Joe Bevilacqua’s testimony in the Monster of Florence trial

Joe Bevilacqua Zodiac
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June 6, 1994, Florence Court House, Italy

The Court: Okay, let’s go on, this gentleman is?

Pubblico Ministero (PM): It is Mr. Bevilacqua Giuseppe.

The Court: Please, Mr. Bevilacqua, would you like to provide your personal details?

Joe Bevilacqua: Excuse me, I have not heard well, I have not heard, sorry.

The Court: Would you provide your details?

Joe: My name is Bevilacqua Giuseppe, I am American, I am an officer of a foreign government.

The Court: Ah, I understand, Italian-American, I guess … descent.

Joe: Thanks.

The Court: Very well. So, where were you born?

Joe: I was born in New Jersey which is in the United States, 1935, December 20.

The Court: New Jersey.

Joe: Yes.

The Court: New Jersey, United States, 1935 and then what?

Joe: December 20.

The Court: December 20. Television coverage. Do you consent to be filmed by television cameras?

Joe: No.

The Court: You don’t consent, then gentlemen, please … here, very well, just lower … Then, do you want to read, please … I forgot to tell you … where do you reside? Where do you actually live?

Joe: I work in Rome.

The Court: You work in Rome. You must read it aloud, sorry, I forgot …

Joe: Aware of the moral and juridical responsibilities that I assume with my disposition, I pledge to tell the whole truth and not to hide anything of what I know.

The Court: Mr. Bevilacqua, would you answer please the Pubblico Ministero (prosecutor TLN) and then the other questions the Attorneys will want to ask you?

Joe: Thanks.

PM: Mr. Bevilacqua, you work in Rome, you said, can you specify what your current profession is? Where do you work…

Joe: Yes, at the time of this …

PM: No, no, currently.

Joe: Now?

PM: Yes.

Joe: I work for the American Embassy in Rome.

PM: Where?

Joe: At the Anzio cemetery.

PM: Anzio. And where did you work in 1985?

Joe: At the Florence American Cemetery.

PM: What the locality is called?

Joe: The locality is half Impruneta and half San Casciano.

PM: The cimitero dei Falciani?

Joe: Yes.

PM: Do you remember… he was in Florence anyway … when the murder of 1985, September, in locality Scopeti, took place, do you remember that episode?

Joe: Yes.

PM: The area, the spot, excuse me, where the murder took place, did you later see it? Was it indicated to you?

Joe: Yes.

PM: Do you remember it?

Joe: Yes.

PM: Did you know that spot already?

Joe: Yes, I often passed by there.

Monster of Florence’s murders

PM: In the days before the murder, which was discovered on Monday, 10th September 1985 (9th September)… had you passed by that area in the previous days?

Joe: Two or three days before the murders, the tragedy, I went to San Casciano. I drove the Scopeti bridge and went up, at the second corner I saw the French couple. There was the girl, she was leaning against a tree, in a swimsuit, she was sunbathing, and the man, his boyfriend, was resting in a sleeping bag on the ground.

PM: Do you remember how many days before Sunday?

Joe: You can’t say exactly, but it seems two or three days before.

PM: Two, three days. You also said you knew later in which area the couple had been found dead…

Joe: Yes.

PM: This… where did you see them, isn’t that… the one of the first time?

Joe: No, it was 5/600 meters ahead.

PM: If I show you a picture taken under your indication, would you like to see if that is the area where you saw the girl in a swimsuit the first time?

Joe: Yes, it’s fine.

PM: You can look at the picture.

The Court: You can turn.

PM: It is behind you, we shall read the caption, it is a picture on the records where it says Via degli Scopeti, first place – the Police wrote – where the French couple would have mounted the tent for the first time.

Technical report, forensic police, Questura di Firenze – Via degli Scopeti, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, June 14, 1992, pic. 2

It is a picture taken under your indication. This is 500 meters away from the place where the double murder took place. Then, would you see if this is the spot… we shall see if we see a little better… where the tent was… where the girl was at least.

Joe: The girl, when I saw her, was leaning against the largest tree and sunbathing, she was there around half past nine in the morning.

PM: It was half-past nine in the morning. Tent… did you see also where the tent was? Or the car?

Joe: The tent seemed a bit ahead of… the car was behind, it’s looked like a Peugeot or a Golf. Old, it looked like an old car.

PM: And you saw the girl on that occasion?

Joe: Yes.

PM: And did you notice the girl?

Joe: I noticed her because she was a very nice girl with short black hair in a swimsuit, a black bikini.

«- one women’s swimsuit» – Report on the victims’ belongings, Legione dei Carabinieri di Firenze, November 21, 1985, in Delitto degli Scopeti, Vieri Adriani – Francesco Cappelletti – Salvatore Maugeri, Ibiskos Ulivieri, June 2019, p. 74

PM: Did you see the boy?

Joe: No, I didn’t. I saw a head that was leaning over a sleeping bag…

PM: In the tent?

Joe: Yes.

PM: Inside the tent?

Joe: Yes.

PM: Was everything in the area indicated… basically between those two trees?

Joe: Yes, more or less it was near the tree on the right.

PM: Then, thanks. Shall we switch off …

The Court: What number this picture is?

