Prosecutors in Colorado have upped the charges against Aleksandr Kolpakov, the YouTuber who runs the popular channel The Skeptic Feminist and who stands accused of killing his female co-host. The District Attorney’s office on Tuesday said that the 29-year-old YouTuber will now be charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Heather Anable. Previously, the charge was second-degree murder.
The coroner reported that Anable was shot multiple times in the neck and chest. The victim was found shot to death on the sidewalk in front of a home. Witness accounts say that both Kolpakov and Anable were seen together moments before the shooting, according to unsealed court records.
Documents released on late Wednesday state that Kolpakov acted erratically before and after the shooting, ranting about being poisoned and making references to a conspiracy. A neighbor who called 911 after the shooting informed deputies that he saw Kolpakov naked and behaving erratically from his home.
“He stated Alek was ‘Face-Timing’ a female, not his girlfriend, on a phone and telling her he was poisoned and the mushrooms were poisoned,’” deputies wrote of the neighbor’s testimony, the Grand Junction Sentinel reports.
The neighbor says he gave some of his clothes to Kolpakov and called Anable to help him. When Anable arrived, she took Kolpakov back to their shared apartment.
“(The neighbor) stated he then walked toward another friend’s apartment to the east and within 60 seconds heard gunshots,” wrote deputies.
Other witnesses who called 911 to report the shooting say that they heard multiple shots. “One reporting party stated he heard a female screaming, ‘I can’t believe,’ and then heard three gunshots,” read the unsealed affidavit. “He then heard a male saying, ‘You’re a monster,’ followed by two more shots while he was on the phone with 911.”
Deputies who arrived on the scene said that Kolpakov appeared to be under the influence of drugs during the arrest. Their report states: “While on scene, deputies were approached by a male [Kolpakov] who was talking nonsensically. He told deputies about rats, poison, a conspiracy and something to the effect of, ‘I had to put my sweet Heather down.’”
Mesa County investigators are now requesting that his blood be tested for the presence of drugs. Police discovered a semi-automatic handgun next to Anable’s lifeless body at the scene, which they believe to be the weapon used in the shooting.
Kolpakov, who is also known as “Russian Deadpool” in the YouTube community, teaches self-defense classes and claimed on his website and social media that he served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. Following claims by Kolpakov’s fans that he may have been suffering from PTSD, the Army wrote in a statement that Kolpakov only served in the Virginia National Guard from 2006 to 2008 and that his highest rank was private E-2, meaning he only passed basic combat training. He lied about his military service record to the public by claiming to be a sergeant.
The Skeptic Feminist is a YouTube channel that was operated by Kolpakov and Anable. As a member of YouTube’s skeptic community, Kolpakov—who self-identified as a male feminist ally—often spoke about feminism from a “skeptic,” or atheist angle. He wasn’t skeptical about feminism.
Anable lists her work on Facebook as a graphic designer and the owner and operator of Anable Massage Therapy.
In Colorado, first degree murder is defined as a “deliberate, intentional killing of another” that is both willful or premeditated. If convicted, Kolpakov faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.