Russian sisters who stabbed, bludgeoned father to death after years of sexual and physical abuse charged with murder
Mikhail Khachaturyan was asleep in his rocking chair when the three sisters attacked him with a kitchen knife and a hammer
Three sisters, who suffered years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their father, decided to take the ultimate step of killing him as they saw no other way out of their living nightmare.
The sisters, now aged 18, 19 and 20, have been charged with premeditated murder.
After Mikhail Khachaturyan summoned his daughters on a summer evening last year and doused each of them with pepper spray for not keeping the living room tidy, the teenagers decided that they had enough.
Maria, Angelina and Krestina waited for their father to fall asleep in his rocking chair and then attacked him with a kitchen knife and a hammer, and he eventually succumbed to his injuries.
Mikhail, a war veteran, repeatedly hit his daughters and sexually abused them. He had even kept a stockpile of knives, guns, and rifles at home despite being diagnosed with a neurological disorder, according to court filings.
He was also known to often shoot indoors, and repeatedly threatened neighbors and family with violence.
The case of the Khachaturyan sisters has stirred the Russian public, with over 200,000 people signing an online petition urging the prosecutors to drop the murder charges.
Reports state that the charges could land each of the girls behind bars for up to 20 years.
The incident has thrown light on the way the Russian justice system handles sexual abuse and domestic violence cases.
Yulia Gorbunova, who authored an extensive report on domestic violence for Human Rights Watch last year, said: "The Khachaturyan case is quite indicative of the general situation with domestic violence and how the Russian state responds to this problem."
The sisters' case has garnered significant global attention too, with protests being staged outside Russian embassies in over 20 locations abroad.
A major demonstration was also planned in central Moscow on Saturday, however, the event had to be canceled as city hall refused to provide security for the massive gathering scheduled.
The case has even inspired theatre performances in solidarity with the sisters.
Krestina's lawyer, Alexei Liptser, said: "The first day we met she said she's better off here, in jail, than living at home the way she had been," USA Today reported.
Reporting their father to the police was not an option for the Khachaturyan sisters, who feared that their lives would only get worse after that.
The sisters had reportedly shared their ordeal with their school friends, however, they pleaded them to not report it to the police.
Reports state that the girls attended less than two months of classes in total in the year before the attack, however, the school administration did nothing.
The sisters have caught international attention as even the prosecutors in the case have acknowledged the extraordinarily violent circumstances that pushed the teens to attack their own father.
However, the prosecutors continue to insist that the sisters should be tried for murder.
The sisters have reportedly been released on bail and are prohibited from seeing each other, witnesses in the case or the media.
Out of the 2,500 women convicted of manslaughter or murder in 2016 to 2018, nearly 2,000 killed a family member in a domestic violence setting, according to the research on Russian criminal court cases compiled by media outlet Media Zona.