Trigger warning: descriptions of violence, death.
In this article:
- In 2007, a group of 19-year-old men known as the “Dnepropetrovsk maniacs” committed at least 21 murders before being apprehended by law enforcement.
- The group was notorious for killing random people with crude tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, and pipes.
- They were also known for filming the murders, which they later claimed was because they were trying to sell snuff videos to a foreign website owner.
- If you’ve ever seen the “Three Guys One Hammer” video that circulated around the internet back in 2007, you’re already familiar with the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs.
- That video is just a small window into the atrocities committed by these brutal serial killers.
Of course, every murder shows a lack of respect for human life. But, of all the murder stories I’ve ever heard, few come close to the vile level of disregard for human life displayed by the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs.
In the span of just two months, three men of just 19 years old were involved in the murder of at least 21 people. Their victims were chosen seemingly at random and then bludgeoned with blunt objects like hammers and metal pipes.
Perhaps most disrespectful of all, many of these murders were filmed and some of these videos were leaked on the internet.
If you’ve ever heard of the snuff video “Three Guys One Hammer” that made its way around the internet starting in 2007, then you’re already aware of the terrifying acts of the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs.
However, the horrific events that unfolded in that video are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the atrocities that these three young men committed.
As a warning, the details of this article are extremely graphic and disturbing. There’s no way to sugarcoat the unconscionable things that these men did. This is the story of the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs, some of the most terrifying serial killers that the world has ever seen.
The men now known as the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs are Viktor Sayenko, Igor Suprunyuk, and Alexander Hanzha. All three of these men were born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine to wealthy, influential families. The three all went to school together and developed a strange friendship.
Their descent into mania apparently began when the three boys decided that they would learn to overcome their phobias by participating in radical activities.
For instance, they would overcome their fear of heights by standing on the edge of the balcony of an apartment. Reportedly, Hanzha had a fear of blood (hemophobia), which the boys sought to overcome by torturing and killing animals.
While the three young maniacs all had jobs, they continued to participate in these twisted, sadistic activities.
They also became increasingly aligned with Nazi ideology, even drawing swastikas with the blood of the animals that they slaughtered. On top of that, the trio started committing armed robberies.
Eventually, they decided that that wouldn’t satisfy them anymore and they moved on to murder.
The Dnepropetrovsk Killing Spree
The first of the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs’ murders occurred in June of 2007.
According to their confessions, Sayenko and Suprunyuk were walking down the street when they encountered a 33-year-old woman. Suprunyuk, who had been carrying a hammer with him, spun around as the woman passed and bashed her in the head with the tool.
The two boys killed the woman and her body was found by her mother not long after. But the boys weren’t done for the day.
Less than an hour later, Sayenko and Suprunyuk murdered another man who had been sleeping on a bench nearby. They took him to the woods and struck him repeatedly with a hammer and even gouged his eyes out with a screwdriver.
The man was completely unrecognizable by the time they were done.
Throughout the month of July, Sayenko and Suprunyuk would commit at least 19 more murders, targeting random people on the streets.
One of the men that they murdered was a recently discharged army recruit who was savagely beaten to death as he walked home from a nightclub. On many occasions, they would film the murders, beat people to death in front of multiple witnesses, and steal the possessions of those who they had just killed.
Many of the victims were tortured, some of them even having their eyes gouged out while they were still alive.
In one particularly gruesome case, the young men cut the fetus out of a pregnant woman. The terrifying acts committed by the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs within the short span of a few weeks are almost unthinkable.
Soon, the entire community was staying home at night and locking their doors. Local law enforcement released very little information about their investigations or suspects, but fear spread through the small Ukrainian community like wildfire.
Finally, a breakthrough came when the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs murdered a 14-year-old boy in the woods while he was out fishing. The boy’s friend managed to survive by hiding in the woods and was later able to identify the murderers for law enforcement.
The Downfall of the Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs
Having identified Suprunyuk, Sayenko, and Hanzha as the primary suspects, local law enforcement began to track their movements. Eventually, they were able to track the young maniacs down when they turned on a cellphone that they had stolen from one of their victims.
The three were arrested in late July 2007.
When questioned by law enforcement, all three of the men quickly confessed, although Suprunyuk eventually withdrew his confession.
The maniacs claimed that they had been hired by a rich, foreign website operator who promised to pay them if they made 40 snuff videos. One of the suspect’s girlfriends corroborated this claim. However, this motivation was ignored during the trial due to the fact that there was no solid evidence to support it.
Sayenko and Hanzha both immediately pled guilty to all of the charges brought against them. Suprunyuk, on the other hand, decided to plead not guilty on the basis of insanity. The victims’ families, however, pointed to the fact that the boys committed their crimes carefully and were fully aware of what they were doing.
Igor Suprunyuk was eventually convicted of 21 murders, Viktor Sayenko of 18. Both of them were sentenced to life in prison. Both men are still detained in prison. Sayenko’s parents have been particularly outspoken about their son’s alleged innocence, calling him a scapegoat and the victim of unfair sentencing.
Alexander Hanzha was never proven to be involved in any of the killings. He was found guilty of robbery, though, and sentenced to nine years in prison.
He has since been released and maintains that he never had anything to do with the murders and has said, “If I had known the atrocities that they were capable of committing, I would have not gone near them at gunpoint.”
It is unclear to this day whether these men committed these horrific murders in hopes of getting a large payout from a mysterious website owner they met on the internet or if they did it purely for the thrill.
Regardless, the story of the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs shows just how vicious and disrespectful some humans are capable of becoming.