A rope-jumping instructor has been sentenced in Kazakhstan to four years in prison after a married mom-of-three plunged 100 feet to her death in front of her horrified husband.
Alexander Muznikas, 33, was handed down the sentence Thursday in the Oct. 10, 2021, death of Yevgenia Leontyeva, 33, at a rope-jumping attraction in the Kazakh city of Karaganda.
Speaking before the court, Muznikas, who was convicted of offering services that did not meet safety rules and causing death by negligence, said he categorically rejected the prosecution’s accusations against him.
“In my actions there was no intent to harm anyone, let alone — cause anyone death,” Muznikas told the court, according to reporting by the Russian-language news site eKaraganza.kz.
Muznikas also took umbrage at being the only person on trial in connection with the woman’s death, even though he said there were other staffers operating the attraction that day.
“I would like to add that I was not the one who had developed the system that malfunctioned and led to the tragedy,” he said.
Leontyeva’s husband emotionally described how he witnessed her fall to her death.
“My wife was crushed before my eyes,” Tkachenko said.
In the distressing cellphone footage, Tkachenko can be heard yelling in Russian to his wife “I love you!” seconds before her body strikes the concrete pavement, which is followed by screams of shocked bystanders.
Leontyeva had been reluctant to make the leap from the rooftop of the “Constellation” hotel, even though she had done so before, prosecutors said.
She let her female friend go first, and this “rope free-flying” leap was successful, a court was told last week.
Witnesses said Leontyeva had appeared “afraid” — but they heard instructor Muznikas urging her to jump.
He was overheard telling the woman: “It’s not the first time you’ve jumped. You know how to do it. Did I put a safety harness on you for nothing?”
Leontyeva is then seen in the video leaping from the rooftop, hitting the ground and then slamming into an iron fence, according to reports.
A cross-line to which her rope was attached — and which was supposed to break Leontyeva’s fall leaving her suspended above the ground — failed to hold or was not secured.
A man is seen in the recording falling to the ground as she crashes down.
He is believed to have been holding the safety line, which should have been attached to the tree, and he was floored by the force of Leontyeva’s 100-foot fall pulling on the unsecured rope.
Leontyeva suffered a serious skull fracture and brain injuries, and multiple broken bones on the right side of her body. She was rushed to a hospital but died as surgeons tried to save her.
Speaking outside the courthouse, Tkachenko insisted that his wife’s death was the fault of staffers running the rope-jumping attraction.
“They did not coordinate their actions,” the widower said. “The instructor didn’t look down to make sure the rope was tied. He just told her: ‘Jump!’ I don’t wish this on anyone. He is guilty.”
Tkachenko is now left to alone raise three sons, ages 8, 11 and 12, one of whom the couple had taken in after the death of a relative.