Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo was born on October 16, 1936 in Yablochnoye, Russia. At that time, the Soviet Union was at war with Germany and the country suffered a massive famine under Stalin's new forced collective farming economy. Andrei's own brother supposedly fell victim to cannibalism by his starving neighbors.
Andrei's childhood was rather traumatic due to the frequent bombing raids by German forces. As a result, he developed a certain hatred for Germans and often fantasized about capturing some and leading them into the woods to execute them. He was also forced to share his mother's bed during his youth, but frequently wet it and received brutal beatings. At the age of fifteen, he wrestled a young girl to the ground and had an orgasm, supposedly imprinting a relationship between violence and sexuality in his mind.
After failing entrance exams for Moscow State University, Andrei joined the Soviet military and served until 1960. Then, he was discharged and moved to the city of Rodionovo-Nesvetayevsky, where he worked as a telephone engineer. In 1963, he a married a friend of his sister who felt sorry for him not having a girlfriend. He fathered two children with her, but he was quite impotent and could not maintain a normal sex life.
In 1971, he received a degree in Russian literature and became a teacher in the city of Novoshakhtinsk. However, he proved to be a poor teacher and was unable to keep his class in line. He began to receive many complaints for his indecent behavior with students, forcing him to move between schools. Finally, he quit the profession in 1981 and took a job as a factory clerk.
In 1978, Andrei had moved to the city of Shakhty, where he committed what he claims was his first murder. He brought a nine-year-old girl to an abandoned shed, where he attempted to rape her. The girl struggled and he pulled out a knife and began stabbing her, orgasming in the process and further imprinting the association of violence and murder with sexual pleasure.
After this first murder, he took a four year break and did not kill again until 1982. That year, he murdered seven different children and began developing a strategy for effectively luring children into isolated areas. He targeted children who were alone, particularly homeless children and runaways, and asked them to follow him to receive gifts of candy, food, etc. He would then take them to a lonely place, most often a wooded area, and kill them.
In 1983, he killed another four people. He began to murder adult females as well, who he lured with offers of money and alcohol. Sometimes he would attempt to have normal consensual sex, but his inability to achieve an erection would infuriate him and trigger his murderous rampage. After some time, he found himself completely incapable of orgasming without killing.
As the bodies began piling up, the Soviet police began to take notice. Since the media suppressed crime reports, parents were not made aware of the killings except through rumors. As a result, they did not warn their children to watch out for strangers and thought all was well. The police, on the other hand, knew otherwise and began investigating the string of murders.
The investigative team was helmed by Mikhail Fetisov, who hired a forensic analyst named Victor Burakov to profile the killer. They began by interrogating known sex offenders, but found them innocent and sought suspects in the general public. After Andrei started to murder more boys, the team focused their hunt on the homosexual population, interviewing over 150,000 people in a short period of time. When fifteen additional murders took place in 1984, the police began sending out additional patrols and posting undercover officers at highly-trafficked areas.
In 1984, Andrei was arrested for the first time while acting suspiciously at a bus station in the city of Rostov. The investigators discovered the numerous reports of indecent acts from his teaching career, but were unable to convict him of the murders based on lack of evidence. Supposedly, his blood sample did not match the semen samples found on victims and investigators ruled him out as a suspect since they did not realize that blood type and semen type can differ.
He was, however, convicted of indecent behavior and sentenced to one year in prison. He was released after only three months in December of 1984. After his release, he found a new job in the city of Novocherkassk and proceeded to lay low for a while. He murdered two women in 1985, but took another short vacation. In 1987, he murdered three more children while on business trips to Leningrad, Revda, and Zaporozhye.
The failure of the police to find the murderer resulted in the replacement of the head of the investigation with Issa Kostoyev. Andrei noticed the renewed attention on the case and refrained from murder until 1988, when he murdered nine people. He continued his murders, taking nine additional people between 1989 and 1990.
On November 6, 1990, he was stopped by police while returning from a murder in the woods, but allowed to leave. On November 20th, he was arrested again for suspicious behavior and intensely interrogated. He eventually confessed to 56 different murders over his lifetime. After leading police to numerous graves of victims, Andrei was charged with 53 different counts of murder.
The trial began on April 14, 1992 with Andrei being locked in a cage in the middle of the courtroom. He was determined to be fit for trial in spite of his bizarre behavior and found guilty of 52 murders on October 15, 1992. He was sentenced to death for every charge and executed by a shot to the back of his head on February 14, 1994.
Two films have been made with Andrei as the main subject. The first, 1995's "Citizen X" starred Donald Sutherland, Stephen Rea, and Jeffrey DeMunn. A second film was made in 2004 starring Malcolm McDowell as Andrei.