The Serial Killer Sergei Ryakhovsky

At least nineteen people died at the hands of a skilled serial killer in Moscow between 1988 and 1993. His name was Sergei Ryakhovsky, and he would eventually be caught, tried, and convicted for his crimes. He was slammed with a life sentence for the string of murders, and died of untreated tuberculosis at the age of 42 while he was serving his time. Some would say it wasn’t nearly enough of a punishment for what he did, and others would agree.

He was likely addicted to the adrenaline rush provided by sexual encounters, himself claiming “an irresistible desire for intimacy with a woman.” Age was apparently just a number for Ryakhovsky, as he repeatedly tried to rape elderly women before he was sent to prison for four years after a “hooliganism” conviction. It’s sort of a light charge for attempted rape, as hooliganism is more of a catch-all in Russia and other parts of the world for immoral behavior that most don’t approve of. While technically accurate, hooliganism is not a stiff charge.

Ryakhovsky discovered his love for killing in 1988, when he murdered a gay man on the outskirts of Moscow. He went on a quick killing spree that same year, killing three more gay men. When asked why, he suggested that he wanted to cleanse society of homosexual abominations and prostitutes.

It turned out that it wasn’t so important who they were.

He murdered men, elderly women, and teenagers before he was caught–and they’re just the ones we know about for certain. The murders became progressively more brutal as time went on. Most of his killing was done by stabbing, but he also liked to strangle victims to death with just his bare hands. Sometimes he used a bit of rope. He mutilated many of their bodies, sometimes performing sexual acts on the corpses to gratify himself. Mostly the mutilation involved the genitalia of the victims.

He started mutilating victims in other ways toward the end of his run. One elderly man was decapitated and had his leg cut off the next day. An elderly woman was eviscerated with some sort of firework or other pyrotechnic device. His second-to-last victim was only sixteen years old, but Ryakhovsky wasn’t any nicer to children. He hanged the young boy, then disemboweled and decapitated him.

When detectives were examining one of the crime scenes, they came upon a shack. Inside the shack was an unused noose. They decided that the killer must be readying another victim for hanging, and so they lay in wait. When Ryakhovsky stumbled into the shack, they arrested him. When asked why he did not resist, he suggested that he was afraid of their weapons. That’s the mind of a killer for you.

While he initially confessed to the murders and explained in grisly detail, he was eventually diagnosed with a biological malfunction that led to his necrophiliac impulses. Even so, he was deemed competent to stand trial, and went on to do so. He discovered his recent diagnosis at this time, and stopped cooperating with the legal system. He recanted his previous confessions, but at this point it didn’t matter.

He was to die by firing squad after being sentenced to death in 1995, but Russia began the process of ending the death penalty before it was carried out. Instead, this cold-blooded killer received life in prison.