Support The Moscow Times!

Ukrainian Sentenced to Life in N.Y.

Maksim Gelman killed four people. Seth Wenig

A man born in  Ukraine was sentenced to 200 years in prison for a violent stabbing rampage that left four people dead in New York City last winter.

Maksim Gelman, 24, hurled epithets at a surviving victim and was called a "sociopath" by the judge during a wild hearing in a Brooklyn court.

Gelman pleaded guilty to murder and other charges in the February 2011 spree, which included stabbing his stepfather and two others to death, fatally running down a pedestrian with a car and attacking a subway passenger.

When asked after his arrest why the victims had to die, Gelman told police, "Because I said so," according to court documents.

Gelman stabbed his stepfather to death in their Brooklyn home, then took off in the car and drove to the home of an acquaintance, Yelena Bulchenko. Bulchenko's friends said he was obsessed with the 20-year-old woman.

She wasn't home, but Gelman stabbed her 56-year-old mother to death, then waited nearly nine hours with the body for her daughter to return. When she walked in, he fatally stabbed her 11 times.

On Wednesday, Gelman interrupted Bulchenko's boyfriend, Gerard Honig, as he gave a statement before the court, telling him he had fallen in love "with a heroin addict," to which Honig responded, "You can burn in hell."

Gelman was removed from the courtroom for a short time, after which the judge gave him the maximum sentence. 

"You are a violent predator and sociopath," Judge Vincent Del Giudice said. 

Gelman also made a brief statement in court, saying "I'm not the bad guy here." Gelman had previously said he wasn't guilty. He has been under medical supervision and his attorney, Edward Friedman, described his client's mental state as fragile.

But given the evidence and a psychiatrist recent opinion that Gelman was not insane, he decided he wanted to start serving his time in a permanent facility, his lawyer said.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.