Fourth Milan death linked to Satanist rock band

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The Independent Online

New details have emerged this week of an alleged cabal of young Satanists connected to Milan's heavy metal scene, who are accused of murdering at least two people while drunk and high.

New details have emerged this week of an alleged cabal of young Satanists connected to Milan's heavy metal scene, who are accused of murdering at least two people while drunk and high.

The revelations began last week when two shallow graves were uncovered in woods near Somma Lombardo, north-west of Milan. One contained the remains of 19-year-old Chiara Marino, who according to the confession of one of the group was stabbed to death because they thought she was the personification of the Virgin Mary.

The other victim, Fabio Tollis, was a guitarist in the same group as three of the young men arrested in connection with the murders, the Circus of Satanis.

Marino and Tollis were last heard of in January 1998, and their disappearance remained a mystery until Mario M, one of the four arrested and a former member of Circus of Satanis, began talking to the police.

The group, he said, whose musical name had changed to The Beasts of Satan, were devil-worshippers whose so-called "spiritual leader" is Nicola Sapone, a 26-year-old plumber, who was also arrested but is not a musician in the group.

The group liked to hang out in a heavy metal bar in Milan called Midnight, and it was in January 1988, according to Mario M's confession, that they drove with Marino and Tollis to the remote wooded spot outside Milan and stabbed them to death. According to police it was their second attempt to kill the pair. They had already tried to burn them alive in their car.

In a further outpouring this week, Mario M, not fully named because he was a minor when the murders were committed, claimed that the pair were put in their graves alive. "They were still alive," he was quoted as saying by police sources. "I heard sounds coming out of the pit, they weren't finished yet."

Yesterday La Repubblica newspaper linked another murder to the group: a 19-year-old nightclub singer, Maddalena Russo, who was strangled with a belt in 1985 and her body abandoned in a field. The corpse had been horribly mutilated.

The Italian media are now feverishly seeking other clues to explain the extent of the Satanic network, with most interest focused on Turin, where a Satanic church was founded in the 1960s. One reporter claimed to have discovered in Turin the true ringleader of the sect, nicknamed "the first born son of the devil" and related to one of the four arrested. Members of the extended group, it is claimed, celebrate black masses all over Italy.

Parents of the accused and the victims professed themselves bewildered by what had happened. "These kids were just normal," said one of them. "I can't understand what happened to them. How was I to know that the guitar I gave him as a prize would be the beginning of the end?"

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