A convicted killer sentenced to 14 years in a maximum security prison in Russia got the break of his life when the notorious Wagner Group began recruiting inmates for the war against Ukraine last year—and now free, he’s murdered someone again.
Ivan Rossomakhin, 28, is accused of another murder in his native village in the Kirov region less than three years after he was ordered to spend more than a decade behind bars, MediaZona reports. During that time, he managed to avail himself of Wagner’s prison-recruitment scheme, whereby inmates receive a full pardon if they survive six months fighting in Ukraine.
Rossomakhin had reportedly only been back home in the village of Novy Buryets for eight days “on break” when a local resident discovered their mother’s dead body. She’d been badly beaten and was found with stab wounds, according to sources cited by Baza.
The outlet reports that he is in police custody and provided a confession to investigators.
No further details on the killing were immediately available, but Rossomakhin had made headlines locally just days before the murder, when residents publicly pleaded with authorities to do something about the fact that he was drunkenly wandering around the village with a pitchfork and ax, yelling, “I’ll kill everyone! I’ll cut up a whole family!”
Local coverage by a news station in the village showed footage of Rossomakhin using an ax to bust out windows of vehicles.
“We don’t sleep at night,” Galina Sapozhnikova, a local resident, told the news station.
Ruslan Rupasov, the director of a local business, said his employees were afraid to go to work with Rossomakhin on the prowl.
“We had a similar situation when we had the murder in 2019, and the people at that time were scared until they caught Rossomakhin and found him guilty. Now he’s returned, and people are again very afraid, they don’t know what to do, they are even refusing to go to work,” he said.
Rossomakhin’s first murder happened in 2019, when prosecutors said he drunkenly killed a woman who was trying to get him off her property. He was found guilty of beating her and then strangling her to death.
Locals reportedly demanded a meeting with police and officials about Rossomakhin before the latest murder but were reassured by police that Rossomakhin was due to return to the Wagner ranks any day now.
“It was expected that he would behave oddly, because this person is extremely erratic, problematic. It was to be expected,” police chief Vadim Varankin said in the local TV segment.
He said Rossomakhin was home “on break” from the war until May but had agreed to leave and return to Wagner ahead of schedule.
“On Tuesday, we’ll put him on the train with all his belongings, so that he gets out of here, so that I don’t see him here anymore. You can expect anything from this scumbag,” he said.
Tuesday came and went, and Rossomakhin apparently found a way to stick around. The body of the elderly pensioner he’s now accused of killing was found just a day later.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the cutthroat founder of the mercenary group, said earlier this week that more than 5,000 inmates were pardoned since the twisted scheme began last fall.
“Right now, more than 5,000 people have completed a contract with Wagner and been pardoned. The percentage of those who committed a second crime within a month is 0.31 percent. This is 10–20 times less than the standard before the [special military operation],” Prigozhin said through his press service Saturday.
“Therefore, I can say with confidence: We have reduced crime in Russia tenfold,” he said.
Prigozhin declined to comment on Rossomakhin’s arrest in response to a request for comment from The Daily Beast, instead urging this reporter to “not bother” him anymore, as he was, he quipped, “busy searching his garden for the corpse of your colleague [detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich].”
But in a blanket statement through his press service, he acknowledged that Rossomakhin had served in Wagner, saying it was “very bad” that the freed convict committed such a crime.
“Without a doubt, we’re ready to cooperate with law enforcement regarding any of our former fighters,” he said.
“But it should be noted that this whole time, out of the thousands of those who were released, there were only 20 crimes. And a very important point: These people not only commit [crimes] much less than before… but thanks to the fact that they fought, a lot of your children, fathers, and husbands, whoever they were, did not die.”