Denis Yevsyukov, the former police major accused of going on a shooting rampage in a Moscow supermarket in April, told a court Monday that he partially admitted to the charges, but he did not elaborate.
Yevsyukov, speaking on the first day of his trial in the Moscow City Court, is charged with two counts of murder and 22 counts of attempted murder in connection with a shooting spree in the Ostrov supermarket in southern Moscow in the early morning hours of April 27.
Guarded by a team of four police officers, Yevsyukov paid scant attention to the court proceedings from the defendant’s cage, taking notes and speaking occasionally to his lawyer, Yelena Bushuyeva.
He appeared relaxed and calm as one witness, Anton Kondakov, 23, recalled watching Yevsyukov unload his gun into late-night shoppers.
“He was sure of himself as he was firing,” Kondakov said.
Yevsyukov shot and injured Kondakov and his girlfriend, Yelena Samorodova, as he passed them on his way into the supermarket, prosecutors say.
The rampage started after Yevsyukov, the former head of the Tsaritsyno police precinct in southern Moscow, quarreled with his wife at his 32nd birthday party and hailed a gypsy taxi cab to the supermarket. He is accused of killing the cab driver and a female cashier in the supermarket. He was overwhelmed by a police patrol.
While Yevsyukov’s actions in the supermarket were documented by supermarket surveillance cameras, the circumstances surrounding the taxi driver’s death are murky, said Igor Trunov, a lawyer representing several people injured in the attack. “What happened inside the car is still like a blank paper for us,” he told reporters after the hearing.
In the courtroom, Yevsyukov’s lawyer Bushuyeva questioned the strength of the evidence proving the defendant’s guilt in the killing of the taxi driver, Sergei Yevteyev. Bushuyeva asked the driver’s sister Yelena to confirm that her brother had served seven years in prison for robbery during Soviet times.
The head judge, Dmitry Fomin, said Yevteyev’s robbery conviction was not part of Yevsyukov’s trial, but Trunov suggested that Bushuyeva might try to convince the court that the gun used in the shooting rampage belonged to Yevteyev, not Yevsyukov. Such a finding would force prosecutors to drop some of the charges against Yevsyukov.
Trunov said investigators had been unable to find Yevsyukov’s fingerprints inside Yevteyev’s car and on the murder weapon, a 9-millimeter Makarov pistol. He accused Yevsyukov of wiping off his fingerprints to destroy evidence.
Bushuyeva told Interfax that former Moscow police chief Vladimir Pronin would be among the defense’s witnesses. President Dmitry Medvedev fired Pronin in connection with the shooting spree.
Trunov has called Yevsyukov a protege of Pronin and said Pronin was a friend of Yevsyukov’s father, also a former senior police officer. Pronin has denied knowing Yevsyukov or his father personally and sued Trunov for slander.
A verdict in Yevsyukov’s trial is expected in March. He faces life in prison.