PM: It is the picture, excuse me… number two. Then, this is the first place where you saw this French couple, two or three days before the time when their corpses were found, and it was half-past nine in the morning. Did you see them again, later?

Joe: Yes, I saw them a little bit more forward… the second time, further up the road, closer to San Andrea and there was more or less the crest of the hill… it was perhaps two days later.

PM: Maybe two days later. So it was … if it was two or three days before … the first time on Thursday, the second time on Saturday … One thing…

Joe: It is possible, I cannot remember specific days.

PM: Not… Shall we show the second picture? …if this is the second time you saw the couple… we read the caption: “Via degli Scopeti, point three referred to in the planimetric sketch”, which was made by the witness and I will then show to the Court, “second place chosen by the couple”. The arrow indicates the position. We want to see? Is this the second place?

Joe: Yes.

Technical report, forensic police, Questura di Firenze – Via degli Scopeti, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, June 14, 1992, pic. 4

PM: Which is the one where bodies were found. Then, what did you see that morning? The second time?

Joe: The second time, it impressed me a little because looking at them going down the road, you saw… they were too uncovered. You could see too much from the road… cars that passed by, in the night… you could see… they couldn’t sleep… something…

PM: Then, you were impressed that they had camped in such an open place.

Joe: Yes.

PM: And what did you see this second time? And what was it, morning again?

Joe: Yes… I do not remember everything because it was a few years ago, but I remember what concerns the tent, I remember the car that was behind the tent.

PM: People… did you see anyone? The girl and boy, did you see them?

Joe: I saw both of them that day.

PM: They were the same…

Joe: The same ones.

PM: They were certainly the same, for you; the same car and the same youngsters.

Joe: Yes.

PM: Did you see anything else this second time?

Joe: Not, I do not remember, not. I know that… I remember the morning before… after, that I passed the road going to San Andrea…

PM: …That is? San Andrea, northbound…

Joe: North, I went to the north. Passed San Andrea and arrived at the crossroads after San Andrea, I turned to the right, going to Chiesanuova.

PM: Yes…

Joe: Two, three hundred meters away from the crossroads there is an open field. I stopped, because I was surprised at the sight of someone in uniform. He looked in a brown uniform, forest ranger, or ANAS type. I worked there for years, knew almost everyone, and he remained… because I didn’t know this person. And I stopped along the road, in my car. This person who was more or less ten meters away from me… I looked at him… I think after that this person realized that I looked at him… got out… and he went away from that area there, he entered more or less the field towards the wood that is behind San Andrea.

PM: That is… Let’s show the picture of the point where you would have seen this person according to the indications given to the judicial police. Kindly, let’s read the caption: “The whole of Via di Faltignano”, I ask the Court to keep this via Faltignano in mind because it will be the subject of numerous testimonies…

The Court: Is this “picture 9”?

PM: Yes, “the whole of via Faltignano”. “Arrow A indicates”, according to what the witness said, “the place where initially… was seen… ”

The Court: It’s here, so…

PM: Here… here… I apologize, it should not be read like this, because the man was seen… then we shall remove the caption, please, not, the caption only, we shall see the picture without caption.

Technical report, forensic police, Questura di Firenze – Via degli Scopeti, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, June 14, 1992, pic. 9

The Court: We only see the picture.

PM: Ah, perfect, yes, as I said, I didn’t remember the caption says… Here, was the man at point A?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Not, you have to ask “who was at the point A?”!

The Court: Attorney, come on…

PM: At this point, I have already read it, unfortunately, therefore…

The Court: There was a man who looked like in a forest ranger uniform.

PM: Well…

The Court: …or something similar.

PM: Is point B the direction to which this man went?

Joe: Yes.

PM: Well, you said, but maybe I misunderstood, that you know which way this road is going?

Attorney Bevacqua: You have to ask him.

PM: Do you know it or not?

Attorney Bevacqua: Because if you say: point B is…

The Court: Let’s ask him.

PM: You know…

Attorney Bevacqua: If he says “point B is the direction where the man was going” he has already given him the answer!

PM: But there it is, there is the arrow.

Attorney Bevacqua: But what is point B?

The Court: But gentlemen, come on!

PM: Mister Bevilacqua, tell us yourself.

Joe: Can I answer? You go down that path far enough, 4, 5 hundred meters, and it brings you in the direction where the tent of the French was.

PM: Ohoo, you see! You know it because you know that way.

Joe: I went through those woods thousands of times.

PM: Here we are, it has been easier than I thought. Listen, one thing, this man you described to us with this jacket, a person who went away once looked by you, so you told us …

Joe: Yes…

PM: Can you describe him better, because you have a memory, or you can’t?

Joe: Not… what impressed me, what touched me was I thought I knew all the ANAS workers and forest rangers because we worked a lot together. I stopped because he was a person I didn’t know.

PM: He seemed strange, with that uniform…

Joe: Because that uniform seemed either rangers or ANAS… And that was the only reason I stopped.

PM: Well, do you remember the somatic characteristics of this person or not?

Joe: Not… I remember that, it touched me that… he was 10, 15 meters away, I don’t know exactly, there was the profile of his nose and his hair above.

PM: Was he thin, was he big?

