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Man who killed 3 burglars to save his family faces Russian justice

10.04.2012  |  17:37

The police of Russia's Tula region continue to investigate the case about the attack on the house of Gegam Sarkisian. Sarkisian, aged 52, was defending his family, when he killed three burglars that had broken into his house and made the fourth one flee. Police officers say that the man may have exceeded the limits of admissible self-defense

The police of Russia's Tula region continue to investigate the case about the attack on the house of Gegam Sarkisian. Sarkisian, aged 52, was defending his family, when he killed three burglars that had broken into his house and made the fourth one flee. Police officers say that the man may have exceeded the limits of admissible self-defense.

Legal experts say that the man should be acquitted, although Russian laws may act against him. Gegam Sarkisian, a businessman from the city of Tula, killed three burglars as he was defending his wife and children. Four armed burglars broke into the man's house in the town of Bogoroditsk, the Tula region, on Saturday evening. Sarkisian lives in the house with his wife, adult daughter and four little children. His youngest child is not even 12 months. The perpetrators were threatening the man with a gun, a knife and a baseball bat.

They started beating the man's wife and children, but the head of the large family managed to show strong resistance to the burglars after he had managed to grab a kitchen knife. The man stabbed three attackers to death. The fourth one managed to escape from the crime scene.

Gegam Sarkisian suffered injuries during the fight too. He was hospitalized; his family members received required medical assistance. The fourth perpetrator has been reportedly arrested on April 10th. The man was said to have put the gun to the head of the man's youngest daughter, Bella.

According to the man's relatives, Gegam grabbed the knife when the burglars threatened to kill the little child. The police had to file a criminal case against Gegam Sarkisian under Part 2 of Article 105 of the Penal Code of the Russian Federation - "The Murder of Two or More People."  The maximum punishment under the article is life in prison. Experts say, however, that filing a criminal case is a standard procedure in this case. The case will be re-qualified afterwards.

Yet,

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the heroic father may face up to two years in jail for exceeding the limits of required self-defense. The degree of culpability will be determined through expertise of the wounds of the victims. There are three versions for the situation to unfold. First off, the man was acting within the scope of law. A threat to the lives of his family members made the man act decisively. The second version: The man exceeded the limits because he killed the attackers as they were trying to retreat and actually decided to leave the house.

It was said, for instance, that the man's grown-up daughter had broken the window and started calling for help. The third version: Sarkisian committed the murders in the heat of passion, so he was not controlling his own actions. Indeed, it is hard to imagine that the man could control himself as the burglars were beating his wife and children, threatening to kill them. "We were lucky to stay alive! Gegam's daughter Marina Sarkisian said. - If it wasn't for the father, I don't know what would have happened to us. It was a usual evening.

We gathered to watch TV after supper, as always. And then those monsters broke in. They just ambushed us, they started beating me, and then proceeded to the kids. One of them put a gun to my face and said that he would kill me if I don't give him money.

He took all of my gold jewelry, while other men continued to beat our children. We have a seven-month-old child, a girl. They put a gun to her head and said that they would kill her.

It was nightmare," the woman told NTV channel. Gegam Sarkisian recollects that the burglars were beating the little children and adults equally strong. "One of them put a gun in my mouth," the man said. However, experts say that it can be difficult to speak about self-defense if the man continued to defend himself and his family after the danger had passed. "If the danger passed, but the man continued defending himself and even started to attack them in return, then the story may take a different turn. The same can be said if the wounds of the victims are on their backs," an expert told Izvestia newspaper. "In Russian legal practice, it is nearly impossible to prove that the man was acting within the limits of admissible self-defense. Establishing the limits of self-defense depends on how realistic the victim [Sarkisian] was when perceiving the threat and the degree of the threat.

This is a matter of subjective perception, which is very hard to prove. Russian courts tend to accuse a person on trial of exceeding the limits of self-defense rather than acquitting them," lawyer Maksim Shemetov told the Kommersant newspaper. Yevgeny Chernousov, another lawyer, believes that the serious consequences of the case may play against the owner of the house. "If he had killed one man, then it would have been possible to have him acquitted. But three corpses is just too much. I personally think that the man is not guilty at all, but our laws may decide otherwise.

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