Beasts of Satan's killing spree has Italy transfixed

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The Independent Online

Eight members of an alleged Satanic cult were ordered to stand trial in an Italian court yesterday in relation to three supposedritual killings.

Eight members of an alleged Satanic cult were ordered to stand trial in an Italian court yesterday in relation to three supposedritual killings.

The eight suspects, four of whom are members of the Beast of Satan band from Busto Arsizio near Milan, are facing charges in relation to the murder of three companions.

The discovery of the body of Mariangela Pezzotta, who was buried in a shallow grave after being shot, in January last year led police to the gang, and to the discovery that two other members, Fabio Tollis and Chiara Marino, had been killed in 1998.

Chiara Marino, a 19-year-old girl, was reportedly killed under a full moon by a knife plunged into her heart in 1998.

Her companion, Fabio Tollis, the Beasts' 16-year-old lead singer, was allegedly killed at the same time by a hammer blow to the head and buried alongside her in woods near Milan after he tried to stop the other band members carrying out the murder.

Yesterday, a judge in Busto Arsizio ordered three of the suspects to face charges in a fast-track trial starting on 21 February. The fast-track system will allow only a limited amount of evidence to be introduced in a closed-door hearing and will result in a reduced sentence if a defendant is convicted. The remaining suspects will stand trial in June.

Italian authorities have been investigating whether the alleged killers were part of a wider network of Satanists, according to Antonio Pizzi, who is appearing for the prosecution.

Among those standing trial in the fast-track system will be Andrea Volpe, one of the alleged leaders of the group and the former boyfriend of Pezzotta.

After turning state's evidence, Volpe revealed the grisly details surrounding the alleged murders. He claimed that, after the first two victims were murdered, another sect member, a 26-year-old woman, danced on their graves shouting: "Zombies, now you are only zombies."

Describing Pezzotta's death, Volpe detailed a bizarre meeting at a chalet. Pezzotta, who was thought to have threatened to make public the previous alleged murders, met with her former boyfriend and his current girlfriend.

After toasting one another with champagne, Ms Pezzotta was reportedly shot in the face by Volpe, who then contacted another alleged group leader to help bury her.

Last October, a leaked notebook appeared to link the young suspects to devil worship.It contained grisly entries such as "blood and death, blood raining down, blood bathing all my body, blood thirsty for blood" and "crush those who are our friends, or who would like to be but aren't up to it, crush them then laugh".

There were also pages of instructions on conducting Satanic rites and the dangers involved. "Madness is always one of the risks," the notes warn. "It's necessary to maintain concentration on hatred."

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