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The Monster of Florence: Reviving the Sardinian Trail

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posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 12:22 AM
I recently read Preston and Spezi's The Monster of Florence. I was startled by the revelations in this book for several reasons: first, I had never heard the the henious murders before reading the book and second, the involvement of the Italian police in attempting to de-rail the publication of the book. After looking into other publicised sources, I can see that a grave injustice has been perpetrated in this case. I am honestly completely shocked at the lack of responce to the book, which lays out a very convincing case against a particular suspect who has been altogether ignored by the authorities. Rather than seek out rational face, the Italian law enforcement behaves in their typical fashion: they sensationalize and speculate evidence out of thin air. In this thread I wanted to re-examine a branch of the official investigation known as "The Sardian Trail," which has (officially) been dropped since the 90's. If you want to familiarize yourself further with the murders and key charecters any further, I recomend you watch this short documentary.

The series of seven murders began in 1974, and from 1981 to 1985 at least one young couple was killed consecutively every summer, all on Saturday nights. The charecteristics that mark these killings as a serial murder are the common location and time. Young Italians generally live with their parents up until marrying, which prompted the national passtime of young, single Florintines to escape to the foothills on the outskirds of the city for romantic trists. In every murder, the young man was left in the vehicle and the woman was generally killed in the vehicle and dragged from the car to an exposed location, where the corpse was mutilated. The murder weapon in every case was a single gun, and in some instances knife wounds were afflicted. The gun, traced from bullet castings and ballistics, was a .22 caliber Beretta "Long Rifle" handgun with no silencer. The most striking aspect of the murder weapon was a small defect that left an unmistakable mark on the rim of the cartidge, as unique as a fingerprint. Tracing the ownership of this gun is obviously the crux of finding the killer, and it is this gun that brings us to a string of suspects known as the Sardinian Trail.

The beginning of the trail is another murder of a young couple that took place six years before the first monster killing. The victems, Barbara Locci and Antonio Lo Bianco, were part of a sordid crew. Barbara was a married Sardinian woman who had a young son at the time of the murder. Her husband was a man named Stefano Mele, who later confessed to Barbara and Antonio's murder. However, shortly before her murder a man named Salvator Vinci, a newly immagrated Sardinian, began bording at their home. Barbara had a reputation for promiscuity and began sleeping with Salvator, with no signs of jelousy from her husband. She then began sleeping with his brother, Francesco Vinci. Finnaly, she began to see her last and fatal attraction: Antonio Lo Bianco. The night of the murder, her young son was sleeping the the back seat of the vehicle. He later was found on a doorstep in Florence, crying hysterically and saying "mama and uncle are dead in the car." The authorities were notified and they harshly interogated the traumatized child. His confused recount of the event placed Slavator Vinci, Stefano Mele, and another man he refered to as "uncle Piero" at the scene of the crime. Police trailed Mele and subjected him to a paraffin-glove test, which revealed traces of nitrate powder on his hand. He later confessed and was sentanced to 17 years in prison.

Stefano Mele quickly gained a reputation as a simpleton who confused facts about the night of the murder often. However, with the murder solved and the case closed he drifted into obscurity. That is, until the double homicides 1981-1982, when investegators started to rework the case after the similarites to the monster killings came to light, the most signifignat being bullet casings bering the same tell-tale mark as in the monster cases. Somehow, the gun, which Stefano claimed he "threw aside" at the crime scene would reapear six years later to kill again. Investegators quickly realized that Mele could not have acted alone in the killings, he was to feeble minded and cowardly. There must have been acomplices, which brought them to the likly suspects of the Vinci brothers.

A clue surfaced shortly after the killings at Montespertpoli. An abandoned vehicle was found on the southern Tuscan coast, cover with brush. The vehicle was registerd to Fransesco Vinci, which was enough for the courts to issue a warrent. Both brothers were subsequently jailed and investigated in the monster killings, Salvatore for an unrelated issue. To understand the mindset of these men you must trace their personal history back to Sardinia.

Salvatore Vinci had a wife in Sardinia who supposedly commited suacide at the young age of seventeen, presumably from propane poisioning. Salvatore and the woman, known as "Barbarina," had a baby boy at the time of her death. His name was Antonio Vinci, Barbarina had named him after her lover whom Salvator despised. It was long suspected that Salvator had killed his wife, and he was brought up on charges for the murder nearly twenty years after she died. Antonio Vinci was born into this world of violence, abandonment, and betrayal. When Salvatore relocated to Florence Antonio traveled with him. After the Barbara Locci affair, Salvator started dating a woman whom Antionio would look to as a mother figure. This woman was later interviewed for the trail and stated that Salvator was keen to many sexual perversions, among them group sex and homosexuality. She left abruptly, and Antonio once again lost a mother-figure and continued to be brought-up by his depraved father.

Although Salvatore was never directly indited for the "monster" killings, many believed his was a man capable of commiting those crimes. However, there is a darker possibility. The FBI collaberated with Italian Police and released a criminal and behavioral profile of the "Monster." The report claimed that the Monster was a young man, probably in his 20-30's. He was impotent, he would try to rape his victems but was unable to; hence the mutilation and movement of the bodies. This was a form of possession. He would not have any heavy conictions, but would have a rap sheet consistanat of petty theft, illegal possession of weapons, ect. He also would have a hatred towards woman which stemmed from the abandonment and lack of a mother-figure.

