The Monster of Florence was a heinous serial killer who mutilated his female victims and terrified Tuscany from 1968 to 1985; it is now the most famous cold case in Italy. Here in the Greater Seattle Area, we knew this fear from the 70’s to the 90’s as two serial killers left their mark upon our lives, but we never expected a twist of fate to link us to a foreign murderer.
Our connection to the Monster of Florence is the Perugian Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, the man who wrongfully prosecuted and convicted Amanda Knox and her friend Raffaele Sollecito of the death of Meredith Kercher in 2009. His lurid tales of satanic rituals, sex, drugs and his parade of tramp witnesses were so far fetched that it set off alarm bells all over Amanda’s Seattle community. Fear replaced alarm when we discovered that this was not the first time Perugia’s PM had used these same tactics, in the decade prior to Meredith’s murder he had become notorious as a wily and ruthless prosecutor.
His path to glory using the Monster of Florence case became our path to ruin.
In 1995 Michele Giuttari took over the MOF investigative squad and by 2002 he had joined forces in a holy war against the Order of the Red Rose (ORR, a medieval satanic sect) with Mignini and Gabriela Carlizzi, a spirit channeler. The public prosecutor, the cop and the psychic concocted theory after theory featuring mentally challenged persons, tramps, addicts and prostitutes as witness/informants. They wove elaborate tales about the modern doings of the ORR, whom they claimed had infiltrated Italy’s elite. Then they laid waste to a select few as they tried to prove that Satanism was alive and well in Tuscany and Umbria.
A year and a half before Meredith’s murder an American author and an Italian journalist crossed paths with Mignini for writing about the case. In their book, “The Monster of Florence,” authors Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi describe their interrogations at the hands of the Perugian PM. He accused Spezi of being Il Mostro because he had been reporting on the investigation for decades and had amassed an impressive set of files on the case. Mignini imprisoned him, ‘confiscated’ his files and subjected him to an outlandish trial. Preston was chased out of the country.
Preston and Spezi were now victims of a different Monster of Florence, an investigation that had become a Juggernaut, a destructive force.
For over forty years those accused of being the Monster or being connected with the Monster have had their lives destroyed as they and their families suffered from slander, finger pointing, shunning, imprisonment, lost jobs and ruined careers. The sixteen families who lost loved ones have waited for decades hoping that Il Mostro would answer for his crimes and although the police investigated 100,000 Italian men, most without their knowledge, the real killer remains elusive.
In the past decade, Perugia’s Monster hunt effectively steamrolled anyone who got in its way. In an unbelievable spectacle of accusations and legal actions more than 20 people found themselves entangled without a shred of evidence. No theory was too outlandish as Mignini, Giuttari and Carlizzi played off of each other. The mutilations became ‘obscene wafers for Satanic Rituals.’ An actor, writer and pharmacist were accused of being Il Mostro. The rich and famous were ORR Masterminds. A body was ‘switched twice’ by the ORR to fool authorities.
The Satanic Trio saw signs of the Order of the Red Rose everywhere and Carlizzi spun fantastic tales of its perversion reaching into the highest offices and the wealthiest families in Italy. Ironically the Masonic Sacred Number Three would associate itself with Mignini through his use of three “key investigators” during both the MOF and Kercher investigations, as well as the unusual “need” for three murderers to charge with Kercher’s murder.
During the summer of 2007 Meredith, Amanda and Raffaele arrived in Perugia to settle in before the start of the new term at the University of Perugia and the University of Foreigners, none knew that in less than two months their lives would be forever changed by monsters.
On Sept 27, 2007, thirty-five days before Meredith’s death, the trial of Francesco Calamandrei began; the pharmacist was accused of being the Monster of Florence. Mignini brought in a schizophrenic and several tramps; serial witnesses who had testified ten years earlier at another Monster trial. Calamandrei’s lawyer, Gabriele Zanobini, told the court that “almost all the results of the Perugian investigation are like so much waste paper.”