Joe: Not… he was a robust individual, more or less.

PM: Then you, this individual… were you shown pictures of people?

Joe: Yes.

PM: Did you believe you recognized someone in the pictures that were shown to you by the police?

Joe: Yes.

PM: Were you shown a picture of the person you recognized? Were you told who was he?

Joe: No, I didn’t know who was he.

PM: You didn’t know. You recognized a picture and didn’t know who was he.

Joe: Only pictures.

PM: Do you see anyone in this room today who, although with the current appearance, looks like that person?

Joe: Yes.

PM: And who is he?

Joe: He is the gentleman here, next to the counselor.

PM: Why do you think you recognize…

The Court: We acknowledge that he is Pacciani, eh…

PM: Yes, of course, next to the counselor… Oh and Attorney Fioravanti …

Attorney Bevacqua: …to the lawyers, among his counselors.

The Court: Among his lawyers.

PM: And would you like to explain why you recognize him as that person? What are the somatic characteristics that resemble him to you?

Joe: His nose, his hair, where the matter above…

The Court: His hairline?

Joe: His forehead size, here, yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: …just like you.

PM: In short, the bust (sic).

Joe: Yes.

PM: I have no further questions, thanks.

The Court: Attorney Colao please.

Attorney Colao: Please, you have made the description very accurate…

The Court: Be quiet gentlemen, please!

Attorney Colao: Do you remember if the individual you saw, before he turned around and you looked better in profile, also had a hat.

Joe: No, he didn’t wear a hat.

Attorney Colao: And seeing it, was you in front of an individual used to be outdoors or not?

Joe: He was halfway down the street, then he went on the pitch.

Attorney Colao: No, I say, was the subject you saw a man who lived in the open air, on the basis of the color of his face?

Joe: Yes, yes.

The Court: In short, it was colorful.

Joe: Yes, get a little red.

Attorney Colao: Thanks, I have no further questions.

The Court: Are there any other questions, gentlemen, counselors? None. Attorney Bevacqua, please.

Attorney Bevacqua: Listen, how many years have you been in Italy?

Joe: 26 years.

Attorney Bevacqua: Were you in Italy in 1968 too?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Good. Listen and where were you in Italy.

Joe: ’78?

Attorney Bevacqua: Ah.

Joe: I was at the American Cemetery.

PM: ’78 or ’68?

Attorney Bevacqua: Seventy … I don’t know, I said ’68, I just threw that out there …

PM: So … let’s ask, maybe he misunderstood.

Attorney Bevacqua: How long have you been in Italy?

Joe: It was 1964 when I first arrived.

Attorney Bevacqua: ’64, six, four.

Joe: Six, four, but I left Italy for work 3, 4 times.

Attorney Bevacqua: You have been in Italy in 1964.

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: And how many times have you been in Tuscany?

Joe: For 22/23 years, perhaps.

Attorney Bevacqua: Well, thank you and have you ever dealt with coffins, dead people, cemeteries?

Joe: No.

Attorney Bevacqua: With what so?

Joe: I worked as criminal police officer before.

Attorney Bevacqua: Ah, criminal police, so did you have guns too?

Joe: Excuse me?

Attorney Bevacqua: Did you have guns too?

Joe: No.

Attorney Bevacqua: Criminal police has guns, hasn’t it?

Joe: Only the hands.

Gun carried by Army CID agents (The Detective, Fall 1986)

Attorney Bevacqua: Only the hands. Very well. Look, ohooo, you said something different when you were interviewed. I read and contextualize it, well?

Joe: Yes, tell me.

Attorney Bevacqua: “I continued, came to the stop in Via di Faltignano and turned right in the direction of Chiesanuova, drove a few hundred meters”… hundreds of meters, now we will see what it is,,, “where there is a curve to the left and houses on the right, from a dirt road that leads onto the road where I always drove from the right I saw a person who was walking towards me. He could have been about 50 years old, heavy built, with incipient baldness… ”, do you know what baldness is?

Joe: Mhmm.

Attorney Bevacqua: Here… “backward combed hair, tanned, red skin, like an individual used to be outdoor. He wore ‘ranger’ green pants and shirt”… this seems to me to collimate…”What struck me most was precisely the clothing that I reconnected to a ranger or an ANAS employee”… okay?

Joe: Mhmm.

Attorney Bevacqua: You thought it was either one or the other… “When he felt observed, he made a sudden back-front disappearing immediately after”… You would have seen this, in 1985, and refer to the individual you saw, ten years ago… “with incipient baldness, backward combed, green clothes”… then it reads… “Please, note that a picture of Pacciani Pietro is shown to the witness”… okay? They show you his picture.

Joe: But nobody gave me the name of Pacciani.

Attorney Bevacqua: And here you signed it…

Joe: Yes, after two or three pictures were on the way together…

Attorney Bevacqua: You served the criminal service, so it is also adjacent to the Italian criminal service, okay? You understand each other very well, don’t you? Do you understand them? Do you understand? You…

Joe: Yes, but it seems that you are changing what I said.

PM: He is saying that you are changing what he said.

Attorney Bevacqua: Not… “I can tell you the exact places”… I produce this, so…

Joe: Yes, but you were talking about the picture of Pacciani.

