WARNING: THE FOLLOWING STORY CONTAINS: animal torture and includes graphic crime scene photos which some readers may find upsetting.
For this story we are off to the Ukraine to delve into the story of the Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs, so called after the East-Central Ukrainian city in which the murders took place. (Now called Dnipro.) The Maniacs?….Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuk, both now 32.
Over the course of two months, in 2007, the then 19 year olds commited a string of murders and violent attacks, as well as armed robbery – alongside part time robbery accomplice, Alexander Hanzha. Sickeningly, the depraved Sayenko and Suprunyuk often recorded and photographed the deathbed suffering and murders of their victims, with one of the recordings catapulting the pair into notoriety after it was leaked onto the internet. They always preyed upon vulnerable people, including children and the elderly, butchering and torturing their victims – sometimes gouging out their eyes whilst they were still alive! Interestingly, unlike a lot of serial killers motives, (i.e Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez) the “Maniacs” attacks did not appear to be sexually motivated.
As well as recording / photographing their heinous crimes, Sayenko and Suprunyuk would also attend the funerals of their victims, often laughing and ‘flipping’ off the gravesites.
Sayenko was ultimately convicted of 18 premeditated murders whilst Suprunyuk was convicted of 21. Hanzha was convicted for his part in the armed robberies, which took place before the murders. Although he didn’t actively participate in the murder spree, he believed to have been aware of what his friends were doing, therefore he is often, but not always, regarded as one of the Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs. However, Hanzha, of course, denied this, stating;
“If I had known the atrocities that they were capable of committing, I would have not gone near them at gunpoint.”Hanzha / fakty.ua
The Maniac trio were born into wealthy families, becoming friends in the 3rd grade, having been enrolled into the same school. It is reported that Sayenko and Hanzha were good students by all accounts, up until they met Suprunyuk. As the friendship between the boys grew, especially around the age of 14, Sayenko and Hanzha’s grades dropped and other children began to label the trio as ‘stupid”, ‘freaks’ and ‘weirdos’. Even after school, Sayenko and Hanzha performed mildly better and generally held down regular employment whereas Suprunyuk drifted in and out of unemployment, unable to hold down a job.
Whilst in the 5th grade, Suprunyuk convinced the others to participate in some dodgy activities which he claimed would help them combat their phobias. These included hanging over balconies, assumingly to overcome their fear of heights?
“Me and Igor (Suprunyuk) were both afraid of heights, and we were afraid we’d be beaten up by bullies”Sayenko
In order to remedy Hanzha’s hemophobia, Suprunyuk suggested they torture, disembowel and kill animals, (particularly stray cats and dogs) before hanging them from crosses and trees, after which the trio would then pose for photos beside the remains and salute, all the while surrounded by swastikas drawn in the blood of the sacrificed animal. (It has also been well documented that the “Maniacs” were Neo-Nazi’s.) (Unfun fact: Suprunyuk shared his birthday with Hitler and would often pose with a ‘Hitler’/toothbrush moustache.) In-between torturing innocent animals they would amuse themselves by throwing rocks at passing trains, again encouraged by Suprunyuk.
One particular upsetting video shown to the court during the trio’s trial was that of a white kitten they tortured on a cross.
“The suspects fashioned a cross from wooden boards and nailed the kitten to it, then shot at it with pistols, placing foam and glue in its mouth to muffle the kitten’s noises.”wikipedia
The videos shown in court which, contained the multiple attacks on animals, was proven to be genuine after being viewed by an expert veterinarian, who confessed to having to watch the footage with the sound muted as it was too distressing to hear.
“I could not listen to the agonizing squeals of puppies and kittens, which were gutted, burned, hung up alive,”Alexander Peretyatko / ukraine.segodnya.ua/
And so began their fascination with violence and murder…
As mentioned previously, after finishing high school Suprunyuk drifted in and out of unemployment. He was gifted a car for his birthday by his parents, a green Daewoo Lanos which he used when he began working as an unlicensed taxi driver and it was at this time that the trio began using weapons to rob Suprunyuk’s unsuspecting passengers. Hanzha participated in two armed robberies with Sayenko and Suprunyuk but then allegedly refused to partake in any other crimes with them.
Before long, Sayenko and Suprunyuk grew tired of armed robbery, the buzz was wearing off and they wanted more! They decided to branch off from Hanzha, although the three of them remained very much tight friends and Hanzha was allegedly always very much aware of what the other two were doing. Suprunyuk’s taxi was often described by witnesses as being the car used in the murders. The “Maniacs” later admitted to picking up some of their murder victims as passengers in the taxi.