Then Zanobini read a document in which Mignini had interviewed an associate of Gabriela Carlizzi who wove a bizarre tale that included many of the principals in the Monster investigation, the first of many lunacies Zanobini presented at trial. On May 21, 2008 Mr. Calamandrei was found innocent and “acquitted for the reason that the Allegation is Nonexistent.” That means, in Italian Law, that the crime had never occurred and Mignini failed to prove Satanism in court. Six and a half months later he would try again when he prosecuted Amanda and Raffaele for murder. Six and a half months later Mignini would hop back in the driver seat of the Juggernaught and begin crushing more innocent people in his path.
But it is worthy to note that on Oct 31, 2007, Mignini had been indicted for Abuse of Office and was awaiting trial. Calamandrei’s trail had just started. He was dealing with Carlizzi by himself. Giuttari was gone, sent back to Rome where he began his writing career. And a few powerful locals were not happy about the ORR–Wealthy Old Italian Family theory he had floated. Mignini’s career was on shaky ground and he needed a distraction, a sleight of hand, to shift attention away from himself for a while.
November 2, 2007 that distraction arrived in the form of Amanda Knox.
The night before, All Saint’s Day, Rudy Guede killed Meredith Kercher in a botched robbery/rape. Meredith’s murder is thirteen years to the day when Pietro Pacciani was convicted of being the Monster of Florence. Pacciani was the only person ever convicted of the crime, he was exonerated on appeal and all charges dropped in 1997. Carlizzi sees the coincidental “13 years apart” as a significant connection to Satan.
Mignini, Perugian Homicide Chief Monica Napoleoni and Roman Scientific Police Chief Edgardo Giobbi colluded to charge Amanda and Raffaele with Meredith’s murder, along with another innocent man, Patrick Lumumba. Mignini theorized the Satanist involvement because of the proximity to Halloween; it’s very likely that Carlizzi would have some role to play in this unusual “discovery of facts.”
November 2nd, All Soul’s Day, would begin an unending nightmare for three innocent families as their children gave up their lives to murder, vanity and avarice. Meredith dead, Amanda and Raffaele trapped in prison by corruption for four years. Even freed on appeal they face who knows how many more years as the case winds it’s way through the Italian system.
On Nov 7, 2007, the day after Amanda and Raffaele’s arrest, Carlizzi posts on her website that Meredith was a “human sacrifice that bears close connection with the Narducci Case and with the Monster of Florence.” She wondered if ‘those who committed this murder’ did it knowing the investigation would end up in Mignini lap, and in this way the ‘offered sacrifice’ to Satan would be a fair exchange for the protection they hoped to gain from Mignini’s investigations of their satanic rituals.”
On August 24, 2008, Carlizzi tells readers that Amanda and Meredith were recruited on their own college campuses and then “sent” by the powers of Satan to Perugia, where one would kill and one would be killed. She says that “it matters little the role of those who die or those who remain alive, but that assumes a fundamental importance is the only motive to which both would “obey,” referring to both Amanda and Meredith being “obedient” members of the ORR. Then she goes on to say, “we can assume the membership of two students at an Esoteric School common to both Universities of origin (meaning the University of Washington and Leeds University), and reunited in Perugia at the University for foreigners.”
Carlizzi not only influenced the Monster of Florence investigation but also the investigation into Meredith’s murder. This is the person who counseled Mignini about the nefarious doings of “Masonic Orders and Esoteric Schools,” like the ORR. “Esoteric” is synonymous with “Satanism” in Italy, one rarely considers the former without thinking of the latter.
From November 6, 2007 until present, Amanda would bear the brunt of the international hate created by the Smear Campaign of Mignini and his Clan, while the official slight of hand deftly scooped up and imprisoned Rudy Guede. Conveniently shutting him up with only a rare comment from his lawyer.
