|“||Take another look at this crime.||”|
— The Monster of Florence
The first known victims of the Monster were Antonio Lo Bianco and his Sardinian lover Barbara Locci. They were killed on the night of August 21, 1968, in Signa, a small town near Florence, while having sex in a car. Locci's six-year-old son Natalino was asleep in the car and woke up because of the loud gunshots. The killer then carried him over his shoulders while singing a popular song to ease him. He took the boy to a stranger's house and left him there alive. Upon being found, Natalino told the house's occupant that his father was sick at home and that his mother and "uncle" were dead in a car. Natalino was later able to give a physical description of the killer, though his story didn't definitively point to anyone as suspects. In later interrogations, Natalino would recant his previous version of the story and claim that he walked to the house alone (which was immediately negated by the fact that he had no shoes on when he was found and didn't appear to have walked over to the house shoe-less); or that there was more than one person present and that one had called the killer "Salvatore".
Locci's husband, Stefano Mele, was arrested following the murders. During interrogations, he confirmed his son's first version of the story, that he had been home sick during the murders. When a paraffin glove test showed that he had recently fired a gun, he admitted that he had been present at the crime scene. He also claimed that another one of his wife's lovers, Salvatore Vinci, had been the gunman. Soon afterwards, Mele withdrew the accusations and claimed full responsibility of the double homicide. He said that he had thrown the murder weapon in a ditch, but it was never found. Mele was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to only fourteen years in prison on the grounds of so-called "infirmity of mind", though he later recanted his confession. A theory that was made later suggested that he had been an accomplice in the murders, and that he had only fired a shot into Locci post-mortem, explaining the positive results attained from the paraffin glove test.
Six years later, another couple, Pasquale Gentilcore and Stefania Pettini, was found brutally murdered. Pettini was also taken out of the car post-mortem, stabbed superficially over ninety times, and violated with a grapevine's branch. Another seven years went by and a third double homicide occurred in June 1981. The victims were identified as Giovanni Foggi and Carmela di Nuccio; the latter's genitals were cut post-mortem and taken by the killer. All three double homicides were believed to be unrelated until Mario Spezi, a crime journalist working at La Nazione, recognized the similarities between the 1974 and 1981 murders and proclaimed them to be the work of a serial killer, whom he dubbed "The Monster of Florence". A local voyeur, Enzo Spalletti, was arrested because he had talked about the murders with his wife before they were publicized. As a result of this suspicion, he spent three months in preventive prison, but was then released when the Monster struck again in October. The victims were Stefano Baldi and Susanna Cambi. Two couples came forward and stated that they had seen a lone and "slightly crazy"-looking man driving away from the scene in a red-colored Alfa Romeo. These testimonies led to the elaboration of the first and most popular sketch of the killer (pictured in the infobox).
The next victims, Paolo Mainardi and Antonella Migliorini, were killed on June 19, 1982. Because Migliorini had seen coverage about the Monster and was afraid of getting murdered by the killer, the couple decided to sacrifice some privacy in favor of more safety, and thus parked in a slightly busy area that was visible from the street, rather than deep in the woods as originally planned. As a result, Mainardi could see the Monster approaching as he and Migliorini remained in the vehicle. The Monster immediately shot the both of them, killing Migliorini. Gravely wounded, Mainardi started the engine and started driving in reverse, eventually leaving the car trapped in a ditch across the street. The car was soon found by a passing motorist, who initially mistook it for an accident and stopped to help.
Interrupted by this, the Monster abandoned the scene without managing to perform his signature mutilation on Migliorini or even finishing off Mainardi, who was still barely alive. Mainardi died a few hours later in a hospital. Though Mainardi never regained consciousness, the assistant prosecutor working on the case, Silvia Della Monica, issued a press release in which she claimed that Mainardi had survived long enough to "say some words", in an attempt to get the killer to expose himself. On the afternoon following the statement's publication, a Red Cross emergency worker, who had accompanied Mainardi to the hospital, was called by a man who claimed to be the killer and asked what Mainardi had said. The same emergency worker was later called again by the same person while on vacation in Rimini. This second call left the investigators baffled as to how the caller knew how to reach the man.
