Novy Reft often criticized local officials, and Markevich's colleagues told the Itar-Tass news service that he had received threatening telephone phone calls prior to the attack.
This was not the first attack on Markevich, the Region-Inform news agency reported. In 1998, two unknown assailants broke into his apartment and severely beat him in front of his pregnant wife. They were never caught.
Last year, Markevich was illegally detained for 10 days after the local prosecutor's office charged him with defamation over a Novy Reft article questioning the propriety of a lucrative government contract that gave a former deputy prosecutor the exclusive right to represent the Reftinsky administration in court.
In May 2001, federal prosecutor general Vladimir Ustinov reprimanded the local prosecutor for violating Markevich's constitutional rights.
Police have launched an investigation into Markevich's murder. Almost four months after the journalist's death, authorities have made no progress, the Moscow-based Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations has reported. Markevich's wife continues to publish Novy Reft.