Anatoly Onoprienko was the youngest of two sons; his brother, Valentine, was 13 years his senior. His father, Yuri Onoprienko, was decorated for bravery during the Second World War. When Anatoly was 4 years old, his mother died. He was cared for by his grandparents and aunt for a time before being handed over to an orphanage in the village of Privitnoe. In one interview, Onoprienko later said that this predetermined his destiny – and remarked that 70% of those who are brought up in orphanages end up going to prison in later life.
When finally arrested by police, Onoprienko was found to be in possession of a hunting rifle and a number of other weapons, which matched the murder weapons used in several of the killings, together with a number of items which had been removed from murder victims. While in custody he eventually confessed to eight killings between 1989 to 1995. At first, he denied other charges, but ultimately confessed to the killing of 52 innocent victims over a six-year period. While in custody, he claimed that he killed in response to commands he was given by inner voices.
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