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PENALTY TOUGHENED FOR GUNMAN ACCUSED OF CATHEDRAL MURDERS

PENALTY TOUGHENED FOR GUNMAN ACCUSED OF CATHEDRAL MURDERS

The regional court sentenced S. Komarov to 24 years of imprisonment in maximum security penal colony, having established that he had committed the crime in a generally dangerous way on the grounds of religious hatred.

MOSCOW. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation upgraded the punishment to life sentence for Stepan Komarov who had killed two persons and injured seven in a church in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, press service of the RF Prosecutor-General’s Office reports to Interfax.

The Supreme Court thus assented to the opinion of the Prosecutor-General’s Office and changed the former verdict. According to the Prosecutor-General’s Office, the verdict of the Supreme Court has already come into legal force.

In February 2014 Komarov entered the building of the Resurrection Cathedral of Yuzhno- Sakhalinsk and Kuriles Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church and made several shots from his duty weapon at parishioners and members of the clergy. Two people – churchwoman and parishioner – died and seven were injured.

According to the expert evidence, the defendant was sane, he has not suffered and does not suffer from any mental disorder. On 31 March 2015 the regional court sentenced S. Komarov to 24 years in maximum security penal colony, having established that the crime had been committed in a generally dangerous way on the grounds of religious hatred.

At the court sessions the representatives of the public prosecutor’s office asked the court to sentence Komarov to life imprisonment in high-security penal colony.

The tragic incident took place on 9 February 2014 at 14:00 local time (7:00 Moscow time). Stepan Komarov, officer of a cash collection agency, having received his duty weapon, entered the cathedral soon after the end of the liturgy on the New Martyrs Day. There were a few people inside as most of the parishioners had already left the building.

According to the witnesses, Komarov came up to the altar and shouted “Everyone out!” When the people rushed to the exit he started shooting at them in the back. Nun Lyudmila (Pryashnikova), employee of the cathedral, mother of a priest (she was born in the village of Zaborka, Vikulovsky District, Tyumen Region) was the first to report the shooting – she phoned an attendant of the Spiritual Enlightenment Center located near the cathedral.

Vladimir Zaporozhets, one of the parishioners who had been begging alms on the cathedral porch, ran inside the building in an attempt to stop Komarov and prevent him from shooting at people. Komarov made four shots at Vladimir (into his head, chest and legs) who died instantly.

Nun Lyudmila who did not make any resistance was shot at point-blank range and also died at once. Then Komarov started shooting at the icons damaging the icons of Resurrection of Christ, Pantanassa Mother of God, Vladimir Mother of God and Holy Trinity. Moreover, he broke the crucifix that was standing near the holy gates.

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