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The Monster of Florence

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REAL WORLD BIO
Unidentified
Name Real identity unknown
Alias The Monster of Florence
Il Mostro di Firenze
The Surgeon of Death
Gender Presumed male
Birth Date Unknown
Place of Birth Unknown
Job Unknown
Pathology Serial Killer
Signature Post-mortem stabbing and mutilation of female victims
Modus Operandi Shooting
Type Organized/Non-Social
No. of Victims 16
Status Unknown

The Monster of Florence, or Il Mostro di Firenze (real identity unknown), was a notorious Italian serial killer. Though several men have been tried for the murders, it is still popularly believed that the real killer was never caught.

Case HistoryEdit

The first known victims of the Monster of Florence were Antonio Lo Bianco and 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 son, Natalino, was asleep in the car and was awoken by the gunshots. The killer then carried him to a stranger's house and left him there alive. Natalino was later able to give a physical description of the killer, though his story didn't definitively point out anyone. Locci's husband, Stefano Mele, was arrested and claimed 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 trigger man, but soon afterwards withdrew the accusations and claimed full responsibility. He was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison on the grounds of "infirmity of mind", though he later recanted his confession. A theory that was made later suggested that he had been an accomplice and fired a shot into Locci post-mortem. Six years later, another couple, Pasquale Gentilcore and Stefania Petti, was murdered. Another seven years went by and a third double murder occured in June of 1981. The victims were Giovanni Foggi and Carmella Di Nuccio. A local voyeur, Enzo Spalletti, was arrested because he had talked about the murders with his wife before it was publicized and spent three months in jail for them, but was released while awaiting trial when another murder was committed in October the same year. The victims were Stefano Baldi and Susanna Cambi. Two couples came forward and stated that they had seen a lone man driving away from the scene in a red Alfa Romeo.

The next victims, Paolo Mainardi and Antonella Migliorini, were killed on June 19, 1982. This time, the female victim was not mutilated. Mainardi was still barely alive when the bodies were found, but died a few hours later in a hospital. The assistant DA on the case, Silvia Della Monica, made a press release that Mainardi had survived long enough to give a description of the killer in an attempt to get him to expose himself. On the afternoon the statement was published, 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 said. He was later called again by the same person while on vacation in Rimini, leaving the investigators baffled as to how the caller knew how to reach the man. It wasn't until then that the connection was made between the more recent murders and the 1968 murders. In September of the next year, the Monster claimed two more victims: Horst William Meyer and Jens Uwe Rüsch, two German tourists. This time, both 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 on 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.

In July the following year, the Monster killed again, the victims being Claudio Stefanacci and Pia Gilda Rontini. This time, all the traits of a typical Monster murder were present. The Monster killed for the last time in September of 1985. The victims were a couple of French tourists named Jean Michel Kraveichvili and Nadine Mauriot. Their bodies were found at two o'clock in the afternoon on the Monday of September 9 by a mushroom picker. The investigators estimated the time of death to have been the previous day, Sunday, though a local girl, Sabrina Carmignani, came forward and recounted how she and a friend spotted the dead, greatly decomposed bodies that day. Her testimony was ignored completely, even though Kraveichvili and Mauriot would have had to be driving back to France on Sunday for her to be present when her daughter went on her first day of school. The evidence suggested that Kraveichvili, an amateur champion of 100 meter dash, was only slightly injured by the killer's shooting, ran for his life from the car, but was caught with and finished off with the knife. On Tuesday, 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][1] CA 5000 FIRENZE". Inside, wrapped in a tissue paper, was a piece of Mauriot's breast. The letter was estimated to have mailed been sometime during the weekend and to have entered the postal system on Monday. After that, the Monster wasn't heard of again.

Over 100,000 people were questioned by Italian authorities over the course of the investigation. One crucial piece of evidence linking all the crime scenes together were the shell casings left behind by the Monster's gun; its defective firing pin left behind distinctive, unique markings on each casing. The type of ammo was copper-jacketed Winchester rounds of series H. The gun was never found with a single suspect or even anyone who was convicted of any of the murders. On September 11, 1985, the Monster task force, Squadra Anti-Mostro, received an anonymous letter reporting Pietro Pacciani, a semi-illiterate farmer with a violent past; in 1951, he had attacked his girlfriend while she was in an amorous moment with her lover in a car, raping her and killing the boyfriend, raping his corpse afterwards. It was argued that his crime bore a resemblance to the Monster's M.O., though a profiler would argue that his attack was a textbook disorganized crime while the Monster's murders were organized. Pacciani's name appeared again in the investigation in a computer search of suspects who lived in the area in which the murders had been committed. During a search of his house, the investigators found a reproduction of Botticelli's Primavera, which the head of the task force, Ruggero Perugini, thought resembled the way one of the Monster's earliest victims had been found. They also found five knives and a round from a hunting rifle. One item they found of particular interest was a painting signed "PaccianiPietro" depicting a bizarre-looking centaur; an expert came to the conclusion that it was "compatible with the personality of the so-called Monster".

