Russian Jury Convicts Man Of Murders In Great Smoky Mountains

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A jury in the Russian Federation Court for the Moscow Region found Yuri Solovyev, 44, guilty of the July 2002 murders of his roommates Vladimir Yemelyanov and Sufiya Arslanova in Gatlinburg, Tn., where all three worked on seasonal tourist visas. Solovyev is expected to be sentenced within the coming weeks.

Shortly after the murders, Sevier County and Gatlinburg authorities brought homicide charges against Solovyev for the grisly crime based upon a strong circumstantial case. The proof showed Solovyev acquired the murder weapon and purchased cleaning solutions to attempt to clean the apartment, while giving conflicting statements about the whereabouts of his missing roommates.

Solovyev fled before the bloody crime scene was discovered, but the blood of the victims was found in his abandoned automobile, and, thereafter, video-surveillance identified him using the victims’ credit cards.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation traced Solovyev to Moscow where he admitted to the Russian authorities in 2010 that he stole more than $19,000 in cash from the victims and buried their bodies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but he claimed an unidentified man named “Alex”, unknown to the U.S. investigation, committed the murders.

Based upon Solovyev’s statements to the Russian authorities, Gatlinburg authorities found the remains of the victims almost a decade after the murders, along with the murder weapon and other evidence which officials said served to support the evidence that Solovyev acted alone. Solovyev is scheduled to be sentenced later in January.

Extradition of Russian nationals to the United States is not possible. However, Russian law allows for Russian nationals to be prosecuted under Russian law for crimes committed outside of the Russian Federation. This is the first time in which the Russians have prosecuted a Russian national on U.S. murder charges in response to a request for transfer of prosecution. In conjunction with bringing their own murder charges, Russian authorities spent a week in Gatlinburg, interviewing the witnesses and the local detective, after considering the investigative materials and lab reports transmitted under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian commended the verdict and stated, “I am very pleased the Department of Justice has been able to assist the authorities in Sevier County with bringing this man to justice. It sends an important message that fleeing to a foreign country – even if extradition is not possible – does not necessarily preclude a successful prosecution. This is a case of excellent law enforcement effort, diligence and persistence in bringing this defendant to justice for this gruesome crime. I especially applaud the work of Gatlinburg Detective Tim Williams, FBI Special Agent Buddy Early and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chuck Atchley. We hope that the sentence imposed in Russia will reflect the seriousness of the offense.”

“This case is an example of how criminal justice is not constrained by geographical boundaries. Local, state, federal, and international law enforcement partners all have a common interest in ensuring that there are no safe havens for fugitives from justice. The FBI commends the cooperative efforts of everyone involved," said Kenneth L. Moore, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Knoxville Division.

This case was prosecuted as a result of the efforts by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chuck Atchley, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, City of Gatlinburg Detective Tim Williams, and FBI Special Agent Buddy Early and Legal Attaché Bryan Earl.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEY, KARIN  990 GREEN POND RD SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FAILURE TO APPEAR POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA --- AR-RAHMAAN, CHRISTIANA ALISA  3210 BROAD STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37408  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Alexander Calls Death Of Justice Scalia "A Great Loss To Our Country"

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) made the following statement Saturday regarding the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: “Justice Scalia's death is a great loss to our country. He was a skilled jurist and a delightful man. In his opinions he consistently did his best to keep our country true to its constitutional founding principles.” (click for more)

Black History Month Hero - Theodore McGraw (Kidd) AKA "Pongee" - And Response

I grew up in "Old St. Elmo" on 39th Street behind the Incline. As a child I remember my older brother "Pongee" as being my hero. This month of February being Black History Month, I cannot think of a better person to be honored than my late older brother, Theodore McGraw (Kidd) aka "Pongee" of St. Elmo (Gamble Town). Growing up without my father, Theodore was always available ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Evaluators Earn $11.70

A number of curious job notices, under the heading of ‘General Labor,’ have appeared on various Craigslists, that free Internet portal where you can find everything from a used lawn tractor, guitar lessons or even a saucy Saturday night date. This week on the Charlotte, N.C., Craigslist, for example, there appeared an offer to become a “reader/evaluator” for a company known as Measurement ... (click for more)

Red Bank Rolls To Region 2-A/AA Mat Title With Ease

Shane Turner has been waiting a long time for this year's wrestling season to get here. He took over the head coaching job at Red Bank four years ago and his Lions have taken their share of whippings during that time. Turner kept preaching to his kids to stay faithful to the program and to keep working hard and that eventually, good things would come their way. They're ... (click for more)

Bradley Wrestlers Win Region 4-AAA With 7 Champions

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – There was never much doubt about which team would walk away from the Region 4-AAA wrestling tournament with the most individual champs and the overall team title. The Bradley Bears, ranked second in the state all year, have had a great season to this point and it just got a little bit better early Saturday evening at Cleveland Middle School. By claiming ... (click for more)