The Beasts of Satan were a suspected satanic cult
in Italy. The members of this group committed three notorious ritual
murders over six years, which shocked Italy upon their discovery. The
slayings were called "one of the most shocking crimes in post-war Italy"
by the BBC.
Crimes and investigation
The first incident was a January 1998 double homicide that occurred in
the woods near Somma Lombardo, northwest of Milan.
Chiara Marino, shop
assistant, aged 19, and her boyfriend Fabio Tollis, a 16 year old
student and heavy-metal musician, were sacrificially stabbed and beaten
in a drug-fueled occult rite involving sex and heavy metal music.
couple, who had spent a normal Saturday night drinking beer and
listening heavy metal music at Midnight Pub, which was the center
of the city's metal scene, never returned home. Both Tollis and Marino
were stabbed to death by their friends Andrea Volpe, Nicola Sapone and
Fabio Tollis, a sturdy young man, desperately tried to
defend himself and Chiara but there was nothing he could do. Maccione,
Sapone and Volpe later buried the corpses in a large grave in the woods
and danced on the graveyard, laughing and screaming "Now you're both
zombies! Try to get out of this hole, if you dare!".
initially drawn by the authorities at the time was that they had run
away together for a love affair as their friend suggested, but this
explanation was not accepted by Fabio's father, Michele Tollis, who
began his own investigation. Just a few hours before the murder, Nicola
Sapone forced Fabio Tollis call home up and say to his father he didn't
mean to come back home on that night because he preferred sleeping with
his girlfriend. Michele Tollis noticed something strange and immediately
reached the Midnight to have a word with his son. Unfortunately,
it was too late: Fabio and Chiara had already left with their presumed
friend for Somma Lombardo and never came back.
Michele Tollis discovered
just how deeply they had become involved in satanism and the occult;
both common themes of the black metal and death metal genres that his
son and friends were interested in. Becoming convinced of a connection
between satanism and their disappearance, over six years he steadily
constructed a file on their activities and the bands in which they had
played. When the third murder occurred, Tollis took his findings to the
police, who used them to link all three murders to Andrea Volpe and the
wider satanic sect.
Third murder and revelations
The third murder was committed in January 2004.
Mariangela Pezzotta, 27-year-old shop assistant, further girlfriend of
group member Andrea Volpe was first shot and later buried when was still
alive in a greenhouse into the nearby of Golasecca not far from Somma
Andrea Volpe was arrested shortly after with his young fianceť,
a 18-year-old student named Elisabetta Ballarin. Both Volpe and Ballarin
were upset because of alcohol and drug addiction. Volpe confessed he
invited Mariangela Pezzotta for dinner but had already decided to kill
her because she knew too many details about the sect and Tollis and
Marino's murder. Volpe shot her after a violent fight, then called
Nicola Sapone up and they realized she was still alive (Volpe recalled
that Sapone accused him "You can't even kill a person!") so they
badly tried to hide her into the greenhouse of Ballarin's parents' home.
Sapone came back home and pretended nothing had happened. Hours later
Volpe and Ballarin took a heavy dose of cocaine and heroin and decided
to get rid of Mariangela's car by drowing it on a river into the nearby,
but they had a car crash and were arrested. The police investigation of
the Pezzotta murder, and interrogation of Volpe using the information
provided by Tollis led to the discovery of the buried bodies of Marino
and Tollis and the revelation of the sect's existence.
investigation continued, Mario Maccione, who presented himself as "the
medium" of the group and had been regarded by Tollis as his best friend,
confessed to having beaten him to death with a hammer, after Volpe and
Sapone had stabbed him and Chiara Marino.
