Man Fighting Extradition to U.S. on Murder Rap Commits Suicide in Jerusalem Prison

Body found in the cell he shared with seven other detainees.

A detainee in a Jerusalem jail who was arrested at the request of American authorities on suspicions of committing two murders in the United States committed suicide in his cell yesterday.

Eugene Perchikov, 62, was being held at the Russian Compound detention facility in Jerusalem when he cut himself with a disposable razor and bled to death. Prison officials believe he used his medical training to cut himself at a location on his body where it would cause fatal results.

American law enforcement officials also suspect his medical education helped Perchikov commit the murders of two women whose deaths were initially thought to have been from natural causes.

Suspicions that Perchikov killed the women were reinforced when it was learned that, years earlier, he had written a book describing the "perfect murder."

Law enforcement officials began to suspect that he used the same sophisticated murder technique described in his book. Extradition documents filed against Perchikov in Jerusalem District Court sought his transfer to the United States to stand trial for the 2002 murder in Brooklyn of Larysa Vasserman and the 2004 murder in Manhattan of Tatiana Korkhova.

In both cases, Perchikov took out a large life insurance policy on the lives of the women two to three years before their deaths, naming himself as the beneficiary. In applying for the insurance, he allegedly fraudulently described the extent of their property holdings and wages and described the women as his relatives. In one case, he collected $1 million in insurance proceeds.

Both women were found dead in bed. Autopsies initially led to the conclusion the women had died of natural causes despite appearing to be in good health. Investigators ultimately suspected that the women died after being injected with the drugs apomorphine and noradrenaline, which are not detectible in the bloodstream after death.

The break in the case was provided in part by the discovery that Perchikov had written a book in the 1990s in which he described a perfect murder in which the two drugs are put in the victim's food.

In 2005, after Vasserman's family filed a civil suit against Perchikov over her death and the payment of the insurance proceeds to him, Perchikov fled to Israel. He was arrested about two months ago at the request of American authorities and an extradition request followed about two weeks ago.

Perchikov's body was found yesterday in the cell he shared with 7 other detainees. The Prison Service and the police have opened an investigation into his death. His lawyer, Mechael Ironi, said Perchikov had stood a good chance of beating the extradition request.