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Russia: Professor's trial in student's dismemberment delayed

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — A court in St. Petersburg agreed Tuesday to delay the trial of a prominent history professor charged with murdering and dismembering a female student. The St. Petersburg City Court postponed the trial's start until Monday at the request of defense lawyers, who argued they hadn't had enough time to study the evidence.

Investigators allege that 63-year-old Oleg Sokolov, who taught at St. Petersburg State University, shot and killed 24-year-old Anastasia Yeshchenko at his apartment in November and then dismembered her body.

Sokolov was detained after being pulled from the Moika River outside his apartment. Authorities alleged he had a backpack with two severed arms inside. The limbs were identified as Yeshchenko's. Investigators say other body parts were found in the river and in Sokolov’s apartment in the historic part of St. Petersburg, less than one mile from the Hermitage Museum.

Sokolov told investigators he and Yeshchenko had a romantic relationship and that he shot her during a quarrel. Sokolov was known for his books about the Napoleonic era and his enthusiastic participation in reenactments of historic battles. The murder case has attracted broad attention in Russia.

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