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Friday, 12 March 2010

Russians are on trial in the United States in at least three separate cases involving gun crimes

Russians are on trial in the United States in at least three separate cases involving gun crimes, including a waiting-room murder, a Kalashnikov-armed gang of thieves and a repeat-offender bank robber.Oregon prosecutors are struggling to solve a mysterious murder in which a Russian-speaking unlicensed dentist is accused of shooting another Russian-speaking man believed to be his patient.
Viktor Gebauer, 79, has pleaded not guilty in the fatal shooting of Viktor Merezhnikov, 47, whose body was found in a chair in what prosecutors are calling a makeshift waiting room at Gebauer's home in Gresham, Oregon, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.Deputy district attorney Chris Ramras said a motive for the Feb. 18 shooting has not been established. "We may never know," he was quoted as saying.He said both men had immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union, but he did not know from which former republics. Gebauer, who speaks no English, became a U.S. citizen in 1998 and had practiced dentistry for years without a license, local media reported.
Ramras said the victim called his brother, Vladimir Merezhnikov, "to say he was being held at gunpoint by Gebauer, who was threatening to kill him," The Associated Press reported. When the brother arrived, Gebauer opened the door holding a gun and threatened to shoot him. Merezhnikov saw his brother slumped in a chair before Gebauer closed the door again, the report said.Gebauer later surrendered to police. He told them he had never seen Viktor Merezhnikov before and alleged the victim tried to rob him by using a knife, the AP said. Citing court documents, The Associated Press said the victim was found shot in the abdomen.The victim's wife, Raisa, told the police her husband had visited Gebauer's home in the past. She said her husband "did not own a knife like the one found in his left hand, and that he was right-handed," the AP said.
In an unrelated case, Pennsylvania police have accused three young men believed to be Russian of a series of armed robberies with Kalashnikov assault rifles, local media reported.Maksim Illarionov is suspected of masterminding a series of robberies over the past weeks, the Centre Daily Times reported on its web site Thursday.
Illarionov, 21, was arrested March 3, with Dmitriy Litvinov, 23, and Alexei Semionov, 28, local media reported. They were caught in possession of stolen goods and stolen weapons after they allegedly burglarized homes in the town State College. All three are awaiting trial in jail, local WJAC television reported on its web site.While being escorted by police, Illarionov said the charges against him were “Russian propaganda,” the Centre Daily Times reported. When searching the homes linked to the suspects, police said they found four guns, including two AK-47 rifles.In a comment posted on the paper's web site, a user under the name of LakeErie claimed that he was the guns' owner and that Litvinov "was swearing friendship to me not long ago." Police said one of the Kalashnikovs was discovered in Litvinov's mother's home."I am Russian myself and there is good and bad people among us, just like anywhere else. So please don't judge all of us on example of 3 retards," the entry reads.
In a third case, a former Soviet fighter pilot might face up to life in prison after robbing a bank in upstate New York for the second time in almost 20 years.Alexander Borisov, 46, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery at a hearing in Dutchess County Court last week, the reported.Borisov admitted to entering the First Niagara Bank in Millerton on Nov. 30, threatening a teller with a gun and fleeing with some cash. He was caught by police minutes later after abandoning a stolen car.He robbed the same bank in December 1991 and two banks in Connecticut during the following four weeks, said.



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