Additionally sect members were accused of pushing
their drummer, Andrea Bontade, to commit suicide because he refused to
join Volpe and Sapone at Somma Lombardo and help them killing Marino and
Tollis. On September 1998, Andrea Bontade drank heavily, than killed
himself by crushing with his car. Authorities also investigated whether
the group had any links to a possible wider network of Satanists in
On February 22, 2005 Andrea Volpe and Pietro
Guerrieri were sentenced in the northern city of Busto Arsizio to 30 and
16 years respectively. Volpe, in addition to the 1998 murders, was also
found guilty of the 2004 slaying of Pezzotta. In Volpe's case the
sentence was a decade longer than requested by prosecutors. A third
suspect, Mario Maccione, had also confessed to the murders, but was
cleared due to his secondary role in the crimes.
The reactions of the victims' families to the
sentencing were mixed. Michele Tollis, the father of Fabio, said "Today
justice rewarded me." Lina Marino, mother of the slain Chiara, was
outraged at the relatively light sentences Volpe and Guerrieri had
received, due to their cooperation with prosecutors. She stated "They
are murderers. It's not fair."
Five more members of the group went to trial in June
2005 and were sentenced to long prison terms in early 2006. Nicola
Sapone, leader of the group and the person suspected as the mastermind
behind the killings, received a life sentence. The other four, Paolo
Leoni, Marco Zampollo, Eros Monterosso and Elisabetta Ballarin, received
sentences between 24 and 26 years for their role in all three murders.
On 2007 the Court of Appeal confirmed the life
sentence for Sapone and improved the convictions for other three members
of the group: Paolo Leoni passed from 26 years to a life sentence, Marco
Zampollo from 26 years to 29 years and 2 months and Eros Monterosso from
24 years to 27 years and 3 months; the sentence for Elisabetta Ballarin
was reduced from 24 years and 3 months to 23 years. On May 2008 the last
step, Court of Cassazione, confirmed all the Appeal's decisions.
The crimes occurred against the background of growing
concern in Italy that Satanism and the occult are becoming an attraction
to the Italian youth. In February 2005, a Roman Catholic university
connected to the Vatican began offering a two month course on diabolical
possession and exorcism for priests and seminarians. In reaction to the
crimes priest Don Aldo Buonaito called for death metal to be banned,
saying "If music makes itself an instrument of nefarious deeds and death
it should be stopped."
In light of the revelations from the Beasts of Satan
investigation and trial, and growing public concern, the Italian police
intend to create a special unit focusing on new religious sects,
particularly Satanists and other violent ritualistic groups. It would
coordinate nationwide investigations into potentially dangerous new
religious movements, and is planned to include psychologists and a
priest who is an expert on the occult.
Cultists Sentenced For Multiple Murders
of a brutal Satanic cult were given stiff prison sentences on Tuesday
for killing the lead singer of their rock band and two other women in
brutal ritual murders that shocked Italy.
Sapone, one of the leaders of the "Beasts of Satan" rock band, was
sentenced to life imprisonment for the double homicide in 1998 of lead
singer Fabio Tollis and his girlfriend Chiara Marino. Four other
followers of the band received sentences of between 24 and 26 years.
claimed that Marino, who was stabbed to death under a full moon, was the
personification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was 19 at the time of
Satanic band's singer, Tollis, attempted to prevent the murder, he
suffered a blow to his head with a hammer. Sapone then gagged Tolis to
silence him and also slit his throat in what Reuters and the Italian
media called "an orgy of bloodletting."
killing the two teenagers, the Satanic band pushed their lifeless bodies
into a pit and urinated on them.
convictions were the most recent for the members and followers of the
Beasts of Satan. The convictions follow the high-profile conviction of
band leader Andrea Volpe, who received a lighter sentence -- 30 years --
after taking police officers to the location of the bodies, and
subsequently confessing to the murders.
members were also convicted for murdering Volpe's ex-girlfriend
Mariangela Pezzotta in 2004. She was shot in the mouth and her body was
to Reuters, the Satanic killings sparked fears in Italy of a spread of
devil cults, and the Vatican last year started a course for Roman
Catholic priests on Satanism and exorcism in response to what the Church
said was a worrying interest in the occult, particularly among the
of a number of other mysterious murders and suicides in northern Milan,
particularly those that occurred when the moon was full or new, are
being re-opened to see if they are related to the this cult. Links have
already been established in two of the cases: the murder of another of
Volpeís girlfriends, Maddalena Russo, which took place on Friday the
13th in September, 1995; and the supposed suicide of another band
member, Giuseppe Bontade, in 2000.
