Man gets life in kidnap-ransom case

Man gets life in kidnap-ransom case
Associated Press
LA Daily News
Article Last Updated:05/24/2007 12:58:04 AM PDT
A Ukrainian man was sentenced to life in prison for his part in a kidnapping-for-ransom scheme that resulted in the killing of five people – three from the San Fernando Valley – whose bodies were found in a Northern California reservoir.

Petro Krylov, 34, avoided the death penalty by arguing that he participated in the kidnapping because the Russian mob had threatened to kill him and his relatives if he didn’t.

Two other men, louri Mikhel and Jurijus Kadamovas, were convicted and sentenced to death earlier this year for their roles in the crime.

Prosecutors said the men were part of a ring that sought to amass a fortune by kidnapping affluent business people, some of whom were Russian immigrants, from Los Angeles in late 2001 and early 2002 and extorting money from their families and friends. About $1.2 million was collected in ransom.

The victims were killed regardless of whether the ransoms were paid, prosecutors said. The bodies were tied to weights and dumped in the New Melones Reservoir near Yosemite National Park.

Krylov’s attorneys argued that Mikhel and Kadamovas, the ringleaders, threatened to harm their client’s family if he did not help them with the kidnapping and ransom scheme.

U.S. District Judge S. James Otero last month had asked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Dugdale and Susan Dewitt to reconsider their decision to seek Krylov’s execution because he was less culpable than Mikhel and Kadamovas. Otero also noted “all of the evidence” that Krylov had acted under duress.

The judge thanked the jury, Department of Justice and the IRS for bringing “this dangerous, sophisticated gang to justice.”

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