Last Updated on 2023/02/25
The Beasts of Satan: The Chilling Story of Murder and Mayhem in Italy
Table of Contents
In a small town near Varese, Golasecca, the discovery of a disfigured body, partially buried in a greenhouse next to a cottage, immediately caught the attention of the investigators. The victim was identified as Mariangela Pezzotta, a 27-year-old woman and daughter of a prominent member of the political party Forza Italy. It was evident to the investigators that this was not an ordinary murder case.
On January 24th, 2004, the police received a call from a local company claiming that a young man was causing a disturbance outside their office. Upon arrival, the police found Andrea Volpe, a disheveled young man with no jacket, shoelaces, and signs of drug and alcohol abuse. Upon questioning, he claimed that he and his girlfriend had been attacked by a group of 10-20 men near the bridge over Villoresi stream. However, when his parents arrived, he changed his story, and the police grew concerned for the safety of the girl involved. Volpe accompanied the police to the location of the alleged attack.
Upon arriving at the scene, the police discovered a Fiat Uno stuck in the wall of the bridge and a Honda Accord with a woman, Elisabetta Ballarin, slumped over the steering wheel, under the effects of drugs. A quick check revealed that the Fiat Uno belonged to Annamaria Pe, the mother of Mariangela Pezzotta. Volpe’s mother and Ballarin were brought to the hospital for first aid, where Ballarin revealed to Volpe’s mother that they had killed Mariangela and left her corpse in the woods.
The police immediately went to the Ballarin family’s cottage in Golasecca, where they found the body of Mariangela in the greenhouse, partially covered in dirt. Mariangela had been shot in the face from close range and then finished off with a shovel.
The police found a large burning candle and a strange statue called “The Militant” in one of the bedrooms, but these clues were not initially associated with esoteric cults. Instead, the investigators focused on reconstructing the events of the previous night.
On the night of January 23rd, Mariangela had been called by her ex-boyfriend, Andrea Volpe, and asked to come to Elisabetta’s home to record a videotape. Upon arriving, Mariangela realized that Andrea and Elisabetta were already under the influence of drugs and alcohol and had other plans in mind. Elisabetta took a rifle, and Andrea pulled out a Smith & Wesson, blocking Mariangela’s way out. Andrea shot Mariangela in the face, but she was not yet dead, which caused Andrea and Elisabetta to panic. They called Nicola Sapone, a friend, who arrived and criticized them for their ineptitude. They then dragged Mariangela’s body to the greenhouse, where they finished her off with a shovel and buried her.
It was at this point that the police realized that this story was much more significant than they had initially thought.
A Six Years Long Nightmare
Upon reading a local newspaper, Michele Tollis finally understood the truth about the disappearance of his son, Fabio Tollis, six years prior, along with his girlfriend, Chiara Marino. Tollis went to the local police with an archive of news and hints he had collected over the years, which mentioned Andrea Volpe, Nicola Sapone, Paolo Leoni, Eors Monterosso, Mario Maccione, Marco Zampolo, and Pietro Guerrieri. Tollis had denounced this circle of men several times, but was never taken seriously. The group of friends often frequented the “Midnight” club in Milan, where heavy and death metal fans gathered.
After tracking down all the people mentioned in Tollis’ report, the police uncovered a horrific scenario: the “Beasts of Satan,” mentioned by Tollis, was a satanic cult actively operating in the area and responsible for the deaths of at least four people. The police interrogated the suspects and discovered at least two main hypotheses about the structure of the sect. The first theory suggests that the sect was composed of a group of boys who claimed to follow the way of Satan, and who were ruthless, violent, and desperate. The second theory proposes that there was a second circle of inspirers of their crime based in Turin, but few clues support this theory.
“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. The couple, who had spent a normal Saturday night drinking beer and listening to heavy metal music at Midnight Pub, which was the center of the city’s metal scene, never returned home. The conclusion 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.” [Wikipedia]
After receiving a phone call, Fabio got into a car with Volpe and Sapone, while Chiara and Mario Maccione followed in another car. They drove to Somma Lombardo woods, where they found an already dug empty grave. Fabio was accused of being too ambitious to climb the hierarchy of the sect and Chiara was accused of being the Virgin Mary. They were both stabbed to death and buried in the grave that had been dug by Pietro Guerrieri and Andrea Bontade. However, Bontade did not show up that night and later committed suicide.
Before Fabio and Chiara were killed, Nicola put chestnut leaves in their mouths and dipped a cigarette in their blood, smoking it while dancing over their grave. He screamed, “Now you’re both zombies! Try to get out of this hole, if you dare!”
Andrea Bontade was the next victim, considered guilty of cowardice for not attending the murder of Fabio and Chiara. The other members of the group tried to make him commit suicide by giving him a cocktail of drugs. On September 21, 1998, after spending the night drinking and abusing drugs with a friend, Bontade crashed his car into a wall at 180 km/h.
“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 (Mariangela Pezzotta), Tollis took his findings to the police, who used them to link all three murders to Andrea Volpe and the wider satanic sect.”
“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.
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.”
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