The Monster of Florence biography
SynopsisThe Monster of Florence was a killer who became notorious for his pattern; he always targeted amorous couples that were out alone, shot them at close range with a .22-caliber Beretta and mutilated the sexual organs of the female victim. The killer was responsible for 16 murders between 1968 and 1985. Four men have been arrested, but police suggest that the real killer has never been identified.
Notorious Figure, serial killer. "Il Mostro di Firenze", or "The Monster of Florence", first came to prominence in 1981 in Florence, Italy. The killer became notorious for his homicidal pattern; he always targeted amorous couples that were out alone, shot them at close range with a .22-caliber Beretta, and then mutilated the sexual organs of the female victim with a sharp knife.
Il Mostro earned notoriety on June 6, 1981, after the bodies of 30-year-old Giovanni Foggi and his fiancée, 21-year-old Carmela Di Nuccio, were found near their vehicle in the Scandicci area of Tuscany, Italy. The killer had shot Foggi and Di Nuccio with a .22-caliber Beretta while the couple was parked in their car near a local "lover's lane." He then stabbed them repeatedly. After they were both dead, the murderer pulled Di Nuccio's lifeless body approximately 30 feet from the car and carefully removed her reproductive organs with a serrated knife commonly used by S.C.U.B.A. divers. The near-surgical precision with which the genitals were cut from the victim's body suggested that the killer had a medical background.
Investigators initially suspected ambulance driver—and secret voyeur—Enzo Spalleti, whose car had been parked near the scene of the crime. As law enforcement officers probed Spaletti further, he gave vague, conflicting alibis. More evidence revealed that the suspect had told his wife about the incident before it had been announced in the paper. With this evidence, Spalleti was charged with two counts of homicide and sent to prison to stand trial. Several months later, however, a new murder led police to believe they had apprehended the wrong man.
On October 23, 1981, 24-year-old Susanna Cambi and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Stefano Baldi, were found dead at a scenic overlook north of Florence. Both members of the couple were shot several times with a .22-caliber Beretta. They had also been stabbed and, as in the previous homicide, the female victim was dragged from the car and her genitals were removed with a sharp knife. After a ballistics investigation, experts concluded that the gun used on Foggi and Di Nuccio in July was the same weapon used in this double homicide. Spalleti, no longer a murder suspect, was released from prison.
Police revealed the details of the deaths to the media in the hopes of gathering more clues and preventing young couples from parking alone at night. News writer Mario Spezi dubbed the killer "Il Mostro di Firenze," and the reports of the killer inspired fear in the heart of Florence locals, but no relevant details about a subject surfaced.
Spezi, however, was intrigued by the details. His research led him to a 1974 double-murder in Borgo San Lorenzo. The couple, teenage lovers Pasquale Gentilcore and Stefania Pettini, was found murdered outside of their parked car. Both Gentilcore and Pettini had been shot and stabbed. Pettini had been mutilated, and a grapevine stalk had been placed in her genital area.
When police re-opened the investigation of the Gentilcore/Pettini murders, they discovered that the bullets from the crime scene matched those from the two most recent murders. Il Mostro was now responsible for six homicide victims. As police continued puzzled over possible suspects, more couples would die.
In June 1982, Paolo Mainardi, 22, and his fiancée Antonella Migliorini, 20, were both shot while parked on a country road in Mainardi's car. The killer missed his intended target, however, and Mainardi nearly managed to escape in his vehicle but drove his car across the road into a ditch instead. Il Mostro shot his male victim in the head, and stabbed both bodies several times before fleeing the scene. Mainardi died before he was able to give a description of the killer, but police told media outlets that they had gotten some valuable details in the hopes of pushing the killer into making a mistake.
The tactic wouldn't push Il Mostro out of hiding, but he did begin taunting investigators. He sent police officials a letter suggesting that they check out yet another double-murder, the shootings of Antonio Lo Bianco and Barbara Locci. The killings, which took place in August of 1968, didn't quite fit the profile of Il Mostro's other homicides. The couple was together in an illicit tryst, though, and had both been shot with a .22-caliber Beretta. Bullet casings on file matched the others from Il Mostro's more recent crimes, as well. His death toll was now at 10 victims.
