Man Gets 11 Years for Starovoitova Murder

The St. Petersburg City Court on Thursday sentenced the man convicted of organizing the 1998 murder of State Duma Deputy Galina Starovoitova to 11 years in prison, Interfax reported.

On Wednesday, prosecutors asked the court to sentence Vyacheslav Lelyavin to 13 years and four months in prison for his part in the killing.

As of Thursday evening, prosecutors and defense lawyers had not indicated whether they would appeal the sentence, Interfax reported.

Prosecutors also asked that Lelyavin's co-conspirator, Pavel Stekhnovsky, be sentenced to four years for the illegal acquisition and possession of firearms. The court handed Stekhnovsky a two-year sentence, however, and ordered his immediate release because the statute of limitations covering the crime had expired, RIA-Novosti reported.

On Sept. 22, a St. Petersburg City Court jury found Lelyavin guilty of organizing the murder, but cleared Stekhnovsky of charges that he facilitated the crime by buying the weapon used to kill Starovoitova.

The same court convicted Yury Kolchin and Vitaly Akishin in June 2005 of playing the lead role in organizing the murder and killing Starovoitova, respectively.

St. Petersburg prosecutors are still trying to determine who might have ordered the contract killing and why. They have disclosed only that investigators are searching for three additional suspects and that they believe the murder was related to Staravoitova's political activities, Itar-Tass reported.

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