Guede is the young man who’s DNA, fingerprints and shoeprints were all over the crime scene. All over Meredith. In 2010 his 30-year sentence for Meredith’s murder was cut to 16-years when he was ‘encouraged’ by his lawyers to write a letter of apology to the Kercher family for brutalizing their daughter, stabbing her in the throat when she fought back and sexually molesting her as she died. Oops, I mean, “trying to save her.”
Guede’s sentence reduction is shamefully biased.
In retrospect Amanda and Raffaele have been subject to pompous, heinous, ridiculous, contemptuous and slanderous lies; at last count more than 40 Myths were created for them to bear. These intelligent, compassionate young adults were broadcast to the world as though they were insane, drug-crazed maniacs.
A near perfect description of the 1938 Reefer Madness trailer on Youtube is what Mignini described to the press in 2007 and to the court in 2009. Complete with young adults chain smoking joints, cackling maniacally, crazy dancing, knife welding, unabated sex, wild abandon, why Mignini even created “dialogue” for Meredith and Amanda’s fictional catfight to enthrall the court. “All that was missing was the video camera,” he said.
Actually, I think the video camera in his head is worthy of a few flavorful expletives from a horrified mother. He needs to wash his brain out with soap.
Certainly all the MOF investigative tools were used to great effect during Meredith’s murder investigation. Spirit channelers, tramps and drug dealers for witnesses. Satanism, sex, drugs, tainted DNA evidence, elementary investigative mistakes, lurid accusations, illegal interrogations, thundering theatrics in the courtroom, finger pointing, imprisonment, solitary confinement, Abuse of Office, wiretapping, falsifying evidence and it is all complemented with a masterful bending and twisting of Italy’s Laws.
Mignini artfully applied due process meant for violent criminals to innocent bystanders.
And here we are today, waiting patiently (sorta) and praying for fair play as facts are still being pried from the fingers of the prosecution, facts the defense has been waiting to review since November 2, 2007.
And my opinion, as the Average Citizen, is that this was a badly botched murder investigation by seasoned professionals led by a Public Prosecutor who has a masterful grasp of the law. He is not crazy; he is manipulative and controlling. Public Prosecutors are at the top of the judicial food chain in Italian cities, these are not wide-eyed neophytes. They are not only the Lead Investigators but also the prosecutorial lawyers. Giuliano Mignini knew what he was doing at Meredith’s crime scene and, as we have seen during the pretrial, original trial, appeal, slander trials and the Supreme Court, he knows how to work the legal system. As all of the prosecutors connected to this case have repeatedly demonstrated.
It’s readily apparent, to me at least, that Public Prosecutor Mignini used Amanda and Raffaele as a sort of human shield to deflect attention away from himself for his egregious behavior in the MOF case. But today Mignini is practically alone, Giuttari and Giobbi are in Rome, Napoleoni is still in Perugia, but Carlizzi died in 2010. I don’t think they meant to garner the international attention of so many intelligent professionals, the caliber of which reflects the true nature of Amanda, Meredith and Raffaele; not the entitled, drug-fueled, murderous criminals these people imagined. What will become of Mignini is anyone’s guess and I really don’t care, as long as Italy does right by Amanda, Raffaele and, especially, Meredith’s family.
But the soft glow of hope, that has gave us strength these long years, throws into stark relief the sordid twists in the Monster of Florence investigation that led to the sacrifice of three innocent students and their families. Giuliano Mignini has been chasing Satanists all over the sun-drenched vineyards and through the winding medieval streets. Doing God’s Work. He proclaims to be a man of God, as well as a man of law, so he should know that he has broken all of the laws in Exodus 23:1-9. Certainly every good Christian is taught that actions, more than words, are the hallmark of righteousness and Mignini’s actions demonstrate evil, not good. If the prosecutor wants to find a Satanist, he should look in the mirror.
It’s time for authorities to stop the Monster of Florence from claiming any more victims. It’s time to free Amanda and Raffaele from these shackles.
It’s time for justice for Meredith Kercher’s family.