The ex-girlfriend of a man who is on trial for murdering her other lover took the stand on Monday to testify against him, giving details on the victim’s last night with her, according to the New York Post.
Anna Lioznov, 49, told the court about how her and Charles Butler spent the night of September 18, 2012, in her apartment in Brighton Beach. According to the Post, Lioznov smiled teasingly at Mikhail Chernyaev, her ex-boyfriend who is accused of murdering Butler, while she testified.
Lioznov said that she left Butler in her bed, naked, the next morning around 7:30am. She texted him after she had left saying, “I love you,” to which Butler replied, “I love you, too.”
A couple of hours later, Lioznov texted Butler again, and received a response she found strange. The message read, “I slept very good, sweetly.”
“That was weird,” Lioznov said in court. “Charles wouldn’t say that.”
The messages weren’t coming from Butler; they were coming from Chernyaev, according to the prosecutor, Melissa Carvajal.
The messages became even more strange.
“I have to leave for 3 days, right now,” read the texts. “Just forget about me.”
Lioznov’s phone calls then went unanswered and she came home later that night to find things out of order, according to Lioznov.
Surveillance footage from September 19, 2012 was also shown to the court on Monday. In the video, Chernyaev is seen hanging around the apartment building moments after Lioznov had gone to work. He is filmed coming and going throughout that morning, equipped with shopping bags at one point.
Butler’s blood was found later by police on Lioznov’s walls and bed frame. His body was found a month later in a ditch near Port Jervis in upstate New York.
Chernyaev turned down a plea deal in May 2015, and demanded the case be retried in English, sending Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog into a fury in which he pounded his desk and yelled at Chernyaev to “shut up.”
Chernyaev and Lioznov maintained a romantic relationship in the eight months between the time Butler’s body was discovered and Chernyaev’s arrest. In May of 2013, Charnyaev confessed to the murder of Butler to police.