Victim Studies 005: Andrei Chikatiloon November 15, 2011 in Serial Killers, Victim Studies, Victimology by Heather Whitney
Andrei Chikatilo, otherwise known as the Butcher of Rostov, The Red Ripper and The Rostov Ripper, was charged with the murders of 52 women, men and children. It is believed that Chikatilo began his serial series in Russia, 1978 and continued until January of 1990. Chikatilo confessed to 56 murders, but was only tried for 53 of these murders. Although he confessed to 56 murders, it is not known if he committed any additional murders and did not confess them to the police. He was sentenced to death for the 52 murders he was found guilty of committing.
Chikatilo did not show a lot of preference while he was choosing his victims. Throughout his serial series Chikatilo admitted to murdering women, young girls and boys. He did not have a specific body type or physical feature which he preferred, instead he would choose his victims at random. He would simply lure in people that he viewed as vulnerable or easy prey. Picking his victims at random gave him the opportunity to murder anyone and still get what he wanted, which was usually an orgasm.
When Chikatilo began his serial series the bodies were horribly mutilated. He was impotent, but was still able to reach climax. With nearly all of his victims he would climax upon seeing their blood or organs. He would often place a knife between his legs and pretend that it was his penis, making many of his victims die of blood loss from their genitals. The corpses that detectives would find would have missing genitals, nipples, organs and would have many stab wounds. It is believed that Chikatilo would go into a rage while he was murdering his victims. Detectives and psychiatrists believed that Chikatilo would cut off the genitals of his male victims in an attempt to make them look more female, but this was later disproven.
Chikatilo’s method of murder remained the same throughout his serial series, he would stab all of his victims to death. He claimed that the moment he cut into his victim or cut off a body part he would ejaculate. It is believed that the deepest of the stab wounds were made during the most pleasurable moments of his murder. He would use a knife as a way to enter others as he would never be able to enter them in any other way. During his serial series he would differ where he would stab and how many wounds the victim would have. He was known to have stabbed some victims as many as 70 times.
His first victims would often have their eyes removed or stabbed. After his arrest Chikatilo admitted that he did this because he initially believed in the folktales which stated that the killer’s image remains on the victims eyes after their death. After many murders, he stopped believing in this folktale and began instead to cut off the noses and upper lips of the victims then placed them inside the mouth or open stomach. Chikatilo later changed back to cutting and gouging out eyes when he decided that he did not like the victim looking him while he murdered them. As this changed so too did the pace at which he was murdering his victims. Instead of once a month, it began one every couple of weeks. Chikatilo became to less cautious and began murdering at the roadsides and railways instead of deep in the woods.
The only thing which Chikatilo’s victims were found to have in common was that they took public transportation. Chikatilo would use this to his advantage. He often had to travel for his job, and so would murder many people along the way. He would accost many women and children in an attempt to lure them away from the bus stop. Sometimes, if the person looked malnourished, he would offer them food. Detectives noticed that most of his murders would take place between Tuesday and Thursday, and so they knew that it may be a working man committing the murders. Chikatilo later confessed that the people he would murder he saw as transients or vagrants who he killed instead of allowing them to reproduce, though this was not the only reasoning for his murders. He also hated seeing vagrants entering the woods to engage in sexual activities which he would never be able to perform.
There was no known attempt to hide the bodies. The remains of all of his victims were left in wooded areas, with no significant dirt or leaves to cover the remains. Most of his victims were found naked and mutilated. He seemed to be proud of his murders. In some cases he would chew the genitalia of his victims while walking around in public, knowing and taking pride in the fact that the public did not know what he had just done.
After his arrest and many sessions with psychiatrists it was determined that Chikatilo had brain damage since birth. He was unable to control his bladder and seminal emissions. From a young age his mother would insult him, causing him to be embarrassed and felt that he was unable to be with someone in a traditional sense. It is believed that Chikatilo and his wife were only able to have children by Chikatilo ejaculating into his hand then putting the semen inside of his wife, this frustrated him further. He confessed that while he was committing these murders he felt that he was in control of the situation and did not feel ashamed of his impotence. Chikatilo’s confession allowed for the realization that he did not cut off male genitalia to make them look more female, but he did it to take his anger out on the penis itself. He believed that he was taking away something from others that he could not use. It was also noted that Chikatilo’s first sexual encounter was while he was wrestling with his sisters 10 year old friend. Since then he related struggling with someone to sex and orgasm.
During the investigation to find the serial killer, police found rope, Vaseline and a knife in Chikatilo’s briefcase, but they let him go as they did not have enough evidence and his bloodtype, A, did not match the semen which was found at the crime scene, AB. This was many years before his actual arrest and confession. Detectives were later able to determine that Chikatilo has a rare condition where his blood type actually differed from the type found in his semen. Throughout the Chikatilo investigation numerous men were arrested, some were even found guilty of the murder and executed. Since other people had been found guilty of other murders, they were led to believe that Chikatilo murdered 38 people, when he in fact had murdered approximately 56 people.
Before going to trial psychiatrists found that Chikatilo was sane at the times of the murders. He was able to form ideas and go through with them, despite knowing it was wrong and relive them later with pride. On October 14, 1992 Chikatilo was found guilty of 52 counts of murder and sentenced to death. There was not enough evidence to prosecute him for all 56 murders and people had already been found guilty for some of the murders he confessed to. He was executed on February 14, 1994 by a gunshot to the head.