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Murder Suspect Used ‘Free Pussy Riot’ Sign as Decoy, Russia Says

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Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Russian investigators said they detained a man responsible for the murder of two women, who tried to muddle his tracks with a sign written in blood calling for the release of jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk band.

A 38-year-old PhD holder and professor in the Tatarstan capital of Kazan admitted to stabbing a mother 76, and daughter, 38, after a quarrel in the women’s apartment on Aug. 22, the regional Interior Ministry said in a statement published on its website today.

To deflect suspicion, the suspect tried to conceal their deaths as ritual killings, writing the slogan in English on a wall with the blood of one of the victims and arranging their bodies to form the number 69, according to the statement.

The suspect, who lived with his parents in Kazan to hide from creditors, owed the younger woman money after she took out a loan for several hundred thousand rubles to help him repay debt, investigators said. On the balcony of his apartment, police found a knife identified as the murder weapon and the mobile phones and a promissory note -- or IOU -- stolen from the victims, according to the statement.

Three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison Aug. 17 for a protest stunt against President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s largest church, Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow. The women were convicted of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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