Attorney Bevacqua: … “Note that a picture of Pacciani Pietro is shown to the witness”… okay?

Joe: Not, they showed three or four pictures to me.

Attorney Bevacqua: Oh, and then you say later… “I can say that the individual I saw in the path who I previously described had a certain resemblance to the person in the picture, his forehead and nose remind me of something, but the time elapsed and the suddenness with which the man turned around do not let me be more precise”… Do you remember saying this?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Very well, so I dispute it, I produce it, then, did you take a long tour with the police, if you remember?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: By car, right?

Joe: It wasn’t that long, only on the spot…

Attorney Bevacqua: I am telling you how long it was… “Once back in the car, we run along Via degli Scopeti until the stop with Via di Faltignano, take the latter by turning right, drive a few hundred meters, 600 meters”… 600, do you know how many are 600 meters? “… and on the right of this road you can see some houses”… etcetera, etcetera… “‘This is the point where I saw the man on foot come towards me’, says Bevilacqua pointing to the dirt road before the house and which flanks it on the side”… it is 600 meters away from the place where the couple was.

Joe: Hundreds of meters, of course, I didn’t keep the meterstick, counselor.

Attorney Bevacqua: Not, but they had the odometer.

Joe: Not, but everyone judges with his own eyes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Anyway, here the reporting gentlemen, your Italian friends of the criminal police with you onboard…

Joe: I do not know any criminal from here.

Attorney Bevacqua: Not, not, your friends in the sense of friends because we are all love… friendship…

The Court: Stop with the considerations!

Attorney Bevacqua: Okay, your friends said, sorry, have patience…

Joe: Counselor, look, I do not know anybody, I swear.

Attorney Bevacqua: But I know, but I never said that you know any of these.

Joe: Not, but you’re putting…

The Court: Okay, okay.

Attorney Bevacqua: My name is Bevacqua as your is Bevilacqua, we are all of the same matrix, we never get drunk, or almost… Genetically we are… do you understand?

The Court: Well, let’s ask the question.

Attorney Bevacqua: So, you said that you saw this individual and indicated this individual, the place where you would have seen him…

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: After having traveled several tens or hundreds of meters with the persons’ car (sic). Do you confirm it?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Thanks, I produce the documentation for the disputes.

PM: I did not understand what the gist of the dispute is, maybe I am…

The Court: About the pictures, the incipient baldness…

PM: Perfect, perfect.

Attorney Bevacqua: Because he barely knew him, a certain resemblance, his forehead and nose remind him of something.

PM: Perfect.

The Court: Are there any other questions?

PM: One, last one, Mr. Bevilacqua…

The Court: One moment, I see counselor Fioravanti, he wanted to ask a question, please lawyer.

Attorney Fioravanti: First of all, your honor, I would like to review all the pictures from the first to the last one, that is, from the number 2, because it is very important to know of which period those pictures are, because those are different pictures from those of the period in which he saw them. So then I want to understand, I want to know from Mr. Bevilacqua, Bevi… Bevilacqua, yes…

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: Excuse me, I wanted to know if you, practicing cemeteries, saw what are the uniforms of the San Casciano cemetery, of the employees of the cemetery of San Casciano, which is near Chiesanuova.

Joe: Sorry, ask me the question…

Attorney Fioravanti: You are familiar with the cemeterial environment…

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: Could you tell me, you were near San Casciano, what color and what are the uniforms of the staff at the San Casciano cemetery?

Joe: First of all, the picture is not in color…

Attorney Fioravanti: No, no, no we don’t understand each other. You told me that the man was in uniform, with a kind of ANAS or ranger uniform, a dark green uniform, the uniforms of the employees of the cemetery of San Casciano, that each cemetery has different uniforms…

Joe: No, but what do you want to know about the cemetery?

Attorney Fioravanti: I want to know if you’ve ever seen an undertaker, a cemetery worker.

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: Well, have you ever seen those of San Casciano?

Joe: No, I haven’t.

Attorney Fioravanti: Not. So let’s go back to the pictures…

The Court: Are they dressed in green, counselor?

Attorney Fioravanti: They are really dressed in green.

PM: That’s all we need!

The Court: But how far is the cemetery?

Attorney Fioravanti: And that’s all we need, I have seen them.

The Court: How far is the cemetery, counselor?

Attorney Fioravanti: It is close.

The Court: It is close.

Attorney Fioravanti: It is close, it is at the crossroads between Chiesanuova and San Casciano. So, as you see it today, was this picture identical to the situation in the places of that time?

Joe: I don’t know, because I didn’t see them today, counselor.

Attorney Fioravanti: But you saw the places then!

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: Well, was it identical to this?

Joe: Well, maybe this is a little more grown than the other one … a little greener, more nature, because in September there are fewer plants that you see…

Attorney Fioravanti: Is it less green then?

Joe: Because this is black and white and cannot see what color is.

Attorney Fioravanti: Yes, yes, no, no, but apart from green, black and white, are there more plants, more hedges or fewer hedges, then?

Joe: No, it seems it is passed over a lot now.

