Engineering Professor, Usenet Kook
and convicted mass murderer
The story of Valery Fabrikant is a strange one. Fabrikant was a professor of mechanical engineering
's Concordia University
. Fabrikant arrived at Concordia in 1979 from the Soviet Union
. He was described as an eccentric and antisocial
personality. To pick just one of many examples: In 1981, he signed up for French
classes at Concordia. Fabrikant denounced the teacher for smoking in class, and attempted to have her fired.
Fabrikant believed that his department was engaged in scholarly misconduct; and that senior professors were gaining academic credit for placing their name on his papers. Fabrikant began secretly tape recording his conversations with those on the faculty he still spoke with. After being passed over for tenure
, and being forced to teach a class he did not want to, Fabrikant began threatening colleagues and secretaries with violence. Security guards were hired.
For a year, he tried to get a gun permit
has relatively strict gun control
laws, as compared to the USA
. Nobody would sign the part on the application where it says the applicant is mentally stable
. Reputedly, he even threatened the life of the department secretary to get her to sign.
If you were an academic on Usenet
around 1992, you probably knew that Fabrikant didn't much like his co-workers. He was a regular poster to sci.research
, with long diatribes about his department, and how his career was being sabotaged. Net Lore has it that someone suggested "either do something about this, or quit whining!"
In the summer of 1992, the embittered professor gunned
down several people at the University. He was apprehended immediately, and at his trial he fired several lawyers, finally defending himself. He referred to the judge as the "presiding muppet
" and considered himself the aggrieved party. On August 11, 1993 he was convicted of four counts of murder
, one count of attempted murder
, and one count of forcible confinement. He is serving a life sentence
Fabrikant is unrepentant, and continues to post his rants to usenet
from behind prison walls (using his son). A typical post, made to nb.general on June 16, 2001:
An individual posted a statement to the effect that he expected me to be against death penalty, because according to him, I would get it. For his information, the death penalty is reserved not for any killing, but only to those with aggravating circumstances. No jury would ever give death penalty to an abused person, who killed his abusers.
In Fabrikant's mind, the murders he committed are morally justified by the scholarly misconduct he alleged.