Three Sisters Facing Murder Charges For Killing Their Father In Moscow
Three sisters from Moscow are facing murder charges for killing their father, who inflicted years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse upon them.
In July 2018, Mikhail Khachaturyan was found dead on an apartment block staircase. That night, his daughters Krestina, 19, Angelina, 18, and Maria, 17, had retaliated after he pepper-sprayed and punished them for an untidy home. According to investigators’ reports, they attacked their dad with a knife, hammer and also pepper spray.
The sisters were arrested the following day, CNN reports. While confessing to the killing, they also told authorities of the abuse they’d suffered for at least four years prior to Mikhail’s death.
Leaked interrogation transcripts also reportedly detailed how the sisters inflicted wounds upon themselves prior to attacking their father, who was sleeping at the time, to make it look more like self-defence.
Last year, following the announcement of murder charges against the trio, their case has become an illustration for a law, shelved by the Russian parliament in 2016, which protects victims of domestic abuse.
Krestina and Angelina will stand trial in a Moscow courtroom today, July 31. As for Maria, one of the sisters’ lawyers Aleksey Liptser explained, while she was a minor at the time of the attack, she was indicted after turning 18, and has since been deemed mentally unfit to commit a murder. Therefore, she’ll stand trial separately.
In text messages Mikhail sent to the sisters, he apparently threatened to kill them and abuse their mother. One message from 2018 reportedly read: ‘I will beat you up for everything, I will kill you. You are prostitutes and you will die as prostitutes.’
Another of the lawyers, Aleksey Parshin, added:
We think that they had no other choice. The father drove the girls to despair, their whole life was a continuous hell. They cannot be compared to healthy, calm and balanced people … [the] girls developed serious mental illnesses, including abuse syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. This was confirmed by all examinations in the case.
The prosecutor’s office had initially accepted the defence’s claims had suffered ‘beating, constant humiliation, threats and abuse, physical and sexual violence’, and therefore developed a ‘defensive reaction’. At this point, the Investigative Committee was re-ordered to reclassify the case from premeditated murder to necessary self-defence.
However, while Parshin noted this ‘essentially means the end of a criminal investigation’, prosecutor Viktor Grin confirmed in May this year that premeditated murder charges were still being raised against the sisters.
According to a 2019 investigation by Russian outlet Media Zona, nearly 80% of Russian women imprisoned for premeditated murder in 2016–2018 had been trying to protect themselves from an abuser.
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