Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Monster of Florence

Mutilation and Madness

By 1974, six years after the 1968 double murders, the name Stefano Mele was all but forgotten and local authorities were focused on another disturbing double murder.  On Sept. 14, 1974, investigators were called to the Borgo San Lorenzo area just north of Florence.  A passerby had discovered the bodies of 18-year-old Stefania Pettini and 19-year-old Pasquale Gentilcore in a parked car and made the call to police headquarters. 

Upon arriving at the scene, investigators discovered the half-naked body of a young man in the drivers seat of a Fiat 127, later determined to belong to his father.  He appeared to have been the victim of numerous gunshot wounds.  There was no apparent evidence of a struggle, and copper-jacketed bullet shells dotted the scene.

Stefania Pettini crime scene
Stefania Pettini crime scene

At the rear of the car investigators discovered the completely naked body of a young woman on the ground.  Her killer had ghoulishly posed her corpse -- her arms and legs were in a spread-eagled position and a vine branch protruded from her mutilated vagina.  At first sight, it appeared as though she had been stabbed to death. 

In a nearby field investigators discovered the young womans handbag, with its contents scattered about the ground.  Following a search of the crime scene and a photographic record, both of the bodies were bagged and taken to the morgue for examination. 

During an autopsy of the victims, it was soon revealed that both had been shot numerous times with a small-caliber gun.  Ballistic reports concluded that the weapon was a model 73 or 74, .22 automatic Beretta and that the bullets were a distinctive Winchester type manufactured in Australia during the 1950s.  While the male victim succumbed to five bullet wounds, the female victim had only been shot three times -- her death was ultimately the result of at least one of 96 stab wounds.  The knife was estimated to be 10 to 12 centimeters long and 1.5 centimeters wide, with a single-edged blade.

At the start, investigators focused their attention on three men: 53-year-old Bruno Mocali, a self-proclaimed healer; Giuseppe Francini, a mentally unstable man who had accused himself of the crime by coming to the police station of his own free will; and Guido Giovannini, a voyeur who had been identified by a number of witnesses as someone who had been spying on couples in the area where the crime took place.  But there was no evidence linking any of the men to the crime, and all three were eventually ruled out as possible suspects.

Investigators concluded that the murderer was maniacal and sexually deviant.  With no apparent leads or suspects to pursue, the case came to a stand still.

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