Attorney Fioravanti: Here, you saw this place passing by the road, coming from the bridge at the beginning of the Scopeti ascent, right?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: Towards Sant’Andrea in Percussina, here, when you passed there… it is the road below, isn’t it? It is not above…

Joe: You have to go up a little…

Attorney Fioravanti: Here do you get out of the car?

Joe: Yes, but I used to walk there many thousands of times.

Attorney Fioravanti: Yes, no, but I am not interested in the thousands of times, I am interested in those three or four days before the murder.

Joe: I passed by car.

Attorney Fioravanti: By car?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: And did you stop the car on that place?

Joe: Not, I did not, but I wanted to.

Attorney Fioravanti: Well, did you see a girl in a bikini?

Joe: Yes, I wanted to stop for the simple reason… to say that it was a dangerous zone, there were murder problems, and instead I didn’t… and maybe I was wrong.

Attorney Fioravanti: Murder problems were there, huh? And how many murders have occurred in the area?

Joe: I don’t know because I didn’t follow the case.

Attorney Fioravanti: Ah, you didn’t follow…

Joe: No, I knew about the problems because there were signs all along the road that said it was “Monster area” and things like that, many signs.

Monster’s murders near the Florence American Cemetery

Attorney Fioravanti: Look, Mr. Bevilacqua I wanted to know something, you drove by and didn’t stop …

Joe: No.

Attorney Fioravanti: How much lower is the road?

Joe: The road is one meter, one meter and a half higher than the asphalt road that goes from Scopeti to San Andrea.

Attorney Fioravanti: Here, a meter and a half…

Joe: More or less, and it goes up to where the tent was.

Attorney Fioravanti: And the lane to which you refer where that white tree, lighter, is… was the vision on the lane unbound? I mean, did you see it from the road? A meter and a half lower?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: Sitting in the car?

Joe: Yes, because after you start to go down…

Attorney Fioravanti: No, you start to go up…

Joe: You stay like this…

Attorney Fioravanti: The road goes uphill.

GB: It goes down afterward.

Attorney Fioravanti: And I know it very well. Here, then you sit in the car, on a road one and a half meter lower than that…

Joe: No, they were at one and a half meter higher compared to the road.

Attorney Fioravanti: A meter and a half higher, but what was among the plants that were beside the road?

Joe: There were a few pines, some plants…

Attorney Fioravanti: Was there a hedge, maybe?

Joe: I don’t remember this, it may be but I don’t remember.

Attorney Fioravanti: Here, there is not nowadays.

Joe: No, I don’t think it was there, then.

Attorney Fioravanti: But since the public prosecutor has pictures of the time, of the day of the murder, the day after, it can be checked. You could see that lane from the road, couldn’t you?

Joe: I saw the tent behind the car.

Attorney Fioravanti: Here, who interviewed you about that?

Joe: I don’t know their names, I don’t remember.

Attorney Fioravanti: No, no, but names don’t interest me.

Joe: One from Florence…

Attorney Fioravanti: The Police or the Carabinieri? One, two, ten officers?

Joe: I believe the police.

The Court: Counselor, counselor, don’t get upset!

Attorney Fioravanti: No, no, no I wanted to know, I wanted to know…

PM: It is written anyway…

Attorney Fioravanti: Here, the individual you saw and who seemed to you… because you didn’t stop to look at the woman in bikini… did you stop to look at the woman, the girl in bikini?

Joe: No.

Attorney Fioravanti: You didn’t stop.

Joe: No.

Attorney Fioravanti: And did you also see the color of the bikini?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: Ah, very well.

Joe: If you have a white bikini or a black bikini it is very evident.

Attorney Fioravanti: A black bikini, it looks good…

Joe: I am human like you.

The Court: Black is one of the colors that you see better.

Attorney Fioravanti: And did you say she was a nice girl?

Joe: Yes, very nice.

Attorney Fioravanti: Very nice. Was that the first time you saw her?

Joe: No, the days before I saw her in the first position.

Attorney Fioravanti: The days before you saw her…

The Court: In the first…

Joe: Because they were placed lower than the climb, before.

Attorney Fioravanti: Ah, they were placed higher, you saw more…

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: Oh, listen, did you tell the police how tall was this man who seemed to you to be an ANAS or a ranger?

Joe: I think he was tall more or less like me.

Attorney Fioravanti: And how tall are you?

Joe: I am 5′ 7”, in American, I don’t know, in Italian.

Attorney Fioravanti: But from a meter and a half up? Let’s say a meter and a half plus twenty centimeters…

Joe: Maybe it’s a meter and eighty-two/eighty-three, I don’t know.

Attorney Fioravanti: A meter … so … as tall as you?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: One meter eighty-two, thank you.

Attorney Bevacqua: I forgot one thing, what car do you have?

Joe: I had a Lancia, at the time.

Attorney Bevacqua: A Lancia, and before?

Joe: Before the Lancia I had a 131.

Attorney Bevacqua: 131, so you always had a car for…

Joe: Yes, I also had a work car for my job, that’s it.

Attorney Bevacqua: Look, this person you saw, didn’t have … apart from baldness, did he have a mustache, a beard?

Joe: No, no…

Attorney Bevacqua: Here, can I ask you if they showed you two pictures? If the pictures attached to your statement are those ones?

PM: Let’s take the original pictures, counselor.

