Having been declared sane and fit to stand trial, Chikatilo went to court on 14 April 1992, and throughout the trial he was held in an iron cage designed to keep him apart from the relatives of his many victims. Referred to in the media as “The Maniac”, his behaviour in court ranged from bored to manic, singing and talking gibberish; at one point he was even reported to have dropped his trousers, waving his genitals at the assembled crowd.
The judge appeared less than impartial, often overruling Chikatilo’s defence lawyer, and it was clear that Chikatilo’s guilt was a foregone conclusion. The trial lasted until August and, surprisingly, given the judge’s bias, the verdict was not announced until two months later, on 15 October 1990, when Chikatilo was found guilty on 52 of the 53 murder charges, and sentenced to death for each of the murders.