Third Member Of Satanic Band Convicted Of Murder
Following the conviction earlier this year of the ringleader and a second member of the so-called "Beasts of Satan" cult for the gruesome murder of three friends - a teenage couple and the main culprit's own girlfriend - a Milan juveniles court on Monday handed down a 19-year prison sentence to a third man, Mario Maccione, for his part in the couple's slaying. After four hours of deliberation, the court acquitted a second suspect, Massimiliano Magni, of involvement in the couple's murder.
The mother of Chiara Marino - who was shot and buried in wood near Milan with her boyfriend Fabio Tolli in 1998 when she was 19 and Fabio just 16 - reacted to the news with tears and anger. "This is not justice - it's a scandal. Maccione and Magni are both assassins. Nineteen years are too few for the loss of my daughter - I want them both to serve life," she sobbed. She said she had hoped Magni would be sentenced to at least half the length of time requested by public prosecutors.
"Human justice has its limits. Divine justice is limitless and will punish the guilty sooner or later," was the comment of Fabio Tollis' father. "Once we learn the grounds for the verdicts (in a month's time) we will decide whether to appeal or not," said prosecuting magistrate Ciro Cascone. Both Maccione and Magni were also suspected of an earlier attempt to kill Chiara and Fabio.
In February, Andrea Volpe - the leader of a heavy metal group and mastermind of the murders of Marino and Tolli, as well as that of his own girfriend, 27-year-old Mariangela Pezzotta, who was shot and buried alive in a forest in 2004 - received a 30-year jail term for the killings. A second man, Pietro Guerrieri, was sentenced to a 16 years in prison, while a third man was cleared.
The murders, carried out as part of drug fuelled rituals involving sex and heavy metal music, and claims by group members that they were acting in the name of Satan, shocked Italy, prompting concern among many parents, religious and community leaders over the kind of company young people may be keeping, and the extent of such Satanic sects in Italy.
Five more members of the 'Beasts of Satan' are due to stand trial in June, and will also face questioning over the suicide of another young woman, who died whilst drunk and drugged at the wheel of her car as it reached speeds of 180 kilometres per hour.
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