Leszek Pekalski, 51, became known as the ‘Vampire of Bytow’, after the Polish serial killer was convicted for the murders of 17 women, although authorities believe that the true number is around 60.
The convicted murderer was given a 25 year sentence, and later this month he is up for parole. A judge may allow him to leave prison, or sentence him to life in a psychiatric unit. So far, he has served 25 years in a psychiatric unit.
Pekalski was sentenced after a number of crimes, notably the murder of a 17-year-old girl. Pekalski has bludgeoned, beat, strangled, and raped his victims to death.
The Daily Mail reports:
Dressed in a green shirt and matching pants, Pekalski covered his face with a black hat and his handcuffs hands as he made his court appearance.
The court hearing comes 21 years after Pekalski was convicted of killing a 17-year-old girl and sentenced to 25 years.
By the end of the year, he’ll have served the 25 year sentence, as he was first imprisoned in 1992.
The Provincial Court in the northern city of Slupsk issued the verdict in the case after an eight-month trial.
Pekalski is recognized by the Polish media as one of the deadliest serial killers in Poland.
He was first sentenced to two years in prison in 1992 for raping a 40-year-old woman, and was later accused on 20 crimes, including 17 murders.
Prosecutors accused Pekalski of strangling, knifing, bludgeoning or kicking his victims to death and then raping them.
Like the notorious OJ Simpson trial DNA evidence was crucial for the prosecutors’ case, but it was revealed that police mishandled hair strands during the investigation and they lost evidential value.
During the investigation, Pekalski admitted to 60 killings, but later changed his testimony, saying police had forced him to confess by plying him with food and alcohol.
At the opening of his trial in April, Pekalski admitted killing 14 women, then later pleaded innocent.
The court ordered Pekalski to serve his prison term in a psychiatric institution.
‘I’m a gullible man, and I was easily persuaded by what the officers had told me,’ Pekalski reportedly told the judge at the time. ‘I’m mentally weak, and if somebody pushes me, I break down. Then I admit to things I have never done.
‘I have never killed anyone. I’m so scared. The prosecutor threatened that the victims’ families or the public would kill me if I’m acquitted or get a mild sentence.
‘He yelled at me and told me to confess everything.’
After hearing from psychiatric experts and reviewing observation documents, a regional court will decide June 19 if Pekalski will go free.
The judge interviewed six experts and Pekalski himself in a closed-door meeting.
If the court decides to further imprison Pekalsi, he would be put into the Center for the Prevention of dangerous behavior in Gostynin, which currently holds just over 30 other people.
The ruling would show that Pekalski needed therapy, and that he showed signs of impairments or personality disorders.