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Police: Russian killer wrote Pussy Riot message to mislead us

Nikolay Alexandrov / AP

Igor Danilevsky, who allegedly confessed to killing two women, speaks to his mother in a court as he appears in the court in Kazan, about 450 miles east of Moscow on Friday.

A college teacher who confessed to killing two women in their Russian apartment says he scrawled "Free Pussy Riot" in blood on the wall to mislead investigators, police said Friday.

The initial hint that the killer was inspired by the jailed Pussy Riot punk band provoked new criticism by a Russian Orthodox Church official who said the group's supporters now had "blood on their conscience."

The official also called on human rights groups and celebrities such as Madonna and Paul McCartney to "disavow" their support of Pussy Riot to prevent other such violent acts, The Moscow Times reported.

But the police report said the crime was not inspired by the group or its protest against President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral for which three band members were jailed.


The 38-year-old suspect, identified as Igor Danilevsky, told police he killed a former classmate and her 76-year-old mother and then wrote the words on the wall "to draw suspicion away from himself and portray it as a ritual killing," the regional Interior Ministry said.

The bodies were found on Wednesday and state television repeatedly showed images of the slogan daubed on the kitchen wall of the apartment in Kazan, capital of the Tatarstan region, about 450 miles east of Moscow. According to The Moscow Times, investigators believe the killings of the women took place sometime between Aug. 24 and 26.

Protesters put head covers on sculptures in Norway to show their continued support of the jailed Russian punk rock group called "Pussy Riot." NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

The "punk prayer" Pussy Riot performed at the Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February was a protest against Putin and the support for him from the Russian Orthodox Church.

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The jailing of three band members for two years drew international criticism and opposition leaders hope Pussy Riot supporters will join street protests starting in September.

The Moscow Times reported that Mikhail Kuznetsov, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the trial, said "tragedies like the one in Kazan … would have been avoided" if the women had not been convicted of inciting religious hatred. 

Police said Danilevsky, the suspect in the killings in Kazan, had pretended to be courting the younger victim after she helped him pay off his debts by borrowing hundreds of thousands of roubles (tens of thousands of dollars) from banks.

Danilevsky allegedly promised the woman they would take a vacation together, but grabbed a knife and killed her during a quarrel after he told her they would be unable to take the trip.

Handout / Reuters

The words "Free Pussy Riot" written on a wall are seen inside an apartment in Kazan, Russia, in this undated image released to Reuters on Thursday. Two women were found stabbed to death in the apartment.

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State television showed what it said was the suspect, his face blurred out, calmly giving an account of the killings.

Police said Danilevsky had taken the knife used in the killings with him after the murders and stole 100,000 roubles ($3,100) and two mobile phones from the apartment.

He was detained after the phones and the knife were found on the balcony of the apartment where he lived with his parents. A court ordered him held in custody for two months, and he could be imprisoned for life if convicted of the killings.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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