Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo (Андре́й Рома́нович Чикати́ло) (October 16, 1936 - February 14, 1994) was a Soviet serial killer. He was convicted of the murder and rape of fifty-two people between 1978 and 1990.
Chikatilo was born in a Ukrainian village, Yablochnoye. He did well at school but failed the entrance exam for Moscow State University. After finishing national service in 1960 he moved to Rodionovo-Nesvetayevsky and worked as a telephone engineer. In 1963 he married and he and his wife had two children. In 1971 he completed a degree in literature by a correspondence course and tried a career as a teacher in Novoshakhtinsk . He was a poor teacher but remained in that profession, moving from school to school as complaints of indecent assaults dogged him.
In 1978 he moved to Shakhty and committed his first serious crime. On December 22, 1978 he raped and murdered a nine-year-old girl. Despite evidence linking Chikatilo to the death, a young man, Alexsandr Kravchenko, was arrested and later tried and executed for the crime. Chikatilo lost his teaching job in 1981 and became a clerk at a local firm.
He did not murder again until 1982, but in that year he killed seven times. He established a pattern of approaching runaways and young vagrants at bus or railway stations and enticing them to leave. A quick trip into a nearby forest was the scene for the victim's death. In 1983 he did not kill until June, but then he murdered four victims before September.
Six bodies (out of fourteen) had been uncovered and this brought a response from the Moscow police. A team headed by Major Mikhail Fetisov was sent to Rostov to direct the investigation. Fesitov centred the investigations around Shakhty and assigned a specialist forensic analyst, Victor Burakov , to head the investigation in that area. The investigation concentrated on the mentally disturbed and known sexual criminals, slowly working through all that were known and eliminating them from the inquiry. The police spread their search wider and wider. Over 150,000 people were interviewed and filed before this approach was abandoned. In 1984 another fifteen murders took place. The police took to additional patrols and sited plain-clothes men at many public transport stops.
Chikatilo was identified behaving suspiciously at Rostov bus station. He was arrested and held. It was found he was under suspicion for other crimes, which gave the investigators the legal right to hold him indefinitely. Chikatilo's dubious background was uncovered but provided insufficient evidence to convict him of the murders. He was found guilty on other matters and sentenced to one year in prison. He was freed in December 1984 after serving three months.
Chikatilo found new work in Novocherkassk and kept a low profile. He did not kill again until August, 1985, when he murdered two women in separate incidents. He is not known to have killed again until May 1987 when, on a business trip to Revda in Ukraine, he killed a young boy. He killed again in Zaporozhye in July and in Leningrad in September.
The moribund police investigation was revived in mid-1985 when Issa Kostoyev was appointed to take over the case. The known murders around Rostov were carefully re-investigated and there was another round of questioning of known sexual criminals. In December, 1985 the police renewed the patrolling of railway stations around Rostov. Chikatilo followed the investigation carefully and for over two years he kept his desires under control.
In 1988 Chikatilo resumed his killing, generally keeping his activities far from the Rostov area. He murdered a woman in Krasny-Sulin in April and went on to kill another eight people that year, including two victims in Shakhty . Again there was a long lapse before Chikatilo resumed killing, murdering seven boys and two women between January and November of 1990. The discovery of one of the bodies near Leskhoz station led to increased police patrols. On November 6 Chikatilo killed and mutilated Sveta Korostik. He was stopped by police returning from the woodland crime but allowed to go. But the report of the suspicious character returned Chikatilo's name to the investigation. On November 20, 1990, after police further observed his suspicious behaviour, he was arrested. Between November 30 and December 5 Chikatilo confessed to and described fifty-three rapes and murders.
He went to trial on April 14, 1992. Despite his odd and disruptive behaviour in court he was judged fit to stand trial. The trial ended in July and sentencing was postponed until October 15 when he was found guilty of 52 of the 53 murders and sentenced to death for each offence. He was executed by a shot in the back of the head on February 14, 1994.