed to kill 64 people, the number of squares on a chessboard. He later recanted this statement, saying that he would have continued killing indefinitely if he had not been stopped.
Alexander Pichushkin primarily targeted elderly homeless men by luring them with vodka. After drinking with them, he would kill them by hitting them on the head with a hammer. He then stuck vodka bottles in their skulls to ensure that they did not survive the ordeal. He also targeted women, both young and old. He would always attack from behind to avoid spilling blood on his clothes. He claimed that while killing people, he felt like God as he decided whether his victims should live or die, in which they would die. "For me, life without killing is like life without food for you" he once said. "I felt like the father of all these people since it was I who opened the door for them to another world." Experts at the Serbsky Institute, Russia"s main psychiatric clinic, have found Pichushkin uncurable.
According to the documentary, "Serial Killers," Pichushkin, once apprehended, led police officers to the scenes of many of his crimes in Bitsa Park. He demonstrated a keen recollection of how the murders were committed, often acting them out in great detail, which has been committed to film. He also revealed that a number of the murders he committed were not done in his preferred method (hammer blows to the back of the head), but by throwing his victims down into the sewers underneath Bitsa Park (although one of his victims did survive the ordeal).
His last victim was the murder of Marina Moskalyova, 36, in the summer of 2006. A metro ticket was found in her possession at the time her body was found. Authorities used this to view the last footage of her alive from surveillance tapes of the Moscow metro system. She was walking on the platform accompanied by Pichushkin thus linking him to the crime.
On June 15, 2006, he was arrested then convicted on 24 October 2007 of 49 murders and three attempted murders. He asked a Russian court to add an additional 11 victims to his body count, bringing his claimed death toll to 60 and 3 surviving victims. During the trial, Pichushkin was housed in a glass cage. Judge Vladimir Usov took one hour to read the verdict: life in prison for the first 15 years to be spent in solitary confinement. Capital punishment in Russia has been abolished due to a moratorium established in 1996.