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Suspect in wife's murder ties knot

By Seth Burkett 340-2355

The physics professor accused of strangling his wife and dumping her body in the Tennessee River remarried last week.

Andrew Pakhomov tied the knot with Elena Anatolyevna Jackson Domashenko, 39, of Huntsville, according to marriage records.

They were wed at the Madison County Courthouse on Feb 15. It is the third marriage for each.

A Morgan County grand jury has indicted Pakhomov, 46, in the murder of his wife, Yelena Zakin.

Fishermen found Zakin's nude body June 1 partially submerged in the Tennessee River near the Alabama 20 public boat launch. A black travel bag filled with rocks and tied around her neck by a leather belt anchored her upper body underwater. She was 42.

The couple lived in Madison. Both were employees of The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Decatur police questioned another UAH employee, Melissa DeHollander, 33, of Huntsville and later charged her with perjury, saying she lied about the extent of her relationship with Pakhomov.

The week before her disappearance, Zakin allegedly assaulted Pakhomov and DeHollander, a staff assistant, when she discovered them together in Pakhomov's office at the university's optics building, police said.

Joel Lonergan, director of university relations for UAH, said Domashenko has never worked at UAH.

Pakhomov remains on sabbatical leave and is not teaching classes, Lonergan said.

UAH will review Pakhomov's employment pending the outcome of his trial, which is set for June 25.

Police Sgt. Rick Archer, the investigator probing Zakin's death, said the nuptials shouldn't have any bearing on the case.

"I do not see that this has any immediate relevant impact on the investigation into his wife's death. There is nothing to legally prohibit him from remarrying; therefore, his decision is of no evidentiary value to the investigation," Archer said.

"There is no doubt that there will be no shortage of people ready to offer their opinion as to his length of bereavement, but any personal opinion of my own would certainly not be a basis of any legal standard of right or wrong, and to offer any personal opinion of my own would be irrelevant and inappropriate," he said.

"I urge everyone to remember that Dr. Pakhomov is free on bond, and as any other defendant awaiting trial, absolutely innocent until he is proven guilty in court."

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