A Shakopee man convicted of first-degree murder for killing his girlfriend in the home they shared with her mother was sentenced Wednesday to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Tuesday’s conviction of Sergey N. Balandin, 32, by jurors sets up his swift sentencing in Scott County District Court for the November 2017 death of 34-year-old Ruzana Yedvabnik at the home in the 1400 block of Savanna Drive.
Balandin’s life sentence means he is not eligible for parole. He was also ordered to pay fines, fees and restitution of at least $17,000.
Yedvabnik’s body was badly bruised, bloody and “unrecognizable,” the criminal complaint against Balandin read.
Police found a bloody knife on the ground near where he was apprehended after a brief standoff with police. They also recovered a bag with a bloody broken cable and a second knife, the charging document continued.
Jurors needed barely an hour before convicting Balandin on two first-degree murder counts, one for premeditation and the other for committing murder as part of a pattern of domestic abuse, and a second-degree murder charge.
Sentencing before Judge Rex Stacey included a victim impact statement from Yedvabnik’s mother, Sofiya Yedvabnik, according to court records.
Sofiya Yedvabnik also lived in the home and thought her daughter was sleeping, authorities said. Police found the woman in the couple’s bedroom behind a locked door.
The mother told police she heard a violent argument between the two the night before, the complaint continued.
In a jailhouse interview detailed in the complaint against Balandin, he said he “blacked out” the night before, had “no idea” what happened to Yedvabnik but “most likely, probably” killed her. He also admitted that he tried to remove the blood off the floor with household cleaners. Despite those reported admissions, he pleaded not guilty and left his fate in the hands of the jurors.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482