Trial begins for man accused of stabbing, killing Kirkland family

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by DEBORAH FELDMAN and KYLE MOORE / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 20, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 20 at 6:14 PM

SEATTLE --- More than three years after a horrifying quadruple murder, the man charged with killing four members of a Kirkland family finally goes to trial.

The trial began Wednesday morning for Conner Schierman, 28, accused of murdering his neighbor, her sister and her two young sons before setting their Kirkland home on fire in 2006.

A grieving father was the first to testify.

It was a painful afternoon in court for Leonid Milken. On July 17 2006, while Milken was serving in Iraq for the National Guard, his wife Olga, 28, his sister-in-law Lyubov Bovina, 24, and sons Justin,5, and Andrew, 3, were murdered.

Their home was set on fire to cover up the crime.

Milken, who wore his military uniform to court, spoke about the knife he found in his burned out house which prosecutors say is the murder weapon.

"I became very suspicious, so I laid it down and immediately called Kirkland police. And notified them that I found the knife," he said.

Twenty-eight-year-old Connor Schierman, a neighbor of the family, is charged with four counts of aggravated murder. Court documents say Schierman told arresting officers he woke up from an alcohol induced blackout covered in blood with scratches and wounds.

During opening statements, the prosecution said bloody clothes with Schierman's DNA were pulled from the burned-out house. They said DNA from Olga and her sister were found on sneakers and other items found in Schierman's apartment. They also said they identified the murder weapons, which were found at the scene. They include a hunting knife, an axe, and another small knife. They said Schierman came to the house that night with gloves and a flashlight, and that after the murders, he bought gasoline and set everything on fire.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott O'Toole told a jury an overwhelming amount of DNA evidence points to Schierman.

"The statistical probability that someone, for example, shared the defendants DNA found at the window, one in 13 trillion . There is no doubt, ladies and gentlemen, the person that committed the crime is sitting in the courtroom today," said Scott O'Toole.

The prosecution also said the bodies of the four victims were found just 10 feet from each other, all of them stabbed to death. The two little boys' throats were slit and the two women were found naked.

Pavel Milkin is the grandfather of the two small boys who were killed. He said he's watched his son, Leonid, wrestle with the loss of his entire family. He said he and his son spent last night watching old home movies, trying to hold onto the wonderful memories of their family, because after today, they'll have terrible images in their minds.

"Today is the day. I feel very bad," said an emotional Milkin. "I almost cried because it's probably coming everything that's happened. And most of those things, I don't want to be heard."

In an unusual move, the defense did not offer an opening statement. The trial is expected to last through spring.

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