Russian ex-policeman convicted of killing 77 women

Russian ex-policeman convicted of killing 77 women”

Popkov was caught in 2012 after a DNA match identified his auto.

Popkov would kill his victims with axes, knives, screwdrivers or blunt weapons after offering them rides home late at night while wearing his uniform, sometimes in his police auto.

His victims were all women between the ages of 16 and 40 apart from one male, a policeman, the BBC reported.

Investigators questioned 2,000 people and conducted more than 2,500 DNA tests, which led them to Popkov in June 2012.

At least 10 of his victims were also raped.

The number of killings for which Mikhail Popkov has been convicted exceeds the total of several notorious murderers in Russian Federation and the ex-Soviet Union.

He was arrested in 2012 during a re-examination of cold case evidence, which included DNA testing all people known to drive a specific type of auto whose tracks were found at the murder scenes. Later, he used to dump their mutilated bodies in forests, by the roadside and in a local cemetery.

As a police officer, Popkov would have had knowledge of forensic practices.

He reportedly told the media a year ago he targeted women who were drunk or who he viewed as immoral.

He was arrested en route to Vladivostok, in the far east, where he had gone to buy a new auto.

He surpases the "Chessboard Killer" Alexander Pichushkin, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for 48 murders, and also Andrei Chikatilo who was convicted of 52 murders during the Soviet era.

Mikhail Popkov, who is already serving life in prison for killing 22 women, was found guilty of the murders, which took place between 1994 and 2000.

The first killings happened in the early 1990s when women as young as 15 began disappearing while they were out at night in the town of Angarsk.

The court in the Siberian city of Irkutsk found Mikhail Popkov "guilty of killing 56 people between 1992 and 2007", Irkutsk regional prosecutor's office said in a statement.

According to state prosecutor Alexander Shkinev, Popkov intends to appeal his latest conviction.

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