The Court: So, then, counselor… witness, sit down, please… counselor, if you don’t speak into the microphone … Eh? Tell us over there, tell us over there then maybe we’ll show it to you. Rather, Mr. Bevilacqua, do you mean to me in American measure how tall you are? 5 feet 7 inches.

Joe: 5 and 7.

The Court: 5 feet 7 inches.

Joe: Yes, but remember that I was 8/10 meters away from him, I didn’t have the meterstick!

The Court: Of course.

Joe: It cannot be precise…

The Court: Okay, very well. Are you 1.82 tall?


The Court: Okay, it doesn’t matter, let’s continue.

Attorney Fioravanti: He said, as much as him.

The Court: And he… our calculations… Now we see more, he should be 1.70 tall, if he is 5 feet and 7 inches, or we let measure also him by the experts tomorrow.

He told us, so, that not…

Attorney Fioravanti: Let’s do the measure, if the difference is 15 centimeters or 12…

Attorney Bevacqua: No, your honor, I have no questions only…

PM: I have, your honor.

Attorney Bevacqua: For the opposition, I produce that…

The Court: Very well, are there any oppositions to the measurement?

PM: No, please, please! Mr. Bevilacqua, I actually didn’t understand if you then made a further step in your mind to recognize, as you told us today, the appearance of the person…

Attorney Bevacqua: The question, please.

PM: Here…

Attorney Bevacqua: The question.

PM: I would like to understand if you saw Mr. Pacciani somewhere, after having seen those pictures, and if it occurred to you that he could have been him or, from those pictures, you never saw him again…

Joe: No, the attorney showed that picture to demonstrate that he had a mustache. I didn’t look at people, I wasn’t in love with him…

PM: Sure.

Joe: Except that I saw the uniform and I realized that…

PM: But how…

Joe: I didn’t watch to make an inquiry.

PM: Of course, but why did you tell us today that you look like Pacciani? Because you see him today or because you saw him again on the news, I apologize…

Joe: I saw him today, because I don’t watch many Tv news because I get around much for work.

PM: Then, Mr. Pacciani, the man between his two counselors, looks like the individual…

Joe: Yes.

PM: … that you saw?

Joe: Yes.

PM: For the characteristics you have told us?

Joe: Yes.

PM: Well, thank you.

Attorney Bevacqua: Excuse me, your honor, this is a new question, I think I may have the right to ask you, here, but, excuse me… you said that even one of your brother-in-law… I don’t have the document under my eyes at the moment… he would have shown you a picture…

Joe: No, it’s not true at all.

Attorney Bevacqua: It’s in the newspaper Il Messaggero.

Joe: It’s not true at all.

Attorney Bevacqua: It is not true at all, so you said different things?

Joe: No, you said that, counselor, I didn’t.

Attorney Bevacqua: Now I’ll read it huh? Did a relative of yours show him some pictures?

Joe: But who showed me those?

Attorney Bevacqua: Ah?

Joe: Who did show me these pictures?

Attorney Bevacqua: Did you see the pictures of Mr. Pacciani in the newspaper?

Joe: No.

Attorney Bevacqua: Here, how did you say..

Joe: I, my will, I went to the police because no one came to visit me at my workplace, not even one…

Attorney Bevacqua: But it’s out of the area…

Joe: I stayed there in the morning, after I wanted to speak with the Carabinieri…

PM: Can you explain why? And what did he do?

Joe: Excuse me?

PM: Can you explain what you’re saying? You voluntarily wanted to talk to the Carabinieri and what …

Joe: Yes, because on the evening the French were killed… I had two guard dogs there… At that time, I lived more or less between a hundred meters below the place where they were killed, my two dogs, one is a defending champion of Italy, wanted to jump the net which is almost two and a half meters high and I would not let them go, because the dogs with their ears perhaps heard the French couple screaming. I watched and tied the dogs with a chain because I was afraid because if they attacked someone… After, when I heard on the radio about the whole matter in the morning (this is not possible because the news was realized in the afternoon TLN), I wanted to talk to a policeman to explain that the more or less possible time…

PM: And did you go to the Carabinieri?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Listen, sorry, maybe I read strange things here but you said this, you said, I didn’t know it until I realized it, and you said this… “I was superintendent of the American military cemetery at Falciani from ’74 to ’89, for this reason I knew the area well”… etcetera, etcetera… “Regarding the double murder of the French citizens, after one of my brother-in-law*”…* you see that I remember his brother-in-law…

Joe: Yes, I have seven or eight…

Attorney Bevacqua: “My brother-in-law brought me the newspaper La Nazione to Nettuno which reported articles of the event and the picture of a person depicting a certain Pacciani Pietro, I remember this.”

Joe: It may be possible but…

Attorney Bevacqua: No, you said it!

Joe: Maybe I didn’t realize, you asked many questions of what I knew…

Attorney Bevacqua: The origin of your story to the police is this.

Joe: It is also a little time ago, counselor.

Attorney Bevacqua: Oh, so you were alerted, that is, you are prompted to tell the police that you had seen a person after your brother-in-law, you said it…

Joe: Yes, but he showed me those long after…

Attorney Bevacqua: No, we didn’t understand each other.

Joe: No.

