Popkov, nicknamed ‘the Werewolf,’ has been given a second life imprisonment by a court in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, Russian media reported. During the long-running hearing, in which 322 court files were brought to the judges’ attention, prosecutors said Popkov – a former police officer in Angarsk, the city he terrorized – had a “pathological attraction to killing people.”
Back in 2012, he was finally caught after a DNA match led investigators to his car. Popkov didn’t try to resist arrest and confessed to 22 murders. His victims were women aged between 16 or 40, except for one male, a policeman.
The serial killer turned out to be a talented impersonator, investigators said. On duty, he was a measured, law-abiding officer, but as night fell, he would turn into “a cruel and ruthless beast,” a local investigator told RIA Novosti.
After being sentenced for the 22 murders, Popkov then confessed to killing 59 more. He was charged last year with slaughtering 56 of them between 1992 and 2007 after law enforcement agencies interviewed hundreds of witnesses and carried out numerous forensic experiments to prove his involvement.
It emerged that he would put on his uniform, then park his car outside night clubs or bars, waiting for drunk, unaccompanied women to emerge. Popkov would then lure the victim into the car, with a promise of help or fun, and then take them to the woods, rape them and then kill them.
The ‘Werewolf’ would usually use an axe or a knife, but sometimes he resorted to bats, awls or another handheld weapon which he took from the evidence locker. Ironically enough, Popkov was at times embedded with a rapid response unit, deployed to investigate murders he committed himself.
He didn’t use it in vain though, checking whether he left any compromising evidence at the scene.
Last year, Popkov told journalists that he viewed himself as a “cleaner” who was purging his city of women he deemed to be “loose.” He also suggested that his killing spree was in revenge for his wife’s alleged infidelity, claiming she was cheating on him with a colleague.
The second life sentence won’t change anything for Popkov. Russian law prohibits cumulative sentencing, meaning that he will spend the rest of his days behind bars in a high-security prison. But even there, he remains true to himself, authorities say. “Even in custody, he keeps fit and makes 50 pull-ups in his mid-50s,” one investigator told Russian media.
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