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© RIA Novosti. Sergey Pivovarov

Kushchevskaya murder case reaches court

by at 23/07/2012 18:14

A court in the southern Krasnodar region is preparing to hear a case against six members of a criminal gang accused, among other things, of the gruesome massacre of 12 people in November 2010.

Investigators announced on Monday that a probe into the gang’s activities had been completed and sent to the regional court. A date for the hearings has not yet been set.

The gang’s leader, Sergei Tsapok, has been charged with committing 18 murders and could face a life sentence if found guilty.

The gang will also be charged for armed assault, illegal possession of weapons, rape and damage to private property, the Investigative Committee said on its website.

The other gang members to go on trial are Vyacheslav Tsepovyaz, Vladimir Alexeyev, Igor Chernykh, Vladimir Zaporozhets and Nikolai Tsapok.

Two more gang members killed themselves before the trial.

Several people have already been found guilty for their roles in the massacre of 12 people, including four children, in a farm house in the village of Kushchevskaya.

Yevgeni Gurov, Tsapok’s accomplice, was found not guilty of the murder, but sentenced to 12 years for damage to private property and possession of large quantities of illegal drugs.

Two more members, Andrei Bykov and Vyacheslav Ryabtsev, have already been sentenced to 20 years in prison each.

Another, Sergei Tsepovyaz, who was accused of covering up the massacre, was fined 150,000 rubles ($4,600).

The gang is thought to have been operational in Krasnodar region since 1995. Case materials say that most of the murders were committed in revenge for the murder of former gang leader, Nikolai Tsapok, in 2002 by an unknown killer. Sergei, his younger brother, took his place as head of the gang.

The court judged that the gang went to Kushchevskaya to demand a confession from the owner of the farm house, Serever Ametov, for the murder of their leader. When he did not confess, they murdered everyone in the house and put the knife in Ametov’s hand to make it look like he committed the murders and then killed himself. Afterward the gang set the house on fire to cover up their crime.

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