The first murder occured on June 25th 2007. Yekaterina Ilchenko, 33, was on her way home after enjoying tea at a friends. In what was literally a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, she passed by Sayenko and Suprunyuk who were out for a walk, with a hammer. As they passed each other, Sayenko claims Suprunyuk turned and smashed the hammer into Ilchenko’s head. Her lifeless body was discovered by her mother in the early hours of the following morning. After the trial and sentencing were concluded, Ilchenko’s mother stated;
“She went to see the girl off and did not return. And the fact that Suprunyuk and Sayenko are to blame for her death, I am 100% sure. I want them to sit for life, so that they ask the god for death. That’s all“Lydia Ilchenko
Not long after, in fact less than an hour later, Roman Tatarevich, 35, was approached by the “Maniacs” as he slept on a bench opposite the public prosecutor’s office. They proceeded to bludgeon him to death with a blunt object, quite possibly the same hammer used to kill Ilchenko. Tatarevich was beaten so severely he was left unrecognisable.
They then attempted to murder Viktor Pertsev, 58, immediately after killing Tatarevich, but he miraculously survived, despite having his face bludgeoned with a blunt object, possibly a steel construction bar.
On June 28th 2007, Alexey Kovbasa, 69 and Valery Krivospitsky, 53 became victims of the Maniacs, although information regarding these murders are scarce.
A further two victims – Yevgenia Grischenko and Nikolai Serchuk, were discovered on July 1st 2007, in Novomoskovsk, a town not far from Dnipropetrovsk. Information regarding the attacks on these two is scarce.
5 nights later on 6th July 2007, Egor Nechvoloda, 21, was set upon and beaten with a hammer over 15 times by the “Maniacs” as he headed home from a nightclub. The newly discharged soldier’s body was left near his apartment building in the city of Dnipropetrovsk and like Ilchenko, his body was sadly discovered by his mother the following morning. A swastika had been drawn on his forehead.
Night guard worker, Yelena Shram, 28, was their 2nd victim that night. In a similar fashion to Ilchenko’s murder, Suprunyuk attacked Shram as she walked past them on Kosiora street, with a hammer he had hidden under his top. He continued to attack her even after she had fallen. Afterwards, they wiped the hammer with clothes they had found in a bag that Shram had been carrying.
Still not satisfied with their killing spree, the Maniacs took a third victim’s life that night, that of Valentina Hanzha, 51, (No relation to Alexander Hanzha) she left behind a disabled husband and three children.
The very next day, on July the 7th 2007, two 14 year old boys were out fishing for the day in Pidhorodne, a town near Dnepropetrovsk, when they were attacked by Sayenko and Suprunyuk. Andrei Sidyuk died as a result of the injuries he sustained but his friend, Vadim Lyakhov, managed to escape and hide in the woods. He survived the attack only to be accused by police of murdering his friend. Shockingly, Lyakhov was met with police brutality as they tried to beat him into a confession, all the while denying him legal representation. It wasn’t until two children came forward claiming they had witnessed Mamarchuk’s murder on July 14th that they realised they had made a mistake. The witnesses detailed description corroborated the description given by Lyakhov merely a week before. Only then did authorities finally make a connection between the murders and realise they had a serial killer/s on their hands.
On July 11th 2007 they attacked Nikolai Pshenichko, 53, and another unidentified man. No further information is available.
On July 12th 2007, Sergei Yatzenko, 48, went out for ride on his Dnepr motorcycle. He had recently suffered from throat cancer and had been left barely able to speak as a result but he managed to call his wife to inform her he was going to fill his motorcycle and visit his grandchild. He never arrived to see his grandchild and he never returned home. When his remains were found 4 days later, despite showing signs of decomposition, it was clear he had been the victim of a horrific attack in which he had been bludgeoned repeatedly in the face with a hammer and stabbed in the eye and abdomen with a screwdriver, mortifyingly, all whilst he was still alive. Yatzenco’s savage murder was one of the attacks the “Maniacs” recorded and it was this horrifying footage that was leaked to the internet. In an attack which lasts many minutes, one of the “Maniacs” is seen beating Yatzenco with a hammer which is wrapped in a plastic bag.
The camera closes in on what used to be a face but is now unrecognizable, it’s just a puddle of blood now.
The guy goes on to drive a screwdriver repeatedly into the victim’s stomach, then up to the eyes and through his nose.
All of this happens while the victim is still alive, only able to make gurgling noises and move his arms slightly. The guy then steps on victims stomach and after playing with him they decide it’s time to kill him so they serve a few death blows with a hammer.”kasamaparamilitary describes the footage as shown in the horrific footage of 3guys1hammer.
After the attack, Sayenko and Suprunyuk appear unphased by the brutal killing as they chat and laugh calmly whilst discussing their surprise that the victim was still alive, even after they plunged the screwdriver into his brain.
During their trial both Sayenko and Suprunyuk denied any recognition of the people or themselves on the video, (and other video / photographic evidence) to which the Judge, Ivan Senchenko responded:
“You are not blind.”wikipedia
The footage was proven to be genuine and not faked or altered in anyway.
Yatzenko’s brutal murder wasn’t enough to satisfy the pair and they attacked Regina Prokopenko, 85, on the very same day.
