Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Monster of Florence

Revelations Heard

Salvatore Vinci
Salvatore Vinci

The following day, Aug. 23, 1968, after telling investigators that he considered his wife's lovers to be possible suspects in the double murder, Mele surprised everyone by confessing that he and Salvatore Vinci had killed his wife Barbara and Antonio Lo Bianco.  During his confession, Mele stated that, when his wife and son failed to return home by 11:20 p.m. on Aug. 21, he went looking for them.  He eventually reached the town square of Lastra a Signa, where he met Salvatore Vinci and told him that Barbara had gone to the movies, perhaps with Antonio Lo Bianco, and taken their child with her.  Vinci scolded Stefano for allowing his wife to continually cheat on him and told him that he should put a stop to the situation.  Vinci had a small weapon with him, and the two of them drove to Signa.

When the two men arrived, they discovered Antonios Alfa Romeo Giulietta parked near the Giardino Michelacci movie theater.  Stefano and Salvatore waited at the exit and eventually saw Lo Bianco and Barbara, who had the child in her arms, exit the theater.  Stefano and Salvatore got into the car and followed them to the cemetery, just outside of town.  Stefano told investigators that when Antonio and Barbara began to make out Salvatore pulled a small pistol out of a bag and handed it to him.

Stefano said he walked up to the car and began firing until the gun was empty.  His son slept through the initial hail of gunfire, but woke up immediately afterward.  When Stefano returned to Salvatore's car, he told him that he had killed them.  The two men then drove to the Signa Bridge where they disposed of the gun. A short time later he was back home again.

Stefano ended his confession by stating, I killed my wife and her lover because I was tired of continually being humiliated.  My wife had been cheating on me for a number of years, but it was only a few months ago that I decided to do away with her.  While Stefanos story was lacking in many respects, the least of which being that he failed to mention if his son had seen him or how he ended up at the farmhouse, he was quickly arrested and held pending official charges.

The following day, Aug. 24, 1968, the police searched everywhere for the pistol to no avail.  A prosecutor questioned Stefano about the pistol, and he quickly changed his story, stating that instead of throwing the weapon away he had given it back to Salvatore Vinci.  Nonetheless, a few hours later, Stefano retracted his entire confession and began accusing Salvatore's brother, Francesco Vinci.  He stated that Francesco owned the weapon and that Francesco had killed his wife.  For the next three days, Stefano told police the opposite of what he had said previously.
Two years after the double murder took place, Stefano Mele was found guilty as the lone perpetrator during a hasty trial and sentenced to 14 years in prison on the grounds of partial insanity.


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