Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Monster of Florence

Deceptive Tactics


On June 19, 1982, a Saturday night, the killer struck again near Montespertoli, southwest of Florence.  A young couple, 22-year-old Paolo Mainardi and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Antonella Migliorini, were making love in a parking space near the Via Nuova Virgilio provincial roadway, when someone appeared out of the bushes and began shooting.  Both were struck by the initial barrage of gunfire and Antonella died almost immediately.  Even though Paolo was seriously injured, he was able start the car, turn on the headlights, and shift the vehicle into reverse.

Unfortunately the car ended up in a ditch and Paolo was unable to get it back out.  The killer wasted little time and quickly shot out the vehicles headlights, restoring the darkness and emptied his pistol into the two victims.  After turning off the engine, the keys were pulled from the ignition and thrown into the weeds.  Obviously disturbed by traffic in the area, the killer decided to skip the gruesome mutilation rites and fled the scene without even realizing that Paolo Mainardi was still alive.

Unfortunately for Paolo, he was not discovered until the following morning and died just hours later, without ever having regained consciousness.  Later the same morning, the assistant district attorney assigned to the case, Silvia Della Monica, gathered various reporters from the media in her office and asked them to spread a minor lie.  The keen assistant DA wanted the press to report that Paolo Mainardi was still alive when he arrived at the hospital, and that he had had time to give a description of the killer before he died.  All of the reporters agreed, and the information appeared in the afternoon paper.  Silvia Della Monica was hoping that the killer would become anxious and make a false move.

The assistant DAs gamble did make the killer nervous.  Following the release of the afternoon paper, one of the Red Cross emergency workers who had accompanied Paolo Mainardi to the hospital received two telephone calls from a person who first claimed to be with the DA's office and then changed his story, identifying himself as the murderer.  He wanted to know what the young man said before dying. 

A few days after the murder of Paolo Mainardi and Antonella Migliorini, a sergeant in the police force, Francesco Fiore, recalled the murder of Barbara Locci and Antonio Lo Bianco, committed in 1968 when he was assigned to Signa.  Francesco began to wonder if there was a connection with the crimes of the Monster.  On his insistence, the shells were compared and the tests revealed that the same weapon, a Beretta .22-caliber pistol, fired all the Winchester bullets, and that the shells all came from a single box of 50 bullets.  The pistol used by the Monster was the same weapon that killed Locci and Lo Bianco in 1968.

Analyzing the situation 14 years after the 1968 murders, it was immediately apparent that Stefano Mele, the husband of the murdered woman, could not have been the Monster of Florence since he was in jail in both 1974 and 1981.  At that point the investigators assumed that Mele had to have an accomplice -- someone who continued killing after he was imprisoned.  Regardless, Mele was still claiming his innocence and refused to cooperate with investigators.

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