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'Chess Killer' to be sentenced

  • Story Highlights
  • Alexander Pichushkin is found guilty of murdering 48 people in Moscow
  • Said he wanted to record a killing for each of the 64 squares on a chessboard
  • Killer tells court: 'Having caught me, they saved many lives'
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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- A Russian serial murderer dubbed the "Chessboard Killer" was expected to be sentenced to life in prison Monday after being convicted of 48 murders in six years.

A Moscow jury convicted Alexander Pichushkin last week. Prosecutors have asked for the maximum sentence -- life imprisonment -- with the first 15 years to be spent in isolation.

Though convicted of 48 murders, Pichushkin claimed to have committed 63. Throughout his trial, Pichushkin gloated over his crimes and ridiculed the police case against him.

"I was dismayed my work had been attributed to others," Pichushkin said. "In one week, I killed two people. If they hadn't caught me, I would have never stopped. Having caught me, they saved many lives."

For years until his arrest in June 2006, Pichushkin terrorized Moscow, stalking the heavily forested Bitsa Park on Moscow's southern outskirts and preying on the homeless and elderly. Pichushkin claimed to have committed all but one of his murders in the park.

He lured his victims with the promise of alcohol, and after getting them drunk on vodka, he beat them to death and dumped their bodies in the park.

Russian news media dubbed Pichushkin the "Bitsa Maniac," but he has also been called the "Chessboard Killer" for saying he wanted to kill one person for each of the 64 squares on a chessboard.

Over the years, Russian police recovered dozens of corpses, some with sticks and vodka bottles rammed into their skulls.

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But the crucial lead came in 2005, when a woman he had worked with at a vegetable store was found dead. She had left a note at her home saying she was going for a walk with Pichushkin.

Pichushkin said he had been aware of the note but killed her anyway. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN Correspondent Matthew Chance contributed to this report.

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