|“||Death for me is nothing. Naturally, I would prefer the death penalty. I have absolutely no interest in relations with people. If I am ever let out, I will start killing again, but this time, it will be worse, ten times worse. Seize this chance, because I am groomed to serve Satan.||„|
|~ Anatoly Onoprienko|
Anatoly Yuryovych Onoprienko (July 25, 1959 – August 27, 2013) was a Ukrainian serial mass murderer. He was also known by the nicknames The Beast of Ukraine, The Terminator, and Citizen O. After police arrested the 36-year-old former forestry student on April 16, 1996, Onoprienko confessed to killing 52 people.
Anatoly Onoprienko was the youngest of two sons; his brother, Valentine, was 13 years his senior. His father, Yuri Onoprienko, was decorated for bravery during the Second World War. When Anatoly was 4 years old, his mother died. He was cared for by his grandparents and aunt for a time before being handed over to an orphanage in the village of Privitnoe. In one interview, Onoprienko later said that this predetermined his destiny - and remarked that 70% of those who are brought up in orphanages end up going to prison in later life.
When finally arrested by police, Onoprienko was found to be in possession of a hunting rifle and a number of other weapons, which matched the murder weapons used in several of the killings, together with a number of items which had been removed from murder victims. While in custody he eventually confessed to eight killings between 1989 to 1995. At first, he denied other charges, but ultimately confessed to the killing of 52 innocent victims over a six-year period. While in custody, he claimed that he killed in response to commands he was given by inner voices.
The killings followed a set pattern. He chose an isolated house, gained the attention of the occupants by creating a commotion. He would then kill all occupants starting with the adult male, before going to find and kill the spouse and finally the children. He would then usually set the buildings alight in an attempt to cover his tracks. He would also kill any witness unlucky enough to cross his path during his murderous rampages. The first to die were a family of four in Bratkovychi. Another family of five and two witnesses were killed not long after in the same village. When police imposed a security cordon around Bratkovychi, he then moved to other villages to continue killing.
In March 1996, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and Public Prosecutor's Office specialists detained 26-year-old Yury Mozola as a suspect of several brutal murders. Over the course of three days, six SBU members and one representative of Public Prosecutor's Office tortured (burning, electric shocking and beating) the arrested citizen. Mozola refused to confess to the crimes and died during the torture. Seven responsible for the death were sentenced to prison terms.
Seventeen days later, the real murderer, Anatoly Onoprienko, was found after a massive manhunt, seven years after his first murder. This happened after he moved in with one of his relatives and his stash of weapons was discovered. Anatoly was quickly booted out of the house. Days later, from the information received, Anatoly was captured.
Onoprienko escaped the death penalty and was sentenced to life imprisonment; in 1995 Ukraine had entered the Council of Europe and thus (at the time) it undertook to abolish the death penalty. He died of heart failure in the prison of Zhytomyr on August 27, 2013 at the age of 54.