Artyom Anoufriev and Nikita Lytkin were social outcasts who hated society and humankind. The teenage misanthropes shocked Russian society by attacking seemingly random victims with a mallet and knife. Since the attacks always occurred from behind, the survivors were unable to give any significant details to the investigators.
The serial killers claimed a total of 15 victims. Six of them died. At least one of the attacks was videotaped and circulated in Russian social networks, showing the dead body of a woman being mutilated with a knife. The camera used to record the attack belonged to Nikita's uncle, who found an SD card with a gruesome video of the murder of their last victim, Alevtina Kuydin.
Since the attacks occurred in and around the area of Akademgorodok (Academy Town in English) in Irkutsk, the two were dubbed the Academy Maniacs.
The two devils met at a birthday party for a mutual friend. In fact, the boys didn't have many friends at all and were withdrawn from society. They clicked instantly. They were both in a deep depression, had similar social backgrounds and hated society.
Artyom grew up without a father. At the trial, his childhood conditions were described only in positive terms. But his upbringing was anything but normal. His mother Nina, who worked as an accountant for an insurance company, taught her son to hate people, liked to humiliate him publicly and told him that he was always surrounded by enemies.
For some time, Artyom was part of a white-power skinhead group and even took part in the nationalist demonstration called the Russian March. At the trial, Artyom's mother said her son was beaten by a group of Armenians, which left him psychologically damaged. However, there was an opposite version of the conflict – Artyom insulted an Armenian family on social networks.
Nikita was raised by a single mother, who worked as a clerk in a shoe store. His father tried to fix the troubled relationship with the family several times, but always left, which made young Nikita even more frustrated.
During the investigation, his mother Marina said the main reason for her son's criminal and antisocial behaviour was the absence of a father.
The boys were impressed by the notorious Russian serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, also known as The Chessboard Killer, whose aim was to kill 64 people – the number of squares on a chessboard. And also by so-called Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs, the Ukrainian serial killers who recorded gruesome videos of their killings hoping to get rich one day with the material they produced. On the Internet, the Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs are better known by the video named 3 guys 1 hammer.
The hunt for victims began every day at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Sometimes they searched for weeks for the right victim – someone weak, unable to give resistance.
Before claiming their first victim, the duo wanted to practice the act of killing. They hit 18-year-old Anastasia Markov in the head with a mallet and ran away. Thankfully the girl survived. A while later they attacked an unidentified woman in a similar manner and stole her bag.
- The killing spree started on the 1st of December 2010, when 12-year-old Danil Semyonov was picked out. He was hit in the head with a mallet and finished off with a baseball bat.
- December 16, 2010. The lifeless body of a 69-year-old was found – just twenty yards from the murder scene of little Danil Semyonov. On her body there were as many as 30 stab wounds, but her valuables were left untouched. Since Danil's murder was ruled an accident, investigators were unable to make the connection between the two incidents. Artyom and Nikita made an audio recording in which they talked about their plan to kill someone. They also recorded the process of killing, which they later released on a social network.
- January 1, 2011. An unknown man's skull was broken with a mallet. The poor man died at the hospital. Being homeless, he's identified as the corpse number 20.
- February 21, 2011. The next victim was Alexander Maximov, who just wanted to go home after a few drinks. He was found with a completely broken jaw and head. The sick duo tried to extract the eyeballs of the victim but couldn't because of their ignorance about the human anatomy.
- March 11, 2011. Another homeless man, Roman Fayzullina, was shot twice in the head with an air gun, repeatedly beaten and stabbed to death. Nikita tried to cut off the hand, but the knife he used was too small, so they made do with a little finger. Later that night, Artyom photographed the corpse from his apartment window.
- April 3, 2011. The last victim was again homeless. Alevtina Kuydin was killed in a similar manner as the rest of the victims. But this time the boys decided to videotape their latest accomplishment. On the video you can see them mock their dead victim, try to cut off an earlobe, wrist and eyeballs, but again find it difficult. Later they decide to leave the earlobe in front of a high school.
Nikita's uncle finds an SD card with the very same horrific video and immediately reports it to the authorities. The video is hosted on LiveLeak, but make sure you really want to see it - it's extremely graphic.
A rough transcript of the video:
A hobo! Haha
No one there?
[Stabs in the head]
Fuck, I can't fucking touch it
Don't touch anything!
Faster, there's nothing interesting
But that's scary, uh bitch! (They are afraid someone will see them)
[Stops cutting, sticks a knife in the eye]
Uh, that's disgusting! What to do?
Cut off her hand
Fuck it! An ear is fine too
Okay, let's go
Artyom was sentenced to life in a special regime colony. When told of his sentence, Artyom claimed he couldn't be a fascist because his grandfather was a veteran of World War II. He pleaded guilty to only one murder.
At the time of his crimes, Nikita was underaged, and received 24 years.
The boy's YouTube channel still exists.