And throw away the key! - 'chessboard killer' gets life

Russia's notorious chessboard killer has been given a life sentence for butchering 48 people and attempting to slaughter three others. The judge has also ruled that Aleksandr Pichushkin undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment.

The sentence was greeted with anger by some relatives of Pichushkin's victims.

A mother of one of the murdered men regretted that the killer could not be executed.

“What penalty would a mother of a victim demand for the murderer? The death penalty, of course, but there is no death sentence in Russia,” she said.

And she's not alone in her thinking. Many Russians have called for Pichushkin to be executed. But there's been a moratorium on the death penalty since 1996.
The murderer's lack of remorse in court complicated the job of his state-appointed defence team.  Pichushkin proudly claimed he murdered 60 people.
One of his lawyers had asked for a 25-year sentence while the other recommended a life sentence without psychiatric treatment.
The court's decision to impose compulsory mental treatment on Pichushkin comes despite a ruling by doctors that he was sane enough to stand trial for his crimes.

Catalogue of evil
Most of the murders were committed between 2001 and 2006.

Pichushkin, 33, was arrested last year after a murder spree in the densely wooded Bitsevsky Park in southern Moscow.

The former grocery store porter was branded the 'chessboard killer' because of his plan to kill 64 people, the same number as there are squares on a chessboard.

He would lure people he'd befriended into drinking sessions that often ended with them being drowned in a sewer or pounded to death with a hammer.  He said he never robbed those he killed, as he was only interested in taking human life.

He said he felt like God, deciding who would live and who would die.

To read Aleksandr Pichushkin's last statement in court, please follow this link.

The courtroom ordeal of the victim's families may not be over yet.  Pichushkin can still appeal against his sentence.