MOSCOW, September 9 (RAPSI) – The Supreme Court of Russia on Monday dismissed defense appeals against sentence given to members of the so-called GTA gang for robberies and murders, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.
In August 2018, four gang members were sentenced to life in prison, another one received a 20-year prison term. A court also recovered nearly 2 million rubles (about $30,000) from the defendants.
Prosecutors claim that from 2012 to 2014 the gang committed 15 robberies resulted in the murder of 17 people and attempted murder of another two. Moreover, the gang members were allegedly behind numerous attacks against automobile drivers. The criminals were installing handmade spikes on the roads causing drivers to stop and murdered victims for their possessions afterward, according to prosecutors.
A gang leader was killed in an armed stand-off with the police. Five other members of the gang left Russia and were put on the international wanted list.
The trial was marked by shooting that occurred in August 2017 in the building of the Moscow Regional Court. Two guards were accompanying five handcuffed defendants when one of them attacked a guard and tried to strangle the victim while others managed to obtain weapons. On the third floor of the courtroom defendants encountered officers of the National Guard. Three defendants were killed in the shooting, two were gravely injured and hospitalized. One of the officers was shot in a shoulder and guards received multiple traumas, according to investigation.
Russian media called the perpetrators of murders in the Moscow Region and M-4 Don highway a GTA gang as a reference to the popular videogame.