Killer tries to link two murders with jailed punk band

The bodies of two murdered women were found beneath a scrawled message demanding freedom for jailed members of Pussy Riot, Russian officials said.

An investigator has cautioned the killer was probably trying to mislead police by drawing attention to supporters of the punk provocateurs.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement the women, aged 76 and 38, were killed late last week in their apartment in the central city of Kazan with the words “Free Pussy Riot” written on the wall in what was presumed to be blood.

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The substance is yet to confirmed, however.

It did not provide the women’s names and did not reveal details about their occupations or whether they had any connection to the band. Russian tabloid Lifenews quoted an unnamed investigator as saying the bodies were disfigured by multiple stab wounds.

The jailed band members’ attorney said on Twitter that “what happened in Kazan is horrible,” calling the case “either a horrendous provocation or a psychopathic” case.

“I am sorry that some freaks are using Pussy Riot’s band name,” Nikolai Polozov was further quoted by Interfax as saying.

Earlier this month, a Moscow court sentenced three band members to two years in jail for performing a “punk prayer” against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow cathedral in February.

The case has polarised Russians. Kremlin-friendly television networks and media covered the “prayer” in mostly negative terms, and the country’s dominant Orthodox Church called their stunt sacrilegious. But, hundreds of artists, musicians and other intellectuals have signed petitions urging authorities to free the band.

A detective in Kazan told a Russian news agency the murderer was trying to cover up the crime by attributing the murder to the band’s supporters. The criminal “was trying to avoid suspicion” by misleading police, Andrey Sheptitsky told RBK Daily.

Wooden crosses that stood outside Orthodox churches have been toppled by people who claimed to be the band’s supporters. The band’s manager and husband of one of the jailed rockers said the band disapproved of the vandalism.