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MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian serial killer who butchered his nine victims with a knife and hammer, and said he ate the hearts of two of them, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.
Prosecutors said Alexander Bychkov targeted alcoholics and the homeless out of disdain for their way of life, lured them into deserted areas, killed them, dismembered them and hid the body parts.
They said he described all nine killings in a journal with the words: "The bloody hunt of a predator born in the year of the dragon," state-run news agency RIA reported.
A court in the Penza region convicted the 24-year-old, who sometimes called himself "Rambo", of nine murders between September 2009 and January 2012.
Bychkov was arrested last year on suspicion of stealing 10,000 roubles ($320) and merchandise from a hardware store, but was charged with the murders after investigators found evidence.
RIA said he told authorities he had eaten the hearts of two victims, but he was not charged over that because there was no evidence to prove it. ($1 = 30.8955 Russian roubles)
Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Pravin Char