The Sardinian Connection
On July 1, twelve days after the Migliorini-Mainardi murder, the police headquarters received a letter containing a yellowed 1968 newspaper clipping of the Locci-Lo Bianco shooting. Over the article, someone had scrawled, "Take another look at this crime." The police compared the shells of the 1968 murder with those found at the recent killings and found the following:
- The bullets found at all of the crime scenes had all been fired by the same gun
- The bullets came from the same box
- The Monster's gun had a defective firing pin that left behind distinctive, unique markings on each casing
- The type of ammo was copper-jacketed Winchester rounds of series H
Though Mele could not be responsible for the 1981 crime, as he was still in prison, he was found by Spezi in a halfway house located in Verona and interviewed. All the while, Mele believed the interview was meant for a documentary about the place. Mele mumbled several confusing remarks before finishing with "They need to figure out where that pistol is. Otherwise there will be more murders. They will continue to kill... They will continue." Mele's words were taken as evidence that the 1968 murder had been a traditional Sardinian "clan killing" (planned beforehand and performed by a group of men, usually related to each other), rather than an impromptu crime of passion by Mele alone. In clan killings, the gun was either destroyed afterward or preserved in a safe location, but never abandoned at the crime scene like Mele had claimed. The police theorized that another man present at the scene had kept the gun and liked the experience enough to recreate it years later. This theory was dubbed the Pista Sarda, or the "Sardinian Connection".
The officers investigated the brothers of Mele and Salvatore Vinci, the man Mele had originally accused in 1968, all members of Florence's Sardinian community. When they discovered a car in the woods that belonged to Salvatore's younger brother Francesco, the police believed the car was used in a crime, and that Francesco had hid it in an attempt to evade suspicion. Francesco was arrested in late 1983. Soon after, the Monster killed two German tourists, Horst William Meyer and Jens Uwe Rüsch. This time, both victims were male and neither was mutilated. It is believed that the Monster mistook Rüsch, who had long, blonde hair, for a woman. A torn-up gay pornographic magazine was found at the scene, leading some to suspect that the victims were a homosexual couple and that the Monster tore up the magazine in anger when he realized his mistake.
Because the Monster was easily able to shoot Meyer and Rüsch through the windows of their van, a considerably higher vehicle than the usual Italian vehicle, it was believed that the killer was a man at least 1.80 meters (5'9") in height. The police still wasn't sure that Vinci wasn't the Monster, however. As a result, they took the mistake of targeting two men rather than a man and a woman as evidence that one of Vinci's relatives had tried to copycat a crime in an attempt to get him released. Francesco's nephew Antonio was arrested on a weapons charge, followed by Francesco's brother and Antonio's father, Salvatore, for the suspicious 1961 death of his wife in Sardinia. All three were interrogated for months, hoping that at least one of them would eventually break down and confess to being the Monster, but they consistently denied everything and were eventually released.
On July 29, 1984, the Monster killed again, the victims being Claudio Stefanacci and Pia Gilda Rontini. This time, all of the traits of a typical Monster murder were present, plus a new one: Rontini's left breast was taken along with her genitalia. The Monster used gloves again, but he mistakenly left a hand-print on top of the car and knee marks on the side, which confirmed the police's suspicions that he was right-handed and over 1.80 meters tall. This new crime led to the formation of a special strike force dubbed the Squadra Anti-Mostro, formed by both policemen and Carabinieri; this was the direct precedent of Italy's modern Investigative Group of Serial Crimes (GIDES). The government also offered a reward of $290,000 for any information leading to the capture of the Monster, and distributed posters and postcards advising tourists to not go into the hills around Florence at night.
Despite these efforts, the Monster killed one last time in September 1985. The victims were a couple of French tourists named Jean-Michel Kraveichvili and Nadine Mauriot. Their bodies were found at 2:00 p.m. on September 9, by a mushroom picker. The investigators estimated the time of death to have been the previous day, though a local girl, Sabrina Carmignani, came forward and recounted how she and a friend spotted the greatly decomposed bodies that day. Her testimony was ignored completely, even though Kraveichvili and Mauriot were most likely driving back to France on September 8 for her to be present when her daughter went on her first day of school on September 9. The evidence suggested that the Monster punctured their tent with a knife and waited outside for the victims to investigate, shooting them afterward.
