A young married couple have been detained on suspicion of knifing a veteran circus clown to death in his Moscow region apartment after he refused to surrender his belongings, investigators said.
The 61-year-old clown and distinguished artist, identified in media reports as Yevgeny Maranogli, was found dead with 16 stab wounds and a slit throat in his apartment in the town of Dzerzhinsky on Saturday, regional investigators said in a statement on their official website late Thursday.
Investigators said the couple, both in their mid-20s, attacked the clown after he refused to give up his possessions. The husband, an unemployed ex-convict, stabbed the clown multiple times. Maranogli resisted, which led to more stabbing.
The couple then stole Maranogli's valuables, including a telephone, notebook computer and his clowning awards, before fleeing the scene. An abortive call to a taxi led investigators to them, and some of Maranogli's awards and medals were later found in their apartment.
They face up to life in prison if convicted of murder.
Investigators said the woman was an acquaintance of Maranogli and had been a guest in his apartment at the time of the attack.
The Big Moscow State Circus on Prospekt Vernadskogo, described Maranogli as a "talented clown and animal trainer, an amazing master of the ring known to many circus fans," in a statement on its website announcing his death.