to the leading Catholic exorcist at the Vatican, Father Gabriele Amorth,
there are two types: those who adore the Devil, celebrate Satanic
masses, have their own priests and hierarchy; and those who donít
believe in Satan, but engage in actions that are either iniquitous or
against nature. The latter is more dangerous, said Fr. Amorth in an
interview with journalist A.S. Guimaraes.
remains shocked at the brutality of the killings and Catholic Church
officials at the Vatican say they are concerned over recent research
that showed Satanism was on the increase.
Aldo Bonaiuto, one of the Vaticanís team of anti-occult priests, said,
"This trial has shown that justice is taking its course. However, the
cruelty and gruesomeness linked to the world of Satanism is also very
apparent from this case."
Italy jails five Satanic killers
February 1, 2006
Four members of a so-called Satanic
sect are starting long prison sentences in Italy for their part in three
brutal, ritual murders.
Nicola Sapone, 27, one of the leaders of the Beasts
of Satan rock group and one of the suspected masterminds of the killings,
was given a life sentence.
The three others were jailed for between 24 and 26
Their victims were a woman shot and buried alive in
2004 and a teenage couple murdered in 1998.
The case has shocked Italy - a devoutly Roman
Catholic country that has become increasingly concerned about the spread
of Satanic cults.
Sapone's Beasts of Satan colleagues jailed on Tuesday
were Paolo Leoni, Marco Zampollo, Eros Monterosso and Elisabetta
Ballarin, 19, was the former girlfriend of Andrea
Volpe - a band leader jailed for 30 years last year for his role in the
They were convicted of the sacrificial stabbing and
beating of fellow band members Fabio Tollis, 16, and Chiara Marino, 19,
in 1998, and the shooting of 27-year-old Mariangela Pezzotta in 2004.
She had also been Volpe's girlfriend. The bodies of
the young couple were only found in woods northeast of Milan after
Mariangela's body was found in 2004.
After the sentences were handed down, Chiara Marino's
mother Lina shouted: "Leoni, you're going to pay, you're a murderer, 26
years is too little."
Mariangela Pezzotta's father told the AP news agency:
"Justice has triumphed."
Another member of the group, Pietro Guerrieri,
received a 16-year term last year, while a third man was acquitted
The increasing concern about the influence of cults
led to a Roman Catholic college in Rome offering a specialised course in
Satanism and exorcism for priests and seminarians.
Investigating the 'death metal' murders
By Sam Bagnall - BBC News
November 23, 2005
One man's relentless search for his missing son led
him to uncover one of the most shocking crimes in post-war Italy - a
tale of satanism and violence that has gripped the country for more than
In January 1998 Fabio Tollis and Chiara Marino, both
just 16, disappeared.
They had been drinking at a pub called the Midnight -
the centre of the heavy metal scene in Milan - and they never came home.
The police and many of their friends just thought
they had run off together. But their parents refused to accept this.
Michele Tollis, Fabio's father, began to attend metal
concerts and festivals across Europe, handing out leaflets and quizzing
Fabio and his friends were into the most extreme
forms of heavy metal music - death metal and black metal, music obsessed
with images of murder and satanism - and the role of this music is
central to the story.
It emerged that Chiara, the girl who disappeared with
Fabio, had a collection of satanic literature and paraphernalia in her
During this search, Michele Tollis became convinced
that satanism had something to do with his son's disappearance.
"No one can contradict me when I say that heavy metal
and satanism are closely linked. They're inseparable," he says.
Many of Fabio's friends appeared to be evasive when
questioned about his whereabouts and Michele became convinced they were
Over the next six years he built up a dossier of
intelligence about them; who knew whom and which bands they played in.
