A brutal massacre took place on Saturday (Dec. 15) in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Killers entered the apartments of the Judge of Frunze District Court, Vladimir Trofimov and cut down the whole family: him, his wife, his son and son’s girlfriend. Not just killed, but also cut off their heads.
The heads still not found
Ukraine is shocked by the news of the brutal murder of Kharkiv judge and his family. The murder committed on December 15th (which, by the way, is the professional holiday of the judiciary), has no obvious motive – the victim did not have any high-profile cases. Police does not rule out the version associated with the judge’s collection of coins.
The resonant murder became known by the evening of the same day, when it was revealed that the country’s highest representatives of the law enforcement authorities were sent to the city. The details of this cruel crime were released the next day during the press conference held jointly with the security forces.
The bodies of the 58-year-old judge, his 59-year-old wife, their 30-year-old son and his 29-year-old girlfriend were found by the relative who came to visit them in the afternoon. And these were literally just bodies, with no heads.
“The heads haven’t been found yet. They are not at the crime scene“- said Vitaliy Zakharchenko, the Minister of Internal Affairs.
The murderers, who according to the preliminary data were two, entered the apartment at about 8 a.m. when the head of the family was walking the dog. After killing three people who were at home, they waited for the return of the judge and killed him, too. The version of the spontaneous murder (for example, during the robbery) is excluded by the investigators: the criminals were carefully prepared.
Forensic examination showed that the son of the judge was still alive when his head was cut off, though perhaps unconscious; others were beheaded after the murder.
“All corpses have the traces of injuries,” – said Zakharchenko, but refrained from giving more details.
More information is provided by the Kharkiv agency “Status Quo” with the reference to the sources familiar with the results of the first forensic examination. Doctors believe that all four victims had been shot, and afterwards beheaded. The instrument for decapitation the criminals brought with them. Experts believe that the execution was carried out with something thin and very sharp – machete, sword or saber.
According to one version, the criminals took the heads in order to complicate the ballistic examination. But police also takes in account other motives of such actions. Already on Saturday the investigators started guarding the district court building, where the deceased worked, fearing that the killer might demonstratively leave there the victim’s head.
Quite naturally, the version of the professional motive for killing the judge became the primary. Additional weight for it is added by the fact that the murder was committed on the professional holiday of the judiciary, which is celebrated in Ukraine on December 15.
But this line can be deceptive. Journalists studied the cases of the judge Trofimov from the end of September and hadn’t found anything significant. Most often he worked on divorce proceedings, in which the decisions are often based on the agreement of the parties, and the credit claims of local banks to the residents of Kharkiv. The biggest case involved a debt of 200 thousand Ukrainian Hryvnas (less than 20,000 Euro or 25,000 USD).
Only two of his recent cases can be considered tense: in one – upon the claim of relatives he forced a family to free the apartments due to the inheritance dispute, in another – he divided the land area of 700 square meters within the boundaries of Kharkiv between the plaintiff and the defendant. Clearly, neither of these cases can be a reason for the brutal murder.
His colleagues note that in the last five years, Trofimov had not conducted any high-profile cases – such as the crimes committed by the members of organized criminal groups.
Another version is related to the numismatic (collecting coins) hobby of the deceased.
“The judge was one of the leading numismatists in Ukraine and his collection was known outside the country” – said Igor Kalinin, the Chairman of Security Services of Ukraine.
“He had a collection of coins, medals and porcelain figurines. The collection is rather big, and we are making the list. We already have the information about the missing items“.
Descriptions [of the collection] given by the lawyer’s colleagues and relatives make the latter version rather dubious. Trofimov has never feared the possibility of theft and even hadn’t installed the metal door.
Psychologist: the killer of Kharkiv judge wanted to perform some ritual
This crime could serve as a message, understood only by someone to whom it was addressed.
The psychologist Boris Khomulenko says: “Based on the nature of the crime, it wasn’t a hitman, more like it was a personal revenge, as characterized by the brutality and bloodthirstiness of the deed. The whole family was killed, probably the offender saw in these people a reflection of his family, which was somehow hurt by Trofimov. The fact that the killer took the heads, shows the extreme psychopathic disorder. This was done in order to be able to prove the deed or perform some kind of ritual. I think that there were two men at the crime scene, one seeking revenge and another – looking for a loot, since the avenger didn’t go there for money”.
Comments of netizens
One of the surprising aspects of this news are the comments that people write in Ukrainian and Russian forums and online boards.
The law enforcing institutions are not quite popular among the common citizens of these countries. Still, it’s hard to understand the lack of empathy of some commenters.
Inspector Petrenko: To dog – dog’s death.Собаке – собачья смерть.
Гриб Александр: They already want to make us think that they were killed because of the collection… in order not to disturb the public opinion that judges are actually killed for the cause.нас уже начали приучать к тому что дескать убили из за колекции… чтобы не будоражить общество о том что судей то всё таки убивают за дело.
Андрей Морозюк: Evil begets evil…Зло порождает зло…
Nestor Makhno (replying to the above): Don’t make people laugh when you talk about the integrity of judges… не смешите народ про честность судьи…
No Pasaran: Even if this judge is not guilty, majority of his colleagues are to blame for the society’s attitude to the court system in general.Даже, если именно этот судья не в чем не виноват, то виноваты другие его коллеги, которые большинством своим формируют отношение общества к судовой системе в общем.