Attorney Bevacqua: Or we don’t want to understand each other.

Joe: No, I don’t understand you, counselor, sorry.

Attorney Bevacqua: No, you understand me but we don’t want to understand each other.

Joe: I really don’t understand you.

Attorney Bevacqua: Eh, I tell you that you understand me. Your brother-in-law brought to you… brought a document to Nettuno, do you know where Nettuno is? Near the sea, you said, okay? “to see in Nettuno”… Nettuno, do you know where Nettuno is?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Oh, do you have a brother-in-law in Nettuno?

Joe: No.

Attorney Bevacqua: Do you have a brother-in-law in Italy?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Oh, have you ever talked to your brother-in-law about Pacciani?

Joe: Not really, but when he comes from Florence to me he brings newspapers.

Attorney Bevacqua: Oh, so your brother-in-law is Florentine?

Joe: Maybe, he showed me the newspapers.

Attorney Bevacqua: Oh, but you said it because I don’t invent it, do you understand?

Joe: I said it there, I said it, I signed that, I said it.

Attorney Bevacqua: Then I produce this document which shows his… so…

Joe: But it is a newspaper sold in the millions … He didn’t carry it just for me, it wasn’t printed for me. I don’t see what you are getting at, counselor.

Attorney Bevacqua: No, I only want to get at one thing…

Joe: And you tell us, I read it.

Attorney Bevacqua: That you, even if, according to you, you haven’t seen Pacciani on television, you have seen the pictures of Pacciani that were shown to you by your brother-in-law…

Joe: No, they were shown by that gentleman there.

Attorney Bevacqua: Later.

Joe: One of those there.

Attorney Bevacqua: After, after.

Joe: But also my brother-in-law brought the newspaper and even after that, he comes to visit me once or twice a year.

Attorney Bevacqua: But in short, you talked about this…

Joe: I don’t remember.

Attorney Bevacqua: Ah, you don’t remember it, you don’t remember this thing, okay I have produced this document because it seems to me that it is quite important, thanks.

PM: The very last question, if it is allowed… it was the one I was asking before, then we stopped a bit. If I did not misunderstand, you said: “I lived close to the place of the crime, at the time of the murder”…

Joe: Yes.

PM: He also spoke of meters?

Joe: If you make a direct line, the place where the French were killed was 3/400 meters away.

PM: What street did you live on?

Joe: I didn’t live on a street, I lived behind the cemetery.

American Cemetery Monster of Florence crime scene
Joe’s home in the Florence American Cemetery (blue) and the place where the Monster killed a couple in 1985 (red). This aerial photo was taken in 1982

Joe: I don’t know I will have put in the statement because he was talking about …

PM: And don’t you remember if there were more than one… were their… an officer? Was him a non-commissioned officer?

Joe: They were two, three.

PM: Two or three. Do you remember… do you know Italian ranks? Do you know…

Joe: No, because they were in civilian clothes.

PM: Ah here! Thanks, I have no further questions.

Attorney Bevacqua: About this question the Public Prosecutor has asked … I am almost done… look, you heard those dogs barking in the evening, were you inside or outside the cemetery?

Joe: Inside.

Attorney Bevacqua: Inside the cemetery and the same evening you went to Nettuno?

Joe: Excuse me?

Attorney Bevacqua: Did you go to Nettuno the same evening?

Joe: I don’t understand you.

Attorney Bevacqua: You said that then you called the Carabinieri of Nettuno.

Joe: I left Florence in 1989.

Attorney Bevacqua: Ah so the matter related to the Carabinieri of Nettuno is after, in 1989?

Joe: Yes, yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Four years later.

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Four years later, you didn’t remember, before?

Joe: I spoke two, three times before but I have not asked to make a written statement.

Attorney Bevacqua: Excuse me, but you, the territorial jurisdiction, even if you have the extraterritoriality because… because that land belongs to the United States of America… (the Florence American Cemetery was part of the United States Mission in Italy TLN).

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: If you needed anything, where did you go? At which police station?

Joe: The Carabinieri station closer.

Attorney Bevacqua: What were they?

Joe: In San Casciano.

Attorney Bevacqua: Did you go to San Casciano?

Joe: Yes I talked to Marshal over there.

Attorney Bevacqua: When did you speak?

Joe: There was a queue after the matter.

Attorney Bevacqua: But did the marshal record anything?

Joe: I don’t think so.

Attorney Bevacqua: No, it’s fine, thanks. So did you go to Nettuno in 1989?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Excuse me, in 1989 you went to Nettuno, okay?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: So, what do you say to the Carabinieri of Nettuno? Why did you say something to the Carabinieri of Nettuno? What did you say?

Joe: Because the matter of the French came out, none of them ever …

Attorney Bevacqua: What matter came out?

Joe: The matter of the murder of the French, perhaps it may have been useful to those what I knew.

Attorney Bevacqua: Of course, but this murder of the French came out, did the name of some suspect also come out? Of someone who… On whom…

Joe: No, also… I talked to the Carabinieri two, three times, they said that they called me.

Attorney Bevacqua: Ah.

Joe: Instead, I insisted to talk.

Attorney Bevacqua: And you, excuse me, what exactly you had to say to the Carabinieri of Nettuno?