Mauriot was hit in the face and died instantly, but Kraveichvili, an amateur champion of 100 meter dash, was only injured in the wrist and run into the woods. The Monster ran after Kraveichvili, caught up with him, and killed him with a single slash that sliced Kraveichvili's throat to the point of near-decapitation. The killer then returned to Mauriot's body and took her left breast and genitalia. On September 10, Silvia della Monica received a letter, the address of which was made of letters cut out of magazines and read "DOTT. DELLA MONICA SILVIA PROCURA DELLA REPUBLICA [sic] CA 5000 FIRENZE". Inside, wrapped in tissue paper, was Mauriot's nipple. The letter was estimated to have been mailed sometime during the weekend, and to have entered the postal system on September 9. There were no fingerprints and the sender had even avoided sealing the letter with his tongue, despite DNA technology being nonexistent at the time. The experience traumatized Della Monica, who dropped out of the case and retired from law enforcement soon after. After this, the Monster wasn't heard from again.
The Examining Magistrate, Mario Rotella, remained convinced that a Sardinian clan member was responsible. He was particularly suspicious of Salvatore Vinci, even though Vinci was still in custody when the French couple was murdered. Without evidence of Vinci's involvement in the Monster murders, Rotella indicted him for the murder of his wife instead. However, Vinci's son refused to testify against his father and the other witnesses' testimonies were extremely vague. Vinci was acquitted and he left the country. This angered Chief Prosecutor Pier Luigi Vigna, who was a proponent of the theory that the Monster was not involved in the Locci-Lo Bianco shooting (for which nobody could be prosecuted, since Mele had already been convicted of it) and only acquired the gun from the Sardinians. Vigna and the police demanded to restart the investigation, but Rotella and the Carabinieri refused. When Vigna prevailed, Rotella and the Carabinieri disbanded the task force at once. Henceforth, the Squadra Anti-Mostro would be a pure police operation led by Commissario Ruggero Perugini, who shared Vigna's opinion and also considered that all physical evidence gathered at the murder scenes was unreliable due to poor preservation by authorities. All Sardinian suspects were officially cleared in 1989.
The Satanic Connection
The case subsequently became the largest in Italy's criminal history, with over 100,000 people interrogated in connection to the crimes. On September 11, 1985, the task force received an anonymous letter reporting Pietro Pacciani, a semi-literate Tuscan farmer in his sixties with a violent past. In 1951, Pacciani attacked his future wife and a rival lover while they were kissing in a car. He took the man out, bashed his head with a rock, and fatally stabbed him nineteen times. Afterward, he forced the woman to lie next to the corpse and raped her, then stole the man's wallet and raped his corpse. It was argued that his crime bore a resemblance to the Monster's M.O., though any profiler could argue that his attack was a textbook disorganized crime while the Monster's murders were organized. In addition, the Monster never stole items from his victims, even though he opened and played with the women's purses on three occasions. Nevertheless, Perugini found it interesting that Pacciani had been prompted to act when his girlfriend revealed one of her breasts to the lover, which Perugini compared to the Monster's mutilation of the left breast in the last two shootings.
Perugini ran a computer search of local residents with antecedents for sex crimes, propensity for violence, and prison sentences that could explain the gap between the 1974 shooting and the later ones. Once again, Pacciani's name surfaced (he had been jailed between 1974 and 1981 for raping his daughters). During a search of Pacciani's house, the investigators found a reproduction of Botticelli's Primavera; Perugini thought that the painting's depiction of the nymph Chloris, holding roses in her mouth, was similar to how Carmela di Nuccio had been found, naked except for her gold chain above her mouth. Also of particular interest was another painting, signed "PaccianiPietro" and depicting a bizarre-looking centaur. An expert concluded it was "compatible with the personality of the so-called Monster". The task force also found five knives and a round from a hunting rifle, but not the murder weapon.
On April 29, 1992, the deadline of the search, they found a rusted Winchester series H cartridge, the same kind of ammo the Monster used; the cartridge was buried in Pacciani's garden. Because it hadn't been fired, it didn't have the marking the Monster's gun left on his casings, though there was evidence that it had been loaded into a gun. After being pressured by their superiors, ballistic experts subtly implied that the round had been inserted into the Monster's gun. Not long afterward, the police received a piece of a .22 Beretta (the same model used in the killings) wrapped in a piece of rag torn from a cloth in Pacciani's garage, and an anonymous letter stating that it had been found beneath a tree where Pacciani often went. In a recorded interview with Spezi, Officer Arturo Minoliti voiced his suspicions that the round was planted by Perugini and that the letter was similarly manufactured by the police.
