Alexander Yuryevich Pichushkin, also known as The Chessboard Killer and the Bista Park Maniac, is a Russian serial killer who is believed to have killed between 50-60 people. He endured a tough childhood and even though Pichushkin was once a sociable child, he changed after he suffered massive brain damage at an early age. He also used to face bullying during his school days, which only worsened his mental state. Later, his grandfather discovered that he was highly intelligent and taught him how to play chess. He soon became an exceptional chess player, often defeating competitors much older than he was. Meanwhile, the young boy was also experiencing violent urges that prompted him to harm others. His first murder was committed in 1992, when he was still a student. He killed prolifically over the next decade and also began competing with another serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo. He mostly targeted homeless elderly men, luring them with offers of free vodka. After his arrest, he was found guilty of 49 murders and three attempted murders. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Alexander Pichushkin committed his first murder in 1992, when he pushed a child out of the window. Later, he said that just like his first love, his first murder was also unforgettable.
In the early 2000s, he began murdering again. He started killing people in Moscow’s Bittsevsky Park. He used to target the elderly and the destitute, by luring them with offers of free vodka to drink at his dead dog’s grave. He used to repeatedly hit his victims’ heads with a hammer. He would also push a vodka bottle into the gaping wound in their skulls, which became his trademark. Often, in order to conceal the bodies, he threw his victims into a sewer, some while they were still alive.
His targets also included younger men and women. Later he claimed that killing his victims made him feel like God since he could decide whether they would live or not. His brutality increased as time progressed and his confidence grew. He eventually left the bodies in the open to be discovered, and also left broken vodka bottles sticking out of the skulls of some of his victims.
During the spring of 2006, he killed Marina Moskalyova, who would be his last victim. Her body was found with a metro ticket in its possession, which led authorities to review surveillance tapes from the Moscow metro system. She was seen walking on the platform along with Pichushkin.
He was arrested on 16th June 2006, and was eventually convicted in October the following year. He was found guilty of 49 murders and three attempted murders. However, he confessed to have killed eleven more.
He was housed in a glass cage during his trial for his own protection. Judge Vladimir Usov sentenced him to life imprisonment with 15 years in solitary confinement. During his confession, which was aired on television, he claimed that his need to kill was similar to other people’s need for food.
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Alexander Pichushkin was born on 9th April 1974 in Moscow. His parents divorced when he was quite young and he grew up without a father figure to guide him. His childhood was a difficult and troubled one. At an early age, he suffered a head injury and brain damage. He was then transferred from a mainstream school to a school for the disabled, as he was being bullied. Later it was found that this injury had damaged a significant part of his brain which led to tendencies of aggression.
Pichushkin was quite close to his maternal grandfather who recognized his intelligence and introduced him to chess. He became an exceptional player and found a way to channel his aggression by dominating the chessboard. The death of his beloved grandfather affected him deeply and he became aggressive and violent towards others soon after.