Between the 13th and 16th of July a further 4 unsuspecting individuals were attacked and killed by the Dnipropetrovsk Maniacs, Sayenko and Suprunyuk. However, not much information is available regarding these attacks. The victims were Nikolai Maryanchikova, Natalia Mamarchuk, 45, Vladimir Rakovsky, 51 and Yuri Pekhotin, 47. It is known that Mamarchuk was riding her scooter through woodland in the village of Diyovka. Sayenko and Suprunyuk knocked her off the scooter before beating her to death. As they escaped on her scooter locals tried to give chase but were unable to apprehend them.
A further two victims were known to have been attacked by the “maniacs”, although dates and locations are not known. Lidia Mikrenischeva, 70 survived her attack however, an unknown woman was pregnant when the pair attacked her, during the horrific attack they mutilated her before ripping her unborn fetus from the womb.
It was stated in court that it wasn’t uncommon for the “Maniacs” to rob their victims after attacking them, pawning their bounty at local second hand shops. It was this that would eventually lead to their capture…
CAPTURE AND ARRESTS:
Over 2000 officers were investigating the murders but it was all kept hush hush from the media and the public. No-one knew of the dangers of a possible attack as no information regarding the murders was released. Eventually, aware that the victims were also being robbed, police warned pawn shops to be on the lookout for the stolen goods.
On July 23rd, Suprunyuk entered a pawn shop and attempted to sell a stolen mobile phone for 150 hryvnia (£27.76 / $37.65 in today’s rates) As soon as the pawn shop owner switched the phone on the police were alerted and able to identify the phones location. A simple and uneventful arrest occurred when Sayenko and Suprunyuk were found inside the pawn shop. Hanzha was later arrested at his home as he tried to destroy evidence of the robberies.
Sayenko, Suprunyuk and Hanzha went on trial together in June 2008. Sayenko confessed and pleaded guilty to 18 capital murders, five robberies and one count of animal cruelty. He was sentenced on 11th February 2009 to life imprisonment for the 18 murders and a further fifteen years for the robbery charges. Hanzha confessed and pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery from March 1st 2007 and received nine years in prison for his part in them. Suprunyuk, however, originally confessed to to 21 counts of capital murder, eight armed robberies, and one count of animal cruelty but then later withdrew his confession and pleaded not guilty. His defence tried to plea insanity but the experts refuted this.
Defendants Sayenko, Ganzha and Suprunyuk spent two weeks in the forensic psychiatric examination department of the regional psychoneurological hospital. According to the unanimous conclusion of the experts, they were recognized as sane.https://ukraine.segodnya.ua/
Suprunyuk was ultimately found guilty of 21 murders and sentenced on 11th February 2009 to life imprisonment plus fifteen years for the robberies.
Both Sayenko and Suprunyuk were found guilty of animal abuse but it’s unclear what sentence, if any, they received for it.
The motive for these chilling murders and attacks is unknown. However, some people have reported they were doing it to get rich by sending 40 ‘murder films’ to a wealthy website owner. Others believe it was a hobby which they wanted to reflect back on as entertainment when they were old.
Sayenko and Suprunyuk’s parents have openly stated they believe in their son’s innocence and despite the overwhelming evidence against them, which includes photographic and video footage, they maintain their belief that their sons are not guilty and were forced / tortured into a confession. Sayenko’s father claims..
“The crimes were committed by the relatives of high-ranking officials, and innocent people had to answer for them”web.archive.org
and that much of the evidence was fabricated and planted.
Despite an attempt at an appeal, the Supreme Court of Ukraine upheld the life sentences and at the time of writing Sayenko and Suprunyuk remaining in prison. Hanzha has since been released.
References: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnepropetrovsk_maniacs Criminal minds: http://criminalminds.wikia.com/wiki/The_Dnepropetrovsk_Maniacs Forensic Investigation: http://forensicandinvestigativeauditing.blogspot.com/2012/09/ Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/serialkillers/comments/bhtiyt/dnepropetrovsk_maniacs/ kasamaparamilitary: https://acw.kasamaparamilitary.pw/2-guy-1-hammer.html Prezi www.prezi.com Kumparan: https://kumparan.com/selidik/the-dnepropetrovsk-maniac-kelompok-pembantai-dari-ukraina-1tn49EhPVrk/full ukraine.segodnya.ua https://ukraine.segodnya.ua/ukraine/delo-manjakov-obvinjaemykh-v-21-ubijctve-parnej-priznali-vmenjaemymi-143918.html Podrobnosti.ua: https://podrobnosti.ua/581897-zachitali-prigovor-po-delu-dnepropetrovskih-manjakov.html web.archive.org https://web.archive.org/web/20090416055554/http://www.new-most.info/news/others/10629.htm Horrorgalore: https://www.horrorgalore.com/true-story/dnepropetrovsk-maniacs-hammer-brothers-true-story photo.unian https://photo.unian.info/theme/13124-unian-press-conference-parents-of-life-term-prisoners-in-case-of-the-dnepropetrovsk-maniacs-who-is-guilty-in-actual-fact.html