Pacciani was charged with being the Monster on January 19, 1993. The trial, which was broadcast live on TV, began on April 14. Pacciani maintained his innocence; though Pacciani's wife and daughters recounted many of the crimes he committed against them, they testified that Pacciani could not be the Monster because he was always drunk at home. Later, the centaur painting found at Pacciani's house was revealed to not have been his work at all; the actual artist was Christian Olivares, a Chilean painter. Though there wasn't much evidence against Pacciani that wasn't circumstantial, he was found guilty of all Monster murders apart from the first one, for which he wasn't charged. One decisive factor was the testimonies of Mario Vanni, a friend of Pacciani's whose only concrete statement was that they were "picnicking friends"; and Lorenzo Nesi, who claimed that Pacciani had boasted about shooting pheasants with a gun even though Pacciani denied owning one. Nesi also implicated him in the French couple's murder, which he said happened on September 8, 1985.
Per Italian criminal law, Pacciani's conviction was subjected to an automatic appeal. The newly assigned prosecutor refused to even prosecute Pacciani further, decrying the lack of evidence and comparing the investigators to Inspector Clouseau. On the day of Pacciani's expected acquittal, February 13, 1996, the police produced four witnesses, who were initially anonymous. They were:
- The first, Fernando Pucci (code-named "Alpha"), was a developmentally disabled man who claimed to have seen Pacciani commit the French couple's murder on September 7, 1985.
- The second was Giancarlo Lotti (code-named "Beta"), a vagrant and "village idiot" who claimed to have aided Pacciani in several Monster murders. Lotti also claimed that they carried them out on the behalf of a wealthy Florentine doctor whose name was only known to Pacciani, and who wanted to offer female body parts to the Devil in black masses.
- The third was an alcoholic prostitute named Gabriella Ghiribelli (code-named "Sigma"), who claimed that Pacciani and his friends had been members of a satanic cult.
- The fourth was Ghiribelli's pimp, Norberto Galli (code-named "Delta").
The judge excoriated the police for this last-minute maneuver and refused to let the purported new witnesses testify; subsequently, Pacciani was cleared of "all fault" and released. A higher court, however, overturned the appeal and sent the case to be retried, but Pacciani died of a heart attack induced by medication contraindicated for his heart condition the day before the scheduled new trial in 1998. A few months later, Vanni and Lotti were convicted of being Pacciani's accomplices, even though Lotti's accounts of the murders hadn't matched the evidence at all.
The investigation was reopened in 2001 when the investigators reportedly had reason to suspect that an alleged sect of ten to twelve wealthy, sophisticated Italians were behind the murders. Some years later, Spezi independently investigated the case with American thriller author Douglas Preston while the two co-wrote the book The Monster of Florence: A True Story. In 2004, they showed crime scene photos of the 1985 shooting (which Spezi had gotten a hold of) to entomologist Francesco Introna. In the photos, which were taken on September 9, the maggots crawling on Nadine Mauriot's mutilated body can be seen clearly. Based on their development, Introna determined that the victims were killed no less than 36 hours before the pictures were taken. This, coupled with the ignored testimony made by Sabrina Carmignani, proved that the victims were killed on September 7, disproving investigators' beliefs that the shooting occurred on September 8. This also proved that the witnesses at Pacciani's trial who said that the murders occurred on September 8 lied. This disproved the Satanic sect theory and Pacciani's guilt: Pacciani was at a country fair on the actual date of the shooting.
When the news was broadcast, there was virtually no reaction from anyone, and Vanni and Lotti's convictions were not overturned. A few months later, Spezi was arrested on accusations of sidetracking a criminal investigation. He and Preston were also implicated in the death of Francesco Narducci, a Perugia doctor alleged to have been part of the purported Satanic sect. Spezi was briefly imprisoned, but released and cleared of all charges. Preston left Italy while the charges against him were on hold; in an interview, he claimed that the interrogator had done so and sub-textually told him to leave the country and never come back. In 2008, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini and Michele Giuttari, the police officer who took over the case after Minoliti was promoted, were indicted for abuse of the powers vested to them, not only for having Spezi and Preston illegally arrested, but for abusing an anti-terrorism law to have Spezi's phone wiretapped. Both were acquitted on the grounds that it couldn't be proven that any crime had been committed. The true identity of the Monster of Florence remains a mystery today.