In 1989, the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit made a profile of the Monster. Because it sounded nothing like Pacciani, it was completely ignored. In April of 1992, the SAM made complete search of Pacciani's entire property. On April 29, they found a rusted Winchester series H cartridge, the same kind of ammo the Monster used. 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 intensely pressured by their superiors, ballistic experts stated that the round was "not incompatible" with having been inserted into the Monster's gun. In a candidly recorded interview with Mario Spezi, the journalist who covered the Monster case, Arturo Minoliti, a police officer, voiced his suspicions that the round was planted by the investigators and that they had also manufactured evidence in the form of a rag containing the spring guide rod of a gun sent to the police anonymously along with a note implying that it had belonged to Pacciani. On January 19 the next year, Pacciani was charged with being the Monster. The trial, which was broadcast live on television, began on April 14. Pacciani maintained his innocence, loudly and feverishly. In an embarrasing moment for the prosecutors, the centaur painting found at Pacciani's house was revealed 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 Stefano Mele had already been convicted. One decisive factor had been the testimonies of Mario Vanni, a friend of Pacciani's whose only concrete statement was that they were "picnicking friends", and of Lorenzo Nesi, who claimed that Pacciani had boasted about shooting pheasants with a gun even though Pacciani had denied owning one and also implicated him in the Monster murder on the Sunday of September 8, 1985.

There were also four witnesses, who initially were anonymous. The first, Pucci (codenamed "Alpha"), was a mentally retarded man who claimed to have seen Pacciani commit the September 7, 1985 murder. The second was Giancarlo Lotti (codenamed "Beta"), a vagrant and village idiot who claimed to have aided Pacciani in several Monster murders. The third was an alcoholic prostitute named Ghiribelli (codenamed "Sigma") who claimed that Pacciani and his friends had been members of a satanic cult. The fourth was a pimp named Galli (codenamed "Delta"). In 1996, Pacciani was cleared of "all fault" by an appeals court and released. Two years later, Pacciani died of a heart attack induced by an overdose of his heart medication the day before he was going to be put on trial again. A few months later, Vanni and Lotti were convicted of being accomplices in the murders (though Lotti's accounts of the murders hadn't matched the evidence at all). The investigation was reopened in 2001 when, the authorities claimed, the investigators had reason to suspect that an alleged sect of 10-12 wealthy, sophisticated Italians had been behind the murders. Some years later, Mario Spezi did some investigation of his own in tandem with American thriller author Douglas Preston while the two co-authored a book about the case. In 2004, they showed crime scene photos of the 1985 Monster killing, which Spezi had gotten hold of, to Francesco Introna, a respected entomologist. On the photos, which were taken on the afternoon of Monday the ninth, the maggots on Nadine Mauriot's mutilated body can be seen clearly.

Based on their development, Introna determined that the victims had been killed no less than 36 hours before the pictures were taken; this, coupled with the ignored witness statement made by Sabrina Carmignani, proved that the victims were killed on Saturday the seventh, not Sunday the eighth, as the authorities maintained. By extension, this also proved that the witnesses at Pacciani's trial who stated that murder occurred on the Sunday lied, also blowing a big hole in the satanic sect theory, which had relied on Pacciani's guilt. And on the actual date of the murder, the seventh, Pacciani was at a country fair, giving him an alibi. When the news was broadcast, there was virtually no reaction from anyone. Surprisingly, Vanni and Lotti's convictions were not re-investigated. A few months later, Spezi was arrested on accusations of sidetracking a criminal investigation. He and Preston were also implicated in the death of a doctor alleged to have been part of the satanic sect theory. Spezi was even briefly imprisoned, but was 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 Monster case after Minoliti was promoted, were indicted for abuse of office, 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. Today (September 2011), the true identity of the Monster of Florence remains a mystery.

SuspectsEdit

Stefano Mele

Stefano Mele.

Pietro Pacciani

Pietro Pacciani.

Mario Vanni

Mario Vanni.

Enzo Spalletti

Enzo Spalletti.

Giancarlo Lotti

Giancarlo Lotti.

