A car mechanic who beat a pedophile to death while rescuing a 14-year-old has been convicted of murder.
Vladimir Sankin, 34, faces up to 15 years in prison after killing Vladimir Zaitsev, 54, in Russia, in a jury verdict that shocked his many supporters.
Sankin — who will be sentenced next week — said that he had a choice – to pass by or to save the kids.
“Surely every man would do the same in my place,” he said.
The jury asked for leniency in the sentencing yet after eight hours of deliberations found guilty of murder despite the medical evidence that the cause of death of Zaitsev was frostbite and not Sankin’s blows with a wooden stick.
Zaitsev had served sentences of five years, one year, and 11 years for previous child sex convictions for ‘sodomy’ and ‘violent sexual acts’.
Two boys, aged ten and 14, had been lured to previously convicted pedophile Zaitsev’s home in Ufa city.
According to the case report, Zaitsev plied them with alcohol, and the teenager was told to strip naked or face being killed and dismembered if he refused.
The defendant said that the younger boy escaped and alerted passerby Sankin who ran to the scene. He then freed the 14-year-old and held Zaitsev as he called police.
However, the criminal investigation claimed the boys were both already freed by the time Sankin arrived and accused him of using disproportionate force on the pedophile, facts disputed by the mechanic.
During the fight with Sankin, Zaitsev fell and banged his head, then lay on the cold ground. The pedo died later in an ambulance.
Sankin’s case made a fuss with a petition of 70,000 calling for charges to be dropped against the ‘hero’, and a benefactor paying for his legal defense.
Sankin’s lawyer Shota Gorgadze will now appeal and is also urging the trial judge to deliver a suspended sentence or order a new trial under a lesser charge.
The jury made clear he ‘deserves leniency’, the attorney said.
“Vladimir acted like a real man,” the lawyer explained. “He ran to the entrance and met a pedophile, snatching from his clutches the second child.”
“A fight broke out, as a result of which the pedophile subsequently died,” the lawyer added. “And it was Sankin in the dock.”
Sankin is now under house arrest.
The lawyer called his client ‘a simple guy who could not pass by a pedophile and protect children from this rapist.
“The earth depends on such ordinary men,” the lawyer added.
State prosecutors earlier charged Sankin with robbing money from the wounded Zaitsev, but this was later withdrawn.
Sankin’s mother, Galina attacked the verdict.
“I don’t think my son is a murderer, he defended the children,” Galina said. “The forensic analysis said Zaitsev died as a result of frostbite, not my son killing him. My son is not to blame.”
“No-one knows what would have happened next if he turned a blind eye,” Sankin’s wife Polina Naumova said.