- Stefano Mele (January 13, 1919 - February 16, 1995)
- Husband of first female victim, Barbara Locci
- Convicted of the first double homicide
- Did not mention the presence of Natalino in his confession
- Claimed to have thrown the gun used in the murder into an irrigation ditch, though it was never found
- Was arrested again on vague suspicions for the 1985 murder, but was released
- Later admitted that he was homosexual and claimed to have been blackmailed into accepting his jail sentence by Salvatore Vinci, with whom he'd had a sexual relationship
- The Vinci family:
- Salvatore Vinci (b. December 1, 1935)
- Choice suspect of Examining Magistrate Mario Rotella
- Middle brother
- Lover of Barbara Locci
- Sometimes called the "ringleader" of the first double homicide
- Raped his wife Barbarina when she was dating a local boy he disliked. Married her when she got pregnant. She was found dead in her bedroom in 1961. At the time, the death was treated as a suicide since the room reeked of gas and there was an open propane tank in the room, though there was bruising around her neck and scratches on her face. In addition, someone rescued the couple's one-year-old son from the gas, but did not even check on the woman
- Cleared on December 13, 1989
- Last seen in Spain in 1995 and still alive in 2002 according to a private investigator
- Current whereabouts unknown
- Francesco Vinci (d. c. August 7, 1993)
- Youngest brother
- Lover of Barbara Locci
- Known for his skills with a knife
- Associated with Sardinian gangsters
- Cleared on December 13, 1989
- Found tortured, mutilated, murdered, and incinerated inside his car, along with a friend named Angelo Vargiu, on August 7, 1993
- A shepherd named Giampaolo Pisu was accussed of this double homicide but later acquitted
- Giovanni Vinci
- Oldest brother
- Lover of Barbara Locci
- Raped one of his sisters
- Often confused with Giovanni Mele, brother of Stefano
- Antonio Vinci (b. December 15, 1959)
- Choice suspect of crime journalist Mario Spezi
- Named "Carlo" in Spezi's book
- Son of Salvatore and Barbarina Vinci
- Raised by an aunt in Sardinia, after his mother died and his father moved to Florence
- Moved with his father in 1970 but ran away in 1973, after several altercations, at least one of which involved him threatening his father with a scuba knife
- Was arrested for breaking into his father's home in 1974, but no theft was proven (Spezi speculates that he stole the gun from Salvatore)
- Lived in Sardinia and Lake Como between 1975 and 1980
- Married by the Catholic rite in 1982, but was granted an annulment in 1985, on the grounds of non-consummation
- Arrested for illegal firearm possession in 1983, shortly after the sixth double homicide, but was acquitted after acting as his own lawyer
- Jailed for robbery attempt in 1988
- Works as a driver in Florence
- Salvatore Vinci (b. December 1, 1935)
- Enzo Spalletti (b. 1945)
- Peeping Tom active in the area, along with his friend and accomplice Fosco Fabbri
- His car was seen near the place of the Di Nuccio-Foggi murders on June 6, 1981
- Returned home at 2:00 p.m., and told his wife and two bar patrons that he had seen "two murdered dead people", before the bodies were discovered on June 7
- While under arrest, his wife and brother received anonymous calls, telling them to calm down because Spaletti would be released soon; the caller added that Spalletti was in jail for being "an idiot" and said that he had read about the murders on the press before the news was published
- Charged with the murders but released the day after Baldi and Cambi were murdered
- Told Vanni and Lotti's lawyers that they were innocent and suggested that the Monster was a police officer
- Mario Vanni (December 23, 1927 - April 12, 2009)
- Retired postman
- Convicted of being Pacciani's accomplice
- Claimed in court to be a "picknicking friend" of Pacciani
- Convicted of being an accompice of Pacciani and sentenced to life in prison in 2000, but released on medical grounds in 2004
- Died in a nursing home, of natural causes
- Giancarlo Lotti (December 16, 1940 - March 30, 2002)
- Nicknamed "Katanga"
- Vagrant and "village idiot"
- Was a secret witness, "Beta", in the trial against Pacciani
- Claimed to have murdered Meyer and Rüsch himself, and to have assisted Paccianni and Vanni in other murders
- Alleged member of an occult group
- Sentenced to 30 years in prison but released on medical grounds on March 15, 2002
- Died of liver cancer
- Often believed to have faked his confession because he was homeless and wanted to go to jail
- At least one book (La Verità sul Mostro di Firenze) theorizes that he accidentally witnessed the 1968 murder while peeping and stole the gun after Mele abandoned it, becoming the Monster years later
- Pietro Pacciani (January 7, 1925 - February 22, 1998)
- Choice suspect of chief inspectors Ruggero Perugini and Michele Giuttari
- Farm laborer
- Former World War II partisan
- Enjoyed taxidermy
