The Monster of Florence
The Mystery Begins
The mystery of the Monster of Florence began in August 1968 with the murder of Barbara Locci, a 32-year-old married woman from Lastra a Signa, and her lover Antonio Lo Bianco. Even though Barbara was married and had a child, she was known around town as a promiscuous woman, and had previously earned the nickname "Queen Bee".
On the evening of Aug. 21, 1968, Barbara, her young son, and Antonio were returning from a movie theater when Antonio suggested that they stop at a nearby cemetery for a quick sexual liaison. Since her son was fast asleep in the backseat, Barbara agreed without hesitation. Their fun was short lived. As Antonio began removing Barbaras clothes, a dark figure appeared out of the dark and shot them both dead. Following the double murder, the killer grabbed Barbaras son out of the car and carried him away.
Sometime later that night, a local farmer was awakened by a knock on his front door. When the man opened the door, the young boy was standing there with tears running down his face. "My mother and my uncle are dead," the child told the man. Apparently not wanting to harm the young boy, the killer had left him on the farmers front steps. The farmer immediately notified the police.
As investigators went over the cemetery crime scene, they discovered eight .22-caliber shell casings by the vehicle. The car was a white Alfa Romeo "Giulietta" with license plates from the Province of Arezzo. A check of the vehicles registration revealed that it belonged to Antonio Lo Bianco. Investigators were initially stumped. Who had committed this heinous crime and why?
Between six and seven in the morning, a police patrol car reached the home of Stefano Mele, Barbara's husband. As investigators made their way to Meles front door, it abruptly opened, and he stepped out with a suitcase, appearing to be in a hurry. When he had little reaction to the news of his wifes murder, investigators suspicions increased. Mele hesitantly agreed to talk with investigators and accompanied them to police headquarters.
At the stationhouse, Mele told investigators that he had not felt well since the afternoon of the previous day, and had stayed at home, during which time two people had come to visit him, Carmelo Cutrona and Antonio Lo Bianco, both of whom had been his wife's lovers. During the questioning, Mele also mentioned Francesco Vinci, another lover of his wife. Vinci had been arrested in November 1967 following an accusation of adultery by his own wife. As soon as Vinci was released from prison, he resumed the relationship with his lover. Barbara had been the lover of all three Vinci brothers -- Giovanni, Salvatore and Francesco. Investigators decided to investigate some of Mele allegations, and he was asked to return the following day.