Prosecutors accused alleged SeaGate serial killer Dmitriy Yakovlev of leaving a grisly looking Dracula mask at the spot where he dumped the dismembered remains of one of his three victims as his murder trial opened in federal court last week.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Hector’s opening salvo against Yakovlev was a blistering one — as she described the grizzly scene in the thatch of New Jersey woods where the remains of jewelry importer Viktor Alekseyev were found in January, 2006 — three years after he disappeared.
Witnesses said that Alekseyev’s body was found in three garbage bags near a Dracula mask sporting a bloody grin that sat atop a bed of leaves.
Hector then brought in a pathologist, who painstakingly detailed how Alekseyev, who was last seen alive with Yakovlev, was dismembered.
Dr. Lyla Perez testified that Yakovlev, who worked as a surgeon in Russia from 1995 to 1996, had the medical knowledge to dismember the body, which she said had been cut apart without hacking into bone.
But defense attorney Michael Gold tried to pull the jury’s suspicion away from his client by getting Dr. Perez to agree that the body was cut up like a Thanksgiving turkey — so anyone with knowledge about cutting up a holiday bird could have done it.
Yakovlev is being charged with killing and stealing the identity of Alekseyev and Russian translator Irina Malezhik. He is also implicated in the death of Michael Klein, an NYPD mechanic who sold his SeaGate property to Yakovlev before he disappeared in 2003.
Out of Yakovlev’s three alleged victims, only Alekseyev had been found. Both Klein and Malezhik are missing and presumed dead.
Yakovlev and his wife Julia were initially arrested for identity theft when they were caught pulling $6,500 from Malezhik’s bank account after she disappeared from her Brighton Beach home in 2007.
Malezhik, who worked as a Russian interpreter for Brooklyn Civil Court, met Yakovlev during a case he was involved in. She also tutored Yakovlev and his wife in English, according to court papers.
In interviews with police, Yakovlev shrugged off the checks — as well as charges of identity theft — claiming they were repayments of loans he had given Malezhik before she vanished.
But that was before Yakovlev’s “trophies” were found.
Investigators searching Yakovlev’s home found Malezhik’s underwear in a basement boiler room. Investigators also uncovered pornographic photos ofAlekseyev.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hector is expected to outline the rest of her case against Yakovlev this week. Julia Yakovlev has already pled guilty to the identity theft charges.
City sued for snowstorm response
A Bedford-Stuyvesant family will sue the city over its handling of the Dec. 26 snowstorm — a botched clean-up that left some streets impassible and may have played a factor in a 56-year-old woman’s death.
Attorneys for the family of Lillie Cockburn said that street conditions were so bad after two feet of snow fell on Brooklyn that EMS crews couldn’t get to the woman, who desperately needed medical attention when her blood sugar fell to dangerous levels.
Attorney John Dalli said that after waiting for paramedics for six hours on Dec. 27, Cockburn’s son Jason shoveled his way out of his building. A few blocks away he spotted a fire truck, but firefighters told him they couldn’t get close enough to his building to help.
Jason Cockburn then grabbed a relative’s car and took his mother to Interfaith Hospital. When he finally got there, doctors were unable to help and Lillie Cockburn died at the hospital.
“The doctors told me that had she gotten to the hospital a little earlier, they could have saved her,” Jason Cockburn told the New York Daily News. “I didn’t get the help that I needed.”
Dalli set his lawsuit in motion by filing papers in Brooklyn Supreme Court requesting all police and FDNY incident reports regarding Lillie Cockburn’s death.
City attorneys say they haven’t received Dalli’s suit, but promised to review it thoroughly once they do.