- Not impotent, but over-sexed
- Nicknamed "The Fire" or "The Blaze" for his bad temper and his career as a carnival fire-eater in his youth
- Imprisoned between 1974 and 1981 for raping his daughters; imprisoned again between 1987 and 1991 for beating his wife and raping his daughters
- In 1951, he attacked his sixteen-year-old girlfriend and her lover while they were having a romantic encounter in the woods in Vicchio. He first pulled the lover out of the car they were inside, bashed him on the head with a rock, and stabbed him to death. He then raped his girlfriend next to his dead body, carried the corpse to a nearby lake, and engaged in necrophilia with it
- Allegedly a member of an occult group of which Giancarlo Lotti was also a member
- The last known male victim of the Monster had been an amateur champion of 100 meter dash and was chased ca. 30 yards before being caught by the killer and stabbed to death. At the time, Pacciani was 58 years old; had previously suffered a heart attack; undergone a bypass surgery; and had a bad knee, scoliosis, pulmonary emphysema, angina pectoris, diabetes, and hypertension
- Was only 1.60 m. tall (5'25" feet), while circumstantial evidence indicated that the Monster was on the range of 1.80-1.85 m. (5'9"-6'07" feet)
- Was found guilty of all of the shootings attributed to the Monster except for the first one, for which Stefano Mele had been convicted, in 1994, but was acquitted on appeal in 1996 due to a lack of evidence
- Indicted in December 1996 for the 1992 abduction and assault of his wife, who filled for divorce and accused Pacciani after he was acquitted
- Spent his last years in isolation, bolting all doors and windows at night, until he was found dead with his pants lowered and a sweater around his neck, in 1998
- Death caused by anti-asthmatic medicine strongly contraindicated to heart patients like Pacciani, who was not asthmatic; his death was investigated as a murder
- Francesco Narducci (d. October 13, 1985)
- Medical doctor and university professor in Perugia
- Member of one of the richest families in Perugia and all of Italy
- Found dead in Lake Trasimeno a few weeks after the last murder
- Death was ruled an accidental drowning and no autopsy was performed despite being required by law
- Interest resurfaced in the early 2000s after a gang making phone threats to a woman claimed that they would murder her like they did to Pacciani and Narducci, who were purportedly members of a Satanic cult and had been eliminated for betraying it
- A 2002 exhumation established that the body in Narducci's tomb did not belong to him, but to an unidentified man, who had indeed been murdered
- Believed to have been murdered by a Masonic lodge that included his father as a member, and that it had switched the body in order to cover up Narducci's murder
- Father claimed that Narducci had killed himself after being diagnosed with an incurable disease, but had given no explanation as to why the body had been switched
- Considered a "frequenter of the environment linked to the [Monster's] crimes" by an investigating judge, citing "numerous statements of informed people"
- Eventually alleged to be the ringleader of the "Picknicking Friends" or the occult group behind them
- In 2012, the preliminary judge contested all previous findings and concluded that the body was actually that of Narducci, that he had killed himself through a Demerol overdose, and that he was in no way linked to the Monster's murders
- Ruling was contested by Perugia's prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, and his appeal accepted by the Supreme Court in 2013
- Francesco Calamandrei (c. 1941 - May 1, 2012)
- Accused twice by his ex-wife of being the Monster in 1988 and 1991
- Nothing suspicious was found and it was ruled that she was acting in revenge for Calamandrei leaving her for another woman
- Ex-wife was found mentally ill in 2000 and sent to a clinic
- Investigated again after Giuttari took over in 2004, and cleared of any involvement in 2008
- Died of natural causes
The Monster targeted couples while they were having sex in cars parked in some secluded area in a remote county at night. He would walk up to the cars and fire at the victims through the windows or sometimes through the car doors with the same .22 Beretta loaded with Winchester series H bullets, all from the same box. When both victims were dead or dying, he would drag the women a few feet away from the car, undress them, and mutilate and stab them post-mortem. He particularly focused the stabs around the breasts and sexual organs, which were subsequently removed and taken by the killer (with the exception of Barbara Locci, since she was his first female victim; and Antonella Migliorini, because he was interrupted by a passing motorist). The type of knife was not positively identified, but may have been a scuba knife. He is also believed to have worn surgical gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints.
