Anna Bulchenko, a 56-year-old woman, was found deceased on Feb. 11, 2011. At the time, she was living in Kings County, NY. Her body was discovered by her daughter, Yelena, who immediately called the police. Anna had been stabbed to death with a kitchen knife during a violent home invasion.
Earlier that day, a drug dealer named Maksim “Wes” Gelman had come to a realization. He realized that somebody had ratted him out to the feds. He figured that if he was going to prison for life, then he was going out with a bang. He made a list of all the people who had wronged him throughout his life, and vowed to himself that he’d kill everybody on that list before the feds got to him.
How did Wes figure out that the feds were onto him? He was driving down a road in Brooklyn and he saw multiple cars following him; obviously, the feds were closing in. He looked out his window and saw that people on the streets were all looking at him; he could tell that they were all undercover cops, just waiting to arrest him. He looked at his phone and saw that the battery was low; he could tell that the FBI had hacked his phone and they were draining his battery. The more he looked around, the more the evidence piled up.
The first person on the list was his stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov. Gelman went to his apartment around 5:00 AM. He stabbed Kuznetsov to death with a kitchen knife that he found in the apartment. Gelman’s mother witnessed the stabbing, and she called the police as Wes fled the scene.
Wes showered, changed his bloody clothes, and then got some food from McDonald’s. He was now ready to continue his mission. The next person on his list was Yelena Bulchenko, his girlfriend. She’d been his driver for drug deals, and he was sure that Yelena was the one who’d ratted him out to the feds. Nobody had actually ratted Wes out to the feds, but that’s almost irrelevant at this point.
Wes later told police that he knew Yelena was the informant because once he’d had a huge amount of meth and PCP stashed somewhere, only for it to be mysteriously missing when he went to retrieve it. Yelena was the only other person who’d known the location of that cache, so Wes figured it must have been her doing.
Since then, many people have questioned Gelman’s version of events. For example, Wes told police that Yelena was his driver for drug deals, but her friends have said that she didn’t have a driver’s license and actually didn’t know how to drive. Others have questioned if Yelena was even Gelman’s girlfriend at all; although he certainly did have an infatuation for her, since he frequently spray painted her name onto the side of walls. It seems like he was more of a stalker than a boyfriend.
Anna Bulchenko and her daughter, Yelena
Around 10:30 AM, Wes entered the home of Yelena Bulchenko, planning to stab her to death. Yelena was not there, she was staying at a friend’s house. Unfortunately, Yelena’s mother (Anna Bulchenko) was there. Anna worked as some sort of travel agent and she worked out of her apartment, in a Russian neighborhood of NYC. She was actually on the phone with a client at the time Wes entered her apartment. The client heard Anna scream and then the phone call ended abruptly.
Wes demanded that Anna tell him where he could find Yelena. But Anna didn’t trust Wes so she falsely told him that Yelena was at her work. Yelena worked as a dental assistant. But Wes knew that Anna was lying to him, because he’d already checked out the dentist office to see if Yelena was there. He threatened to kill Anna if she did not reveal Yelena’s true location. Anna knew exactly where Yelena was, but she didn’t trust Wes so she refused to cooperate.
Wes then figured that if he couldn’t find Yelena, then killing her mother was the next best thing. Yelena was very close with her mom; they were best friends and Wes knew that Yelena would be greatly saddened by her mother’s death. Wes grabbed Anna and started stabbing her; Anna managed to slip away and she ran towards the door, only for Wes to pull her back in.
Maksim “Wes” Gelman
Anna was given one final chance to reveal Yelena’s location; she again refused, this time screaming that she’d never tell him anything. Wes then stabbed her repeatedly until she stopped being alive. Wes later reflected on that incident during his police interrogation. He said that Anna had died with honor; she wasn’t a coward like the others, she’d embraced her death without fear “like a true Russian.”
After killing Anna, Gelman waited inside the apartment for Yelena to show up.
Yelena arrived around 4:15 PM. Just before she entered the apartment, Yelena received a call from one of her friends, Regina. The friend told her that Wes Gelman was being sought by the NYPD, under suspicion that he may have been involved in a murder. Yelena responded that she was no longer dating Wes and she’d not seen him in over 6 months. The two talked for a bit longer, but then Yelena hung up and entered the apartment.
Inside was a bloodbath. Yelena found her mother, almost unrecognizable, stabbed and beaten to a bloody pulp. Yelena screamed and kept screaming, until she managed to calm her nerves just enough that she should think to pull out her phone and call the police. But then just as she was pulling out her phone, Wes made his move. He ambushed Yelena and stabbed her 12 times inside the apartment; Yelena ran out to the street but Wes followed her.
Eventually, Wes caught Yelena and stabbed her multiple times, leaving her to die on the sidewalk. But then he went back and slashed her throat open, just to be sure.
After killing Anna, Wes carjacked a nearby vehicle so he could escape from the scene of the crime, stabbing another man in the process. Then as he sped away, he hit a pedestrian and ran him over. The pedestrian, a 62-year-old man named Stephen Tannenbaum, died soon afterward.
Wes Gelman’s reign of terror was finally stopped on Feb. 12, 2011. For reasons unclear, Wes attempted to hijack a subway train. He entered the train around 8:30 AM, on Saturday. Police cut power to the train as soon as he realized he was onboard.
As officers boarded the train to arrest Gelman, he attempted to seize a hostage. He approached a commuter, Joseph Lozito, who happened to on the train at the time. Wes told Lozito “you’re going to die today” and started stabbing him.
It was on that day that Lozito’s 20 years of being an avid MMA fan paid off in a big way. Despite being stabbed over 7 times, he managed to single-handedly subdue Maksim “Wes” Gelman. Honestly, the epic showdown between Lozito and Gelman could be its own write-up, and maybe someday it will be, but for this one I decided to focus on Anna and her daughter.
A memorial for Anna and Yelena was held on February 16, 2011. Over 1000 people were in attendance. This murder was covered by the podcast: It Wasn’t Me.