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Dr. Maxim Vladimirovich PETROV






A.K.A.: "Doctor Killer" - "Doctor Death"
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Robberies (47) - Arsons
Number of victims: 12 - 19
Date of murders: 1999 - 2000
Date of arrest: January 17, 2000
Date of birth: 1966
Victims profile: Men and women (patients)
Method of murder: Poisoning (lethal mix of a variety of different drugs)
Location: St Petersburg, Russia
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on 2002

Maxim Vladimirovich Petrov (born 1966) (Russian: Максим Петров) is a Russian doctor and serial killer. He is currently serving a life sentence for killing 12 patients. The Russian media nicknamed him "Doctor Killer" and "Doctor Death".


Between 1997 and 2000 Petrov, who lived on Vasilievsky Island in St Petersburg, committed 47 robberies.

He would visit a patient at their home, unannounced, and usually in the morning when relatives would be at work. He would then measure their blood pressure and suggest they needed an injection. He anaesthetised them and while they were then unconscious, stole their possessions, even taking rings and earrings from the victims' bodies.

The first few victims did not die, waking up later after he had left. The first murder took place on 2 February 1999, during his thirtieth robbery. He was interrupted when the daughter of an anaesthetised patient returned home while he was stealing possessions. He stabbed her with a screwdriver and then strangled the patient with a stocking.

After this, his modus operandi changed; he began to inject his victims with a lethal mix of a variety of different drugs, so that the police would think that the killer had little medical knowledge. He then set fire to their homes to destroy any evidence. Various possessions were later found in his flat, though he had already sold others at the market.

The police did not release a photofit of the suspect, thinking he would soon be caught. However, it took until 2000 for them to realise how the victims were being selected. All were included in the same list of lung patients who had undergone a fluorography, which he found in a local health centre. Using this list, they identified 72 possible future victims in an operation called "Medbrat" ("Male Nurse"), involving 700 police officers. They arrested Petrov when he visited one of the patients on 17 January 2000.

On his arrest, Petrov admitted to the murders, but recanted his confession a few months later, blaming it on the intense psychological pressure he had endured while in custody.


Petrov was suspected of 19 murders but tried for just 17 in 2002.

He was found guilty of 12. Six patients were also seriously injured. He was sentenced by judge Valentina Kudriashovo to life in prison.

Personal life

At the time of his arrest, Petrov was married with three children: one from a first marriage and two from his second.


Russian Dr Death 'killed 17'

By Nick Paton Walsh - The Guardian

Tuesday 3 December 2002

A St Petersburg doctor who allegedly anaesthetised 50 elderly female patients in order to steal their family heirlooms is on trial for murdering 17 of them when they awoke prematurely to hear him rifling through their possessions.

Maxim Petrov, who is in his 30s and is an emergency doctor based on the central Vasilievski Island, is accused of a two-year reign of terror during which he preyed on frail pensioners while off-duty.

Survivors have portrayed a twisted killer who in early 2000 decided to start killing his victims, often using a range of brutal means.

Anastasia Plotnikova,said: "I remember a call at my flat at about 2pm. The young man presented himself as a doctor from the local clinic. The doctor took my blood pressure, which appeared to be high, and offered an injection. He spent a lot of time trying to find the vein, and I thought: 'how can a doctor have problems with such a thing?'

"When I woke, there was fire around me. I cried for help on the balcony. The fire service came but the flat was badly burned."

Ms Plotnikova later discovered that gold earrings, wedding rings and two packets of tea had been stolen.

Tomorrow his trial will continue in St Petersburg.

"Five victims have spoken [in court]", Valentina Kudriashovo, the judge for the trial, said. "They are all very old people. This will not be a quick process. He is accused of a series of robberies and killings."

Dr Petrov, who was arrested in late 2000, has become ubiquitous in the Russian media, which has dubbed him Doctor Killer and Doctor Death.

He has fiercely denied the allegations and recently wrote a protest letter to the television channel NTV from his jail cell complaining that a series of documentaries about the deaths were "libellous". The media has claimed that Dr Petrov loves his fame.

Another survivor, Valentina Pleshikova, told local media that she was only saved because her husband returned home early from work.

She claimed she was injected with a substance by Dr Petrov and fell asleep. When she awoke, she discovered the gas oven had been turned on, and all the windows shut.

Her husband dragged her from the flat to safety. They later discovered that a set of silver forks, and 200 roubles (5) were missing, plus some coffee.

When police began to suspect a serial killer was at work, they discovered that the victims may have been selected using a detailed list of elderly lung patients. They tracked down 72 possible future victims and arrested Dr Petrov as he called on one of them.



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