In 1989, the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) made a profile of the Monster, following an unofficial request from the Carabinieri. It sounded nothing like Pacciani and was never included in the police investigation. These are the contents of that profile:
- Lone, sexually impotent male around 40-45 years old (as of 1985).
- Average intelligence, with completed secondary school studies or the equivalent in the Italian education system.
- Manual laborer.
- Has his own car.
- Lived alone or with an elderly relative in a working class area at the time of the murders.
- May have had a criminal record, though only for smaller crimes such as petty theft or arson, and not for seriously violent crimes.
- Not habitually violent and not a rapist.
- Little sexual contact with women in his own peer group, immature and inadequate in sexual matters.
- Patological hatred of women.
- Likely lived in some other place rather than Florence during the 1974-1981 hiatus.
- Targets places he knows, not specific victims.
- Likely lived close to where he killed his first victims.
- More comfortable using a knife than a gun.
- The fact that he watched his victims having sex and struck with a blitz attack while they were off their guard suggests that he lacked confidence in his ability to control his victims or couldn't confront them while they were alive. He targeted the men first in order to eliminate what he perceived as the greatest threat. The fact that the killer fired so many shots suggests that he wanted to ensure that both victims were dead before he proceeded to mutilate the women.
- This ritual, which is marked by the killer's act of possessing the victims, was very important to him. This is why he uses the same gun, ammo from the same boxes, and the same knife in all of the murders; he probably even wore the same clothing and accessories. The body parts taken as souvenirs, possibly along with the victims' jewelry and trinkets, allowed him to relive the murders. He may even have eaten some of the body parts to complete the act of possession.
- Sending letters to the authorities indicates that the media coverage was important to him and that he was growing more and more confident.
Outside of the BSU profile, a Size 44 shoe-print found at the Cambi-Baldi murder scene, knee marks on the side of the car at the Rontini-Stefanacci scene, and the killer firing through the windows of Rüsch and Meyer's van (which is normally more elevated than the average Italian vehicle) indicates that the Monster is between 1.80 and 1.85 meters tall (5'9"-6'07").
- The Monster of Florence has been called as Jack the Ripper's Italian counterpart; both were never caught; both killed women, mutilated them, and took organs with them; both sent at least one taunting letter to the authorities and included an organ taken from a victim; and both cases became infamous and near-legendary in their respective countries (though the Ripper case is more well-known internationally).
- The Monster of Florence case was part of the inspiration for the third Hannibal Lecter novel, Hannibal, which takes place in Florence. In the third season of the TV series adaptation, Hannibal is revealed for certain to be the perpetrator of the Monster's crimes, while the killer's identity is much more ambiguous in the book.
- A Florentine killer and serial rapist active between 2006 and 2014, Riccardo Viti, was nicknamed "The Monster of Ugnano" and "The Second Monster of Florence" in reference to the uncaught killer. Before Viti was identified, the press even wondered if he was the Monster himself, because a surviving victim had wrongly described the offender as a man in his mid-sixties and thus old enough to have committed the Monster murders.
On Criminal Minds
Though the Monster of Florence has never been mentioned on Criminal Minds, his M.O. is similar to that of George Foyet, a.k.a. "The Boston Reaper". Both would attack couples in or near cars in non-populated areas, tended to do overkill with their younger female victims by stabbing them dozens of times, and the investigation of their murders went cold.
- Wikipedia's article about the Monster
- Italian Wikipedia's article about the Monster
- The Monster of Florence: A True Story by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi (2009 edition)
- Evil Beyond Belief (2009)
- What Are Perversions?: Sexuality, Ethics, Psychoanalisis (2016)
- TruTV Crime Library articles about the Monster
- Biography.com's article about the Monster
- True Justice article about Mignini and Giutarri's acquittals
- Florence Web Guide's article about the Monster
- Promo for Preston and Spezi's book
- Webpage about the murders and suspects (IN ITALIAN)
- The Atlantic article on The Monster of Florence