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Investigators: Man confesses to killing 2 women found under Pussy Riot slogan

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:22 AM EDT, Fri August 31, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • He wrote the slogan, stole victims' property to throw off investigation, authorities said
  • Authorities found the mother and daughter dead in their apartment this week
  • The 38-year-old suspect is a professor at a university in the city where the victims lived
  • He knew the younger victim, according to state media; he confessed, investigators say

Moscow (CNN) -- Russian police arrested a suspect in the killing of two women found beneath a slogan demanding freedom for imprisoned members of the female punk rock band Pussy Riot.

Authorities found the mother and daughter -- ages 76 and 38 -- in their apartment Wednesday. The slogan "Free Pussy Riot" was scrawled in English on the wall above their bodies, according to local investigators.

The suspect, 38, was a friend of the younger victim and has confessed to the killings, investigators said in a statement on their website.

He is a professor at a university in Kazan, the Russian city where the killings occurred, it said.

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Investigators said the suspect stabbed the younger victim after a disagreement over a planned trip between the two, and killed her mother when she rushed into the room to help. The killings occurred on August 22.

He wrote the slogan, and stole the victims' money and cell phones, to make it appear that someone else committed the crime, authorities said.

The two women, who shared a home, died of numerous stab wounds, investigators in Russia's Republic of Tatarstan said.

An investigation is under way.

The murder inquiry comes two weeks after a Moscow court sentenced three members of Pussy Riot to two years' imprisonment, sparking international condemnation.

The three women were found guilty of hooliganism for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in one of the Russian Orthodox Church's most important cathedrals.

Representatives of the jailed band members rejected the supposed link between Pussy Riot and the slayings.

Nikolay Polozov, a lawyer for the band members, posted on Twitter: "It's weird that the media mention 'supporters of Pussy Riot' while commenting on the murder in Kazan. Dear journalists, please wait for official statements from Investigative committee."

"What happened in Kazan is terrible. Pussy Riot always supported peaceful protest," he added.

Two other members of the band have fled Russia "because of the danger," according to the husband of one of the three sent to prison.

Public opinion in Russia is divided on the band, which specializes in provocative performances aimed at making political statements.

Kazan, in western Russia, is one of the country's larger cities, with more than a million inhabitants.

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

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