Il Mostro's next killings took place in 1983 when he shot two German tourists, Horst Wilhelm Mayer and Jens Uwe Rusch, while they were parked in their Volkswagen bus. Police believe the killer mistook one of the two men for a woman, and that the tourists were actually homosexual lovers. Disgusted, Il Mostro did not perform his ritual mutilation, but instead tore up a homosexual magazine from the van and fled the scene after the shootings.
In July of 1984, Il Mostro murdered couple Claudio Stefanacci and Pia gilda Rontini. As in the other killings, they were shot and stabbed. Up to this point, with the exception of the 1968 deaths of Lo Bianco and Locci, all the murders held an eerie similarity: all of them occurred between 10:00 p.m. and midnight, the man was always shot first, and the attacker wore surgical gloves in order to leave no trace of his crimes. But in 1984, Il Mostro departed from his pattern. After the couple was dead, the murderer removed Rontini's left breast, as well as her genitals. The move puzzled and disturbed detectives, who began to wonder if the murderer planned to increase the brutality of his killings.
The next year, after stabbing and shooting French tourists Jean Michel Kraveichvili and Nadine Mauriot, Il Mostro did the same mutilation to Mauriot's body. This time, however, he sent the piece of his victim's breast to the state prosecutor, Silvia della Monica. On receipt of the letter, della Monica immediately resigned from her post.
On the morning of the latest murders, a bullet casing matching the gun from the previous murders was found at a hospital close to the site of Kraveichvill and Mauriot's killings. This led police to believe a member of the hospital staff may have been involved, but no one was charged.
Investigation and Accusations
Investigators, still unable to find any new leads, began pursuing other possibilities. They investigated more than 100,000 people in hopes of gathering new evidence. Their questioning led to the doorstep of farmer Pietro Pacciani, a former rapist and murderer who had been arrested in 1951 for killing the man he'd found sleeping with his fiancée. Pacciani had been released after serving 13 years for his crime, but investigators believed that the man was still committing murders. In a highly publicized 1994 trial, a judge and jury convicted Pacciani for 14 of the 16 counts of murder. But in 1996 an appeals court overturned the conviction, citing lack of evidence.
The police, now desperate to find the murder or murderers, began developing a new theory. Acting on the belief that the killings were committed by a Satanic cult led by Pacciani, police concluded that two of Pacciani's friends Mario Vanni and Giancarlo Lotti were accomplices in the crimes. They were believed to have committed the murders in order to gain power from their victim's reproductive organs during bizarre cult rituals. Pacciani was was held in prison for a retrial, and in 1997 Lotti and Vanni were convicted to life in prison for the murders, with very little evidence to back the claims. Pacciani died of cardiac arrest in February 1998, before he was able to face his retrial. Lotti died in prison four years later.
Investigators made another leap in January of 2004, when they accused pharmacist Francesco Calamandrei of leading the Satanic cult they believed was responsible for the murders. For the next three years, police built a case against Calamandrei, as well Mario Spezi, a journalist who had been following the murders and was an outspoken critic of the police investigation. An outraged public, who believed the police had gone too far, protested the arrest. They alleged that prosecutors wanted to silence Spezi's criticisms, and pressured police into letting Spezi go. Spezi was eventually absolved of the crimes, and the group in charge of the Il Mostro investigation was dissolved in 2006. Prosecutors Giuliano Mignini and Michele Giuttari were also charged with abuse of office for their arrest of Spezi. In 2007, Calamandrei stood trial, but was acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence. Two years later, Vanni died in a nursing home. Whether or not he participated in the crimes, or was falsely accused, remains a mystery.
In 2010, Mignini and Giuttari stood trial for abuse of power. They were convicted of the charges.
The identity of the Monster of Florence remains a mystery.