Who is Alexander Muznikas? Rope-jumping instructor gets 4 years in prison after woman falls to death
KARAGANDA, KAZAKHSTAN: Alexander Muznikas, 33, a rope-jumping instructor, was given a four-year prison term on July 28, 2022, after Yevgenia Leontyeva fell 100ft to her death in front of her frightened husband on October 10, 2021, at a rope-jumping facility in the Kazakh city of Karaganda.
Muznikas, who was found guilty of providing activities that did not adhere to safety regulations and resulted in a fatality through negligence, denied the claims made against him by the prosecution.
According to eKaraganza.kz, a Russian-language news site, Muznikas said to the court, "In my actions, there was no intent to harm anyone, let alone cause anyone death." Muznikas also found it offensive that despite other employees working at the site that same day, he was the only one being tried in connection with the case. "I would like to add that I was not the one who had developed the system that malfunctioned and led to the tragedy," he added.
Leontyeva's husband, Tkachenko, was crestfallen when speaking of the incident. "My wife was crushed before my eyes," he said. He can be heard saying "I love you!" to his wife in Russian in a video of the incident just before her body hit the hard sidewalk. The shouts of astonished onlookers can also be heard in the footage.
Despite having successfully done so previously, Leontyeva had been hesitant to jump from the Constellation hotel's balcony, according to the prosecution. Earlier, a court heard that she asked her female buddy to take the lead and that she was unharmed. Eyewitnesses said that Leontyeva seemed frightened, but they also overheard teacher Muznikas encouraging her to leap.
"It’s not the first time you’ve jumped. You know how to do it. Did I put a safety harness on you for nothing?" people heard the instructor tell Leontyeva. Then, Leontyeva appears in the footage, jumping from the rooftop, and crashing through an iron gate before hitting the ground. Her rope was tied to a cross-line that was designed to break her fall and keep her suspended above the ground. However, it may have broken or had not been fastened.
In the video, a man can also be seen tumbling into the street as she drops. He is reported to have been gripping the safety harness, which was supposed to be fastened to a tree when the impact of Leontyeva's 100-foot fall knocked him to the ground.
The fall shattered Leontyeva's bones on the right side of her body, in addition to a severe skull fracture, brain damage, and other trauma. She was rushed to a medical facility but passed away as doctors tried to revive her.
Tkachenko argued that employees managing the rope-jumping site were to be blamed for his wife's 'murder' while speaking outside of the courts. "They did not coordinate their actions. The instructor didn’t look down to make sure the rope was tied. He just told her, ‘Jump!’ I don’t wish this on anyone. He is guilty," said the widower. Tkachenko now has to raise three boys, ages 8, 11, and 12 alone, one of whom the family had adopted following a relative's passing.