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While the motivation for the grisly murders was largely financial, they were facilitated greatly by the Wolf of Moscow’s already violent nature. Domestic violence was commonplace in his household, to the point that on one occasion he nearly murdered his own son. With the New Economic Policy, the often financially destitute Komaroff saw potential profit in the horse trade, just not in the way most would go about it — he invited potential buyers into his home, plied them with alcohol, and murdered them (via The True Crime Database). After looting their bodies of whatever money they had (rarely more than a few cents), he would bind their bodies and dispose of them (via Keller On The Loose).
His wife Sophia soon discovered what he had been doing, but apparently chose to become his accomplice. Officials eventually began to correlate the appearances of the bodies with the days that local horse markets were open, and narrowed their suspicions to Komaroff. After searching his barn for alcohol that neighbors reported to have been the source of his domestic violence, they instead found his latest victim. After a brief escape, his arrest, three suicide attempts, and his confession, Komaroff and his wife were executed (via Find a Grave).
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