ALMATY, Kazakhstan — One of two men charged with premeditated murder in the killing of Kazakh figure skater Denis Ten has apologized to the slain skater’s family and to the people of Kazakhstan at his trial in Almaty.
Ten was a bronze medalist at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and a silver and bronze medalist at the world championships in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
Investigators say he was fatally stabbed in central Almaty in July 2018 after he confronted the two suspects, Arman Qudaibergenov and Nuraly Qiyasov, while they were trying to steal the side mirrors of his car.
Speaking at his trial on January 11, Qudaibergenov told the court: “First of all, I would like to ask Denis [Ten’s] parents and all the people of Kazakhstan to forgive me. I sincerely regret what happened. We did not have any intention to kill somebody. I just wanted to find money and chose to steal.”
Qudaibergenov told the court he started running away from Ten when he caught them trying to steal the car mirrors.
He said he took off his belt to use it against Ten when the famous figure skater chased them.
Qudaibergenov testified that he did not stab Ten and did not see the moment when the skater was stabbed.
He said Qiyasov later admitted to him that he had stabbed Ten.
Asked why he confessed to stabbing Ten after he was detained by police, Qudaibergenov said investigators beat him and forced him to confess “to what I have not committed.”
Qiyasov refused to testify on January 11, saying that he did not feel well.
A third defendant in the case, Zhanar Tolybaeva, has been charged with theft and failure to report a crime.
She told the court she did not see the stabbing and that she was only aware of the attempted theft of Ten’s car mirrors.
The 25-year-old Ten, who trained in Moscow and the United States, was the first Kazakh skater to win an Olympic medal.