Below is the main official documentation on Giuseppe / Joseph Bevilacqua released to me by various United States government agencies or that I found online since 2018. Before the records, which are downloadable, I inserted a mini biography.
Giuseppe Bevilacqua, nicknamed “Joe“, was born in Totowa, New Jersey, on December 20, 1935, into an Italian-American family.
In 1954, Bevilacqua was drafted into the Army and transferred to Germany. A few years later, he became a CBR chemical instructor, a specialty he performed until 1964, when he joined the 5th Criminal Investigation Detachment of the Military Police in Leghorn, Italy.
During the time of the Zodiac murders/letters (1966-1974 circa), Bevilacqua worked as an undercover detective with the Army CID. This information comes from Bevilacqua himself and other subjects that are not mentioned here according to the ethic rules of journalism on source protection.
In 1968, Bevilacqua was assigned to Vietnam. Decorations obtained: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Soldier’s Medal, Purple Heart.
Bevilacqua was about 5′ 7” tall and 200 pounds weight, at the time of the Zodiac crimes. His stocky body and prominent stomach were two characteristics that would have accompanied him into old age. Bevilacqua had thick, dark, crew cut hair, which will be dyed white starting in the 1980s. His appearance matched the witnesses’ testimonies on Zodiac with the partial exception of the hair which was described differently after every known sights (use of wigs, possibly).
In the end of June 1974, Bevilacqua retired from the Army with the rank of first sergeant and settled in the American Cemetery and Memorial of Florence, Italy, working with the ABMC as superintendent trainee of the cemetery.
While Bevilacqua stayed in Florence, the serial killer of couples nicknamed “Monster” killed 14 boys in the countryside surrounding the Tuscan city. Most of the crimes took place less than half an hour’s drive from the American cemetery.
Three years circa after the Monster’s last known crime, in 1989, the ABMC transferred Bevilacqua to Nettuno, near Rome. He was then called to testify in the Pacciani trial on the last double murder of the Monster, which had taken place about three hundred yards as the crow flies from his home, in 1985.
Bevilacqua said to the Court he saw the defendant and the victims a few days before their death. He made a serious mistake, claiming to have learned of the murders the day after the crime, when the news had not yet been disclosed.
Retired since 2010, married and with three adult daughters, Bevilacqua currently lives in a suburb of Florence.
In 2017, after a few meetings for a project on his biography, he admitted to me his responsibility in the murders of the Zodiac and the Monster cases.
In 2018, I made a complaint to the police and published the first article on Bevilacqua’s involvement in serial crimes. You can read it and the others here on the blog.
The first official public record attesting to Joe Bevilacqua’s military career is a Marine Corps muster roll of 1953, where his name is present.
1954 – 1974, Army
The Official Military Personnel File is the document issued by the National Personnel Records Center that contains the main information on each American soldier, list of assignments, medals, as well as other material on his military career that cannot be requested by people other than the person concerned or law enforcement.
We can not be misled by the absence of references to California in Bevilacqua’s list of public assignments. In fact, for his own admission, since 1966, due to his undercover activity, his real assignments in the detachments of the Army Criminal Investigation (since 1971, Army Criminal Investigation Command) which he would left in June 1974 are not reported.
The list of assignments do not contain “alibis” . Beyond their incompleteness, the presence of two apparently problematic assignments (Cu Chi, Vietnam, 1968, and Heidelberg, Germany, 1970) does not rule out transfers for work or licenses to San Francisco on the dates in which Zodiac committed a murder, on December 20, 1968, and sent some of his letters, starting with a postcard on April 28, 1970. From an examination of the Pan Am schedules, there are no particular difficulties in reaching the Californian city from the areas where Bevilacqua was assigned, that is, from Saigon and Frankfurt, on those dates.
In 1971, Zodiac stopped writing for three years, which roughly corresponds to the period of Bevilacqua’s assignment to Camp Darby, Italy (1971-1974). The last letter attributed by the police to the serial killer was sent on January 29, 1974, five months before Bevilacqua’s retirement from the army.
The list of assignments also contains some transcription mistakes (“USA” instead of “USAREUR” – US Army Europe, for example).
Bevilacqua’s list of assignments is not the original but an end-of-career transcript. It can be deduced from the fact that it was compiled by the same typewriter, while the original one, compiled at each assignment, should have looked like the one at this link.
1974 – 2010, American Battle Monuments Commission
Official records from the US agency that manages monumental war cemeteries, the ABMC, attest that Bevilacqua began working and residing in the American Cemetery in Florence from July 1, 1974 until 1988, when he was transferred to Nettuno.
According to the annual reports of the ABMC, both in the days of the Borgo San Lorenzo crime, in 1974, and in 1981, when the Monster started the wave of his murders of the 1980s, there were no American official other than Bevilacqua that resided in the cemetery.