Senator Chuck Schumer says the Department of Justice must make it a “top priority” to extradite a man from Australia wanted for the brutal 2009 murder of a Brighton Beach shopkeeper.
The senator wrote a letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her agency to ramp up efforts to return Abakar Gadiyev, who fled the United States after the deadly robbery of Vladimir Tolstykh, a 35-year-old father of four.
“Every second that ticks by is a second the Tolstykh family is denied some small measure of justice for this heinous murder of a loving husband and father and neighbor,” Schumer said in a press release sent Monday.
Gadiyev and his accomplice, Arsen Bashirov, allegedly used a hammer and hand axe to beat Tolstykh to death inside a parking garage on Brighton 11th Street. Their victim was reportedly on his way to work at the Brighton Bazaar when he was attacked. The robbers stole a payroll bag containing $34,000 in cash as well as the Russian candy and two pricey watches Tolstykh was carrying, according to the Daily News.
Detectives eventually tracked Gadiyev to Sydney, where he had been competing in national wresting matches, the New York Post reports. Australian authorities reportedly collected DNA from discarded soda cans and cigarette butts used by Gadiyev and matched the samples to genetic material found on a mask at the murder scene.
Gadiyev was arrested for the murder in 2014, but his extradition has been delayed because of procedural challenges, the Post reports. His partner, Bashirov, is believed to be hiding out in his native country of Turkmenistan, which, unlike Australia, does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, according to Schumer’s press release.
Rita Tolstykh, widow of the murdered shopkeeper told the Post that a conviction could help provide her with “Some kind of closure and peace of mind.”
She also worries that her husband’s killers may have had accomplices who remain in the United States. Without bringing back Gadiyev, who could provide more information about the crime, she fears for her family’s safety, according to the Post.
In his letter to the Attorney General, Schumer said that given “the violent nature of this crime,” the DOJ must use all the tools at their disposal to “aggressively pursue the prompt extradition of Mr. Gadiyev to the U.S. so that he can be tried.”