BROOKLYN — A Brighton Beach man was found guilty of murdering a man who was dating his ex-common law wife, the Brooklyn District Attorney announced Thursday.
Mikhail Chernyaev, 49, is facing 25 years to life after he stabbed and strangled 56-year-old Charles Butler and then dumped his body in a remote area near Port Jervis, New York, prosecutors said.
“A man senselessly lost his life out of sheer jealousy, leaving behind two grieving daughters and a young son,” District Attorney Ken Thompson said. “I would like to commend the dedicated prosecutors, police officers and forensic experts who solved this complicated case and helped hold a calculated killer accountable.”
Butler, a successful Florida businessman, was traveling frequently to the Upper East Side in 2012 to visit his daughter.
He met Anna Lioznov during one of the trips and they started to date and planned to get married.
Lioznov had a child with Chernyaev and was living near him in Brighton Beach.
Butler visited her apartment on Brighton Eighth Street for the first time on Sept. 18, 2012.
Chernyaev’s van was seen on surveillance video pulling into the building’s garage the next morning at about 7:44 a.m.
The van was seen leaving the garage about a hour and half later and both his and Butler’s phones were later tracked to Port Jervis.
Butler’s daughter started to receive strange text messages in broken English from her father’s phone later in the day.
Lioznov then also received a message from his phone, which read, “Forget about me. I’m going back to Florida.”
She got back together with Chernyaev, and on Oct. 15, 2012, a fisherman near Port Jervis got lost and stumbled upon a decomposed body.
Investigators were able to construct a sketch from the skeleton, got a single fingerprint and DNA evidence. The body was finally identified as Butler in May 2013.
Chernyaev was then taken into custody on May 22, 2013. He first gave a false alibi and then said Butler died after an accidental fall before finally admitting to killing him, claiming self-defense.
A jury found him guilty of second-degree murder and he will be sentenced on Oct. 28 by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog.
Chernyaev’s lawyer was not immediately available for comment.