Then in January 2004 Michele was watching the local
news. An item came on reporting a brutal murder in their nearby town of
A young man called Andrea Volpe had been arrested and
admitted killing his ex-girlfriend.
Alarm bells went off in Michele's head because Volpe
had played in a death metal band with his son. He called the police and
arranged a meeting.
"It was a strange story, the one Michele Tollis told,"
says Teniente Enzo Molinari of the carabinieri.
"But he didn't only tell a story; he backed it up
with a very convincing body of paperwork and photographs which he had
gathered over the past six years.
"He had carried out a true investigation on the
disappearance of his son and his son's girlfriend, all on his own."
Using Michele's dossier of information, the police
interrogated Volpe about the disappearances.
Beasts of Satan
Finally Volpe confessed and led the police to where
Fabio and Chiara were buried.
Michele's hunt was over, but the revelations were
One of Fabio's school friends, Mario Maccione,
confessed to having beaten Fabio to death with a hammer.
He also revealed that the boys had been part of a
wider satanic sect called the Beasts of Satan.
It was revealed Andrea Bontade, a drummer, had been
terrorised into committing suicide.
Soon, other mysterious deaths were being linked to
The case has profoundly shocked Italy, still a very
One priest, Don Aldo Buonaito, has set up a helpline
for parents and children worried about satanism.
He has also called for death metal music to be banned.
"If music makes itself an instrument of nefarious
deeds and death it should be stopped," he says.
But this is just the latest case where extreme metal
music has been blamed for vicious acts by teenagers.
Everyone remembers the secret messages that were
supposed to be contained in Ozzy Osbourne's lyrics and the controversy
over his track Suicide Solution.
In 1996, the parents of Elyse Marie Pahler took
satanic death metal band Slayer to court in the US after their 15-year-old
daughter was murdered in what was alleged to be a satanic ritual
imitating the band's lyrics.
The case was dismissed by a Californian judge in
In Norway fans of the even more extreme black metal,
burned down more than 40 churches in the 1990s.
One of the favourite bands of the Beasts of Satan
sect in Italy was Deicide - an American death metal band led by Glen
Benton, a self-professed satanist who has an upside down cross branded
into his forehead.
Lack of evidence
Deicide sing about the occult, their most popular
anthem being Kill the Christians.
Other death metal bands appear to glorify murder,
torture, rape and necrophilia.
Benton is no stranger to controversy - several
murders have been linked to his fans - but denies that any singer can be
responsible for the actions of their fans.
"I say don't blame people like me and [Marilyn]
Manson, because we never said: 'Hey, we're going to be role models for
all your kids.' That ain't what this is about. It's about entertainment."
Indeed there is little evidence that ordinary kids
can be turned into monsters by music.
But academics who have studied adolescents and music
have expressed concerns about the possible effects on children who
already have psychological problems.
Professor Don Roberts of Stanford University thinks
that perhaps the children who are already violent or depressed are the
people who should be kept away from death metal.
"What the music may well be doing is simply
reinforcing beliefs that they might have started with in the first
place," he says.
Italian 'Beasts of Satan' jailed
February 22, 2005
The Italian mastermind of three gruesome "satanic"
murders has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
A second member of the cult involved in the murders
received a 16-year term, while a third man was acquitted.
The killings, which shocked Italy, were carried out
by a heavy metal band calling itself the Beasts of Satan.
The three victims were a woman shot and then buried
alive in 2004 and a teenage couple, who were murdered six years earlier.
Andrea Volpe, the leader of the heavy metal group and
the main culprit in the murders, has been handed down a longer prison
sentence than expected.
His prosecutors had asked for 20 years on the grounds
that had cooperated with investigators and shown remorse.
Pietro Guerrieri is to serve the 16-year term.
"Today justice rewarded me", said Michele Tollis, the
father of Fabio, who was only 16 when he was killed and buried along
with his 19-year-old girlfriend Chiara in a forest not far from Milan.