  • Stefano Mele
    • Husband of first female victim, Barbara Locci
    • Convicted of the first double murder
    • 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 gay 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
      • Middle brother
      • Lover of Barbara Locci
      • Sometimes called the "ringleader" of the first double murder
      • 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 opened propane tank in the room, though there was bruising around her neck and scratches in her face.
    • Francesco Vinci
      • Youngest brother
      • Lover of Barbara Locci
      • Bricklayer
      • Known for his skills with a knife
      • Associated with Sardinian gangsters
    • Giovanni Vinci
      • Oldest brother
      • Raped one of his sisters
    • Antonio Vinci
      • Son of Salvatore and Barbarina Vinci
      • Arrested for illegal firearm possession in 1983 shortly after the sixth double murder, but was released by acting as his own lawyer
  • Enzo Spalletti
    • Peeping Tom
    • Was charged with being the killer, but was released a few months later when another murder occurred
  • Mario Vanni
    • Retired postman
    • Convicted of being Pacciani's accomplice
    • Claimed in court to be a "picknicking friend" of Pacciani
    • Was convicted of being an accompice of Pacciani and sentenced to life in prison
    • Died in a nursing home in 2009
  • Giancarlo Lotti
    • Nicknamed "Katanga"
    • Vagrant and "village idiot"
    • Alcoholic
    • Was a secret witness, "Beta", in the trial against Pacciani
    • Allegedly a member of an occult group
    • Convicted of being Pacciani's accomplice and sentenced to 25 years in prison
  • Pietro Pacciani (1927-1998)
    • Farm laborer
    • Alcoholic
    • Hunter
    • Enjoyed taxidermy
    • Went to prison shortly after the first Monster murder for raping his daughters. Also served four years in prison 1987-1991 for beating his wife and raping his daughters.
    • In 1951, he attacked his 16-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 found guilty of all double murders 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
    • Was found dead of a heart attack caused by an overdose of his own heart medicine in 1998

Modus OperandiEdit

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 a .22 Beretta loaded with Winchester series H bullets. 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, in particular around the breasts and sexual organs, which were sometimes removed and taken by the killer (with the exception of, Barbara Locci, since she was his first female victim, and Antonella Migliorini for unknown reasons). 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.

ProfileEdit

An FBI-made profile said that the Monster would be of average intelligence, would probably have completed secondary school studies or the equivalent in the Italian education system and would have had experience in work that required the use of his hands. He would have his own car and would have lived alone in a working class area during the murders. He may have had a criminal record, though only for smaller crimes such as petty theft or arson and not for seriously violent crimes, would not have been habitually violent and would not have been a rapist. He would have had little sexual contact with women in his own peer group and been immature and inadequate in sexual matters. The reason for the 1974-1981 hiatus was likely that the killer was living in some other place than Florence at the time.

The profile also stated that the Monster was a lone, sexually impotent 40-45 year old male, most likely right-handed, with a pathological hatred of women who targeted specific places he knew, not specific victims, and acted alone. He might have lived close to where he killed his first victims (either in solitude or with an elderly person) and worked as a manual laborer. He may have used drugs or alcohol to give him the confidence to kill his victims. He is more comfortable using a knife than a gun during the killings. The fact that he watched his victims having sex and struck with a blitz attack while they were off-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, which is why he uses the same gun, ammo from the same boxes and the same knife in all murders; he probably even wore the same clothing and accessories. The body parts which the Monster took 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. Him sending a letter to the authorities may indicate that the media coverage was important to him and that he was growing more and more confident.

Known VictimsEdit

  • August 21, 1968, the Sardinian Trail:
    • Antonio Lo Bianco, 29 (shot four times)
    • Barbara Locci, 32 (shot three times)
  • September 15, 1974, Borgo San Lorenzo:
    • Pasquale Gentilcore, 19 (shot five times)
    • Stefania Pettini, 18 (fatally shot three times, then stabbed 97 times around the breasts and pubic area and sexually violated with a grapevine post-mortem)
  • 1981:
    • June 6, Via Dell'Arrigo:
      • Giovanni Foggi, 30 (shot and then stabbed three times and his throat slashed)
      • Carmela Di Nuccio, 21 (her vagina was removed post-mortem and taken)
    • October 3, the Bartoline Fields:
      • Stefano Baldi, 26
      • Susanna Cambi, 24 (her vagina was removed post-mortem and taken)
  • June 19, 1982, Montespertoli:
    • Paola Mainardi, 22
    • Antonella Migliorini, 20 (was not mutilated post-mortem)
  • September 9, 1983, Giogoli: (both victims were male; neither was mutilated)
    • Horst William Meyer, 24
    • Jens Uwe Rüsch, 24
  • July 29, 1984, Vicchio:
    • Claudio Stefanicci, 21
    • Pia Gilda Rontini, 18 (her pubic area and left breast were removed post-mortem and taken)
  • September 7-8, 1985, Scopeti:
    • Jean Michel Kraveichvili, 25 (injured by four shots, then stabbed in the back, chest and stomach and his throat cut)
    • Nadine Mauriot, 36 (shot three times in the head and once in the throat; her pubic area and left breast were removed post-mortem and taken)

NotesEdit

  • The Monster of Florence has been called as Italy's answer to Jack the Ripper; 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.

On Criminal MindsEdit

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 unpopulated areas and both tended to do overkill with their younger female victims by stabbing them dozens of times.

SourcesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. In Italian, the word for "republic" is spelled with two b:s: "repubblica"

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