For almost twenty years, the ‘Rostov Butcher’ roped at ease in the former Soviet Union and became the worst serial killer in the country.
Andréi Chikatilo's case began with one of the stories her mother told her when she was a child. Her older brother Stephan was kidnapped by some peasants who skinned her and ended up eating her. It was not an isolated event, since at that time - the decade of the 1930s in Ukraine - the kidnapping and murder of young people along with cannibalism, was the most common due to lack of food. That bloody tale generated in Andrei a continuous fear of suffering the same harm as his brother. Although over the years this fear became a need to enjoy the pain of others.
These were tragic times when war raged and millions of people died. The memory of the sight of the corpses piled up in his small hometown, Yablochnoye (Ukraine), marked the mentality of this ruthless criminal. After all, for years he lived with death, among macabre legends and admiring unfounded violence. The complexes that haunted him also contributed to awakening the murderer within. In his time as a student, he was marked with harassment by his classmates, who constantly humiliated him. All this harassment was undermining his dignity, increasing his shyness towards women, and, therefore, reducing his possible sexual experiences. Some testimonies suggest that his first ejaculation was not during sex, but after hugging a girl for a few seconds. When word of what had happened spread, everyone began to mock him. It is believed that that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Despite this fact, it did not prevent him from marrying an old friend of his sister's. During their marriage, he was a hard-working, educated, calm, calm, and loving man.
As he got older and passed his studies - he graduated in Russian language and literature, in engineering and Marxism-Leninism - his attraction to minors, mainly under twelve years of age, grew.
The winter of 1978 arrived and with it, the first crimes were unleashed. The chain of murders began with a nine-year-old girl whom Chikatilo persuaded to accompany him to a cabin on the outskirts of the city. The little girl agreed without hesitation, given the affable nature of the teacher. Once inside, he began to undress her savagely.
During the struggle, the girl injured her arm, and, seeing the blood, Andrei had an erection. This startling excitement made him want to kill the girl. She picked up a knife and with each stab she delivered she felt like she could reach orgasm. And so it was: thanks to that murder, he was able to ejaculate as he had not done in years. He had just realized that the pain of others allowed him to achieve his pleasure.
The second crime was committed on September 3, 1981. The victim was a seventeen-year-old prostitute with whom he wanted to have sexual relations. His impotence prevented it and, before the girl's disdain, he went mad and performed the following ritual: first, he strangled her to death and then he masturbated until he ejaculated on her corpse; then he decided to bite her throat as if it were an animal, took out a knife and stabbed her; later, he cut off her breasts and ate her nipples; and finally, she "signed" this new murder again, gouging out her eyes.
If until that moment he left a reasonable time between crime and crime so as not to arouse suspicion, from 1984 - the year in which he murdered fifteen people - this caution was giving ground to his macabre wishes. Over the next twelve years, Chikatilo murdered fifty-three people after carefully choosing his victims at the train and bus stations in the town of Rostov. Hence his nickname: the 'Butcher of Rostov'.
He remained unsuspecting until he was arrested after offering oral sex to a prostitute. That slip caused the police to search his belongings. They found a jar of Vaseline, a kitchen knife, a rope, and a towel, but their blood did not match that found at the crime scenes. Andrei's blood group was A and the murderer's AB. Thanks to subsequent investigations, it was learned that this criminal had a different blood group in blood and semen, something unusual but that occurs in a small percentage of cases. They released him although he was imprisoned again for three months for abusing minors.
Almost a year passed before, in 1985, he killed again. And he continued to do so until on November 5, 1990, he murdered his last victim in the town of Leskhoz. Six hundred people became part of the operation to search and capture this serial killer.
Fifteen days later, Chikatilo was arrested at the station in the town. One of the officers noticed that he had a bandaged finger and that his shirt and cheek were stained with blood.
It took them ten days to get Andrei to speak. They were very hard interrogations in which they besieged him to exhaustion so that he collapsed. Finally and after multiple attempts, they chose to use a psychiatrist. It took two hours for the suspect to agree to confess if they stopped harassing him.
In April 1992 the trial began to show whether Chikatilo had committed the crimes under the influence of mental illness or if he was completely sane. The line of investigation and the relevant statements demonstrated what the authorities already knew, that the ‘Butcher of Rostov’ enjoyed planning and inflicting pain and death on his victims.
The sentence came two months later when he was found guilty of fifty-three murders and five rapes. He was sentenced to the death penalty. Although they appealed to avoid the execution of the prisoner, it occurred on February 15, 1994. Andréi Chikatilo died of a shot to the head. Now 25 years have passed since his execution.