But Chiara's mother, Lina Marino, was outraged at the
punishment, which she considered too lenient.
"They are murderers. It's not fair," she said.
The 1998 murders were carried out as part of drug
fuelled rituals involving sex and heavy metal music.
The couple, themselves members of the heavy metal
band, were killed in woods northeast of Milan and then buried next to
Volpe was also found guilty of the 2004 murder of his
own girlfriend, 27-year-old Mariangela Pezzotta, who was shot and buried
alive in a forest.
It was the discovery of her body that helped
investigators solve the 1998 case.
A third defendant was acquitted at the end of the
fast-track trial on Tuesday, but five more members of the cult are due
to go to trial in June.
Satanist band members jailed for ritual killings
February 22, 2005
Two members of an Italian heavy metal band called the
Beasts of Satan were today sentenced to jail for their role in three
Andrea Volpe and Pietro Guerrieri had confessed to
roles in the 1998 killings of Chiara Marino, 19, and 16-year-old Fabio
Tollis in woods outside Milan. Volpe - considered to have been the
mastermind of the ritual killings - was sentenced to 30 years, 10 more
than prosecutors had asked for. Guerrieri was given 16 years.
Mario Maccione, who also confessed to the killings,
was cleared because he had played a secondary role. Five other members
of their suspected Satanic cult have been ordered to stand trial in June.
"Today, justice rewarded me," Michele Tollis, the
father of Fabio, told Italian television, "even if it leaves me quite
bitter that our son Fabio will not return."
Prosecutors in the northern city of Busto Arsizio
said the suspects belonged to an occult sect that carried out the
January 1998 killings in a drug-fuelled Satanic ritual in woods near
Somma Lombardo, north-west of Milan.
Marino was stabbed to death and Tollis, her boyfriend,
was also killed. They were buried next to each other. Authorities said
there had been a previous attempt to kill the two by burning them alive
in a car on New Year's Eve.
In the third murder, which happened in January 2004,
Mariangela Pezzotta, Volpe's girlfriend, was shot and then buried alive.
The Pezzotta case led authorities to the buried remains of Tollis and
Marino. The cult members also stand accused of pushing a boy to commit
Prosecutors asked for relatively light prison terms
because the suspects had cooperated with the investigation and expressed
remorse. Prosecutors and court officials were not immediately available
for comment after the ruling.
Marino's mother expressed outrage that prosecutors
had not sought life terms. "They are murderers," Lina Marino told
reporters. "It's not fair."
The verdict comes amid growing concern in Italy that
young people are turning to Satanism and the occult. Last week, a
Vatican-linked university opened a two-month course on diabolical
possession and exorcism.
'Satanic killings' shock Italians
By Mark Duff - BBC News
June 8, 2004
A gruesome find in a wood outside Milan has
sparked fears that bored young Italians could be coming under the
influence of Satanic cults.
The news has caused an outbreak of soul-searching in
Even hardened police officers were shocked by what
they found outside the sleepy commuter town of Busto Arsizio.
Two teenagers' bodies were discovered in a makeshift
grave, killed - police say - as part of a satanic ritual involving sex,
drugs and rock and roll.
The two - a 19-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy -
were last seen alive leaving a pizzeria with other members of their
heavy metal rock band, called the Beasts of Satan.
What happened next is still the subject of
But the magistrate leading the inquiry says they were
murdered at the end of a drug-fuelled ritual which involved a level of
cruelty he has never seen before.
Italian newspapers have described the murdered girl's
bedroom, decorated with black candles and goats' skulls, and have quoted
witness statements of sexual violence.
There are also suggestions that the double-killing
might not be isolated and that more young Italians than anyone cares to
think are dabbling in Satanism.
The experts are having a field day: pinpointing the
ease with which young people can make contact with Satanists on the
internet, describing the attractions of Satanism to impressionable
people steeped in Catholic culture - and blaming the breakdown of
traditional family values for the extreme alienation of some young