More than 24 years after the last known murder of the “Monster of Florence” and the story is once again causing attention. After being recreated by filmmakers three times already, rumors of Tom Cruise’s involvement in the fourth production are flying around. The details of the murders seems perfect for any movie plot, providing endless twists and public frenzy. And with the location of a dark Italian city at night in the background, it seems like the perfect setting. The first documented murder ended in the deaths of a married woman, Barbara Locci (32), and her lover, Antonio Lo Bianco in 1968. The killer shot both lovers and left the scene, baffling police with a lack of evidence and motive. But with any chance of arrest the police jumped on Stefano Mele, Locci’s husband, and pinned the murders to him.
The next murder took place in 1974, surprising police and the public. A young couple was shot in their parked car in the center of Florence. The man appeared to be half-dressed in the car, while the body of the woman was found positioned ghoulishly behind the car. Theories began on the killer’s motive and his apparent hunt for lovers, particularly in moments of passion. After this murder the killer continued to pick victims. Over a two month period in 1981 two couples were found dead. Stefano Mele, the original suspect, was released from prison as it did not seem he was guilty of his crimes.
In 1982 the killer was taken by surprise. The killer began to shoot at a young couple, Paolo Mainardi (22) and Antonella Migliorini (20), as they were in their car. Mainardi, while still conscious, began to reverse the car but in panic drove the vehicle into a ditch. The killer shot Mainardi repeatedly before leaving the scene. However, Mainardi lived until the next day when he was discovered. After never regaining consciousness he died, but left police with an interesting opportunity. In a release to the press the police divulged to the public that Mainardi had given them information before dying, in hopes that it would scare the killer. In fact, the killer took initiative to call one of the emergency workers who had been present, asking for details on what had been said exactly. However, this lead did not end in any arrests or suspects.
Police were slightly thrown off guard when the “Monster” broke his pattern, probably by accident. The killer targeted and murdered two German boys in 1983 but did not mutilate either one. Police speculated that the killer had made a mistake and upon discovery became disinterested. The police force began to draw similarities between the victims in hope that this would give them some insight. What they discovered was that many of the victims had spent their last night at clubs, and most of the murders happened on Saturdays. At this time a religious historian saw fit to come forward to the police with a theory, he mentioned the possibility of religious cults in the murders. Basing this upon the mutilations carried out upon the female bodies the police did not rule this out as a possibility.
In the next two years another two couples were killed, and the killer seemed to only become more macabre and gory in his murders. These were the last documented murders of the “Monster of Florence.” The day after the last murder the police received an envelope containing a cube of flesh from the last victim of the murders. However, the police remained stunned with the evidence and the case fell silent once more. Only in 1993 was Pietro Pacciani arrested when he became a suspect due to his freckled past with the justice system. Pietro Pacciani had already served time for killing a traveling salesman who had been sleeping with his girlfriend, and was arrested again for beating his wife and molesting his two daughters. The police decided to televise the case, and the public tuned in without fail.
However, the case once again came apart in 1996 when associates of Pacciani were arrested in respect to the murders. Mario Vanni (70) and Giancarlo Lotti (54) were sentenced and Pacciani was released. Police speculated that all three men and possibly a fourth had been involved in planning and carrying out the murders. The men were sentenced due to circumstantial proof and the mystery of the “Monster of Florence” was put to rest.