Many people have been indicted, suspected, and conspired against as being the Monster. 10 years into the investigation all hope of finding him stoped, and the Italian people were left with two chief investigators prone to building their cases around superstition and rumor. Both the writers of the afformentioned novel were investigated and interogated, and Mario Spezi was actually indicted. Coincidentaly enought, one of these inspectors was the same in the Amanda Knox case.

What seems clear to me is the obvious identity of the likelyist suspect for the Monster, who has never been officially investigated. The most striking piece of evidence is a document that was supressed from the case for obvious reasons. (Continued.)

posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 12:36 AM
In the spring of 1974, four monthes before th first Monster Killing, Salvator Vinci filed a theft complaint with the local authorities. He claimed that his house was broken into, but nothing apeared to be stolen. However, he did name the man whom he considered to be the obvious perpetrator: his son Antonio Vinci, whom he had been astranged from for 15 years. Although the official statement says nothing was stolen, it seems obvious enough to assume that Salvator had taken the valuable murder weapon for the scene of the 1968 killings and stached it in his home. Also, filing this complaint would serve its purpose in diverting attention from Salvator to Antonio. Antonio would later serve as a whitness in the trial against Salvator for the murder of his mother.

Antionio Vinci fits the FBI profile to a tee. He was married from 1981-1984, it ended in divorce for impotence. He later claimed his wife was sterile. His criminal record also matched the profile, he has been convicted of several small crimes. Although he would have only been 15 at the time of the murder, many serial killers are known to start young. The first crime was also slopier than the others, as he had only inadvertantly killed the first victem due to a bullet being redirected from his arm into his chest. He also lived or was familiar with the areas of the murders, a map of which is available here.

Mario Spezi and Douglas Preston actually intervied Antonio. Shockingly enough, he disclosed to him through an offhanded statement that he owned a scuba knife; which the original Medical Examiner claimed made many of the cuts on the victems. When asked directly if he was the Monster, he replied no. Then, as the two were leaving, he spoke to Spezi in a threatening tone, stating "I Don't Play Games."

It is absolutely unthinkable to me that this man still remins outside of custody. I cannot imagine why he was not at least investigated for the murders. Acording to the afterword of the book, he still lives in a small town outside of Florence. I cannot imagine the public outcry that would arise from a string of murders this henous still remaining unsolved in the United States.

As an Italian-American who can trace my heritage back to Florence, I am totally appauled that these facts were only investigated by journalists rather that authorities whom could bring this man to justice. The Italan Justice System needs to become much more focused on evidence than idle conjecture. If not, miscarriages of justice such as the Moster killing and the Amanda Knox affair will continue, to disaterous consequences.

posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 01:58 AM
...or it could have been someone altogether different from Camp Darby.

It's just a hunch, but the Saturday thing kind of sticks out.

It's a total guess on my part. But who knows? It could be right.

Fixed your video link:

edit on 27-3-2012 by loam because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 05:54 AM
Excellent thread! S+F for you OP. I have read about this case a few times. Yup incompetence and corruption knows no limits; probably 2 reasons why this case has never been properly dealt with. Another one you might be interested in looking at is Pedro Alonso López (otherwise known as 'The monster of the Andes'). He is suspected of the rape and murder of 350+ girls in South America, unbelievably he was freed in 1998 (despite him vowing to kill again on his release), deported back to his home country and then disappeared! Take a look at this link.

Edit - Cool avatar btw.

edit on 27/3/12 by Anon77 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 09:34 AM
reply to post by loam

Thanks for fixing the link!
That thought has certainly crossed my mind. Who knows, with the was this investigation was conducted, they may have missed the mark entirely. Several clues left at the scene of the crime are still unexplained and untraced to this day, the most prominant being an Italian doorstop left at the scene of one of the crimes. For me, such a cold calculated killer would not make such a mistake, unless it meant something. It was later implicated that the doorstop was some sort of occult object, but that is obvoiusly untrue and the product of guesswork and overspeculation. The murders occuring on a Saturday night is very meaningful, perhaps it has relevance to the Barbara Locci murder. I trully think that whether the Sardinian Trail is the right direction or not, the key to the Monster is the Locci murder.

reply to post by Anon77

Thanks so much! I will definately look into this monster, what a rap sheet he has! I don't know what it is that facinated me about the Monster of Florence, probably because I have visited the town several times and am extreemly fond of it. At the time, and still today, the Italian police knew little to nothing of the charecteristics of a serial killer. Its much more of a Western invention.
Oh! Sidenote, Thomas Harris used many elements of this case and other murders, many of them Mafia related, to write his Hannibal Lector series.

posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 11:06 AM
Your not kidding! Pedro is a major serial killer! I was interested in this case (and others) because serial killers in general interest me (sounds a little morbid I know!) it's just how they hide in plain view, across all these cases you always hear witnesses, neighbors, friends, family members etc all saying what a nice person they were and how unexpected the the fact they were a serial killer. A murdering monster/predator with the ability to hide in plain sight... just really fascinates me. lol.
Just goes to show you can never really know someone, all you know is what they want you to see. As well it's also quite surprising the relative lack of female serial killers relative to male ones... although maybe the females are smarter and just haven't been caught. I think your right about the Italian police not recognising the serial killer aspect to this case. The definition of 'Serial Killer' (and related information) comes from the FBI in the 1970's it was not widely known or passed on to law enforcement worldwide for a long time.

Cool! I didn't know that. I've read all the books and seen all the films (I liked the books better). Speaking of mafia serial killers you should have a look at 'Richard Leonard "The Iceman" Kuklinski'.

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