Joe: I said … There were certain details about the matter of the French, I thought they were important.

Attorney Bevacqua: And what would these details be?

Joe: Excuse me?

Attorney Bevacqua: What would these details which you think…

Joe: The ones you read there.

Attorney Bevacqua: And also about the dogs?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Bevacqua: Even dogs. And then they have never listened to you?

Joe: No, the Carabinieri of Nettuno called those of Florence, they called me.

Attorney Bevacqua: Ah, this happened in ’90, ’91, ’92…

Joe: In ’90, I think it was ’90, ’91.

Attorney Bevacqua: Very well, thank you.

Attorney Fioravanti: your honor, counselor Fioravanti would like to ask some questions.

The Court: We can also do it. Come on gentlemen, let’s be concise because you have been asking for the same things for a quarter of an hour.

Attorney Fioravanti: No, I don’t ask the same things, your honor, because I have … Mr. Bevilacqua you said: “When I heard the radio the next morning…”

Joe: Yes, I don’t remember exactly but I heard it.

Attorney Fioravanti: The radio the next morning?

Joe: The radio, it could have been a newspaper, somehow I saw it.

Attorney Fioravanti: But in the evening…

Joe: The road to go to San Casciano was closed.

Attorney Fioravanti: You said: “I heard the dogs, in the evening, I had to tie them because I thought they attacked someone and the next morning…”.

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Fioravanti: I have marked these textual words and then they were also recorded: “The next morning I heard the radio”… it is here.

Joe: I turn on the radio every morning at half-past six to hear the news.

Attorney Fioravanti: Here and that morning…

Joe: Because I went to work at half-past six in the morning, the only reason… I went to get a coffee and I saw that the road to go to the Scopeti bridge was closed.

Attorney Fioravanti: But you… in the morning, after having heard the dogs in the evening…

Joe: No, I heard the dogs from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the morning.

Attorney Fioravanti: So did you hear the news on the radio in the morning?

Joe: It could have been morning, it could have been a little later because I didn’t watch the clock all the time…

Attorney Fioravanti: On day 9 (September 1985 TLN)?

Joe: It could have been, I don’t remember the day.

Attorney Fioravanti: The morning after you heard the dogs?

Joe: The next morning.

Attorney Fioravanti: Thank you.

Attorney Santoni : A question, Mr. President.

The Court: Counselor Santoni.

Attorney Santoni: A clarification, you said I heard the dogs… I would like to know exactly when you heard the dogs compared to when you saw the person walking on the path, okay? And when you heard the news on the radio or the newspaper, you can place it exactly, a little. I mean, when did you hear the news? On Monday? Tuesday? The dogs…

Joe: I don’t remember the days.

Attorney Santoni: But the dogs barked on a different day…

Joe: For a long time, very badly, they are trained as guard dogs.

Attorney Santoni: You can’t differentiate if the dogs barked the same day you saw that individual…

Joe: No, I went to the corner of the fence in the direction where the French were found.

Attorney Santoni: But was it the same day you saw that individual?

Joe: It was the night before, the night before, the evening of the crime.

Attorney Santoni: The problem is the evening of the crime when it is.

Joe: I don’t remember, but it’s the evening of the crime.

Attorney Santoni: No, is it the night before you heard the news on the radio?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Santoni: That you heard…

Joe: Yes the night before.

Attorney Santoni: This is important, don’t say the evening of the day of the crime because I can… there could be problems. I want to know this…

Attorney Bevacqua: You have to ask questions, we’ll see the problems later.

Attorney Santoni: I can see them too, if you allow.

The Court: Let’s go ahead! But do you realize how important the circumstance of dogs is?

Attorney Santoni: You’re not the only one careful about solving problems.

The Court: They can bark even at the moon! Or because a hedgehog crosses the road. That we have been talking about these dogs for half an hour? Come on.

Attorney Santoni: Anyway, in conclusion, you heard those dogs barking suspiciously…

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Santoni: …the day before the news on the radio?

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Santoni: Thanks.

The Court: So, gentlemen, that’s enough eh?

Joe: Mr. President, I…

The Court: I ask a question.

Attorney Colao: A very short question, Mr. President, on the height, on the height.

The Court: On the height, so dear Pacciani, why don’t you come here?

Attorney Colao: Please, no, I say…

The Court: Counselor, I don’t authorize you to ask questions. Do you mind Pacciani coming here, if you believe? Accompany him here on the hemicycle. Mr. Bevilacqua do you want to get up please? If you believe, huh? You are not obliged.

Joe Bevilacqua and Pietro Pacciani
Joe Bevilacqua and Pietro Pacciani at the trial

Attorney Fioravanti: No, no, he comes.

Attorney Bevacqua: They also look alike, Mr. President.

The Court: A little bit, actually.

Attorney Bevacqua: Very, Mr. President!

The Court: So … The witness must not be filmed! So be careful! So let’s see a little bit. Pacciani is shorter, please stand in front, no, no, don’t talk Pacciani, don’t talk, you don’t talk to the defendant, get some distance, here, then, let’s see, visibly… closer, please, I think that he is higher and certainly a 5 cm… a palm taller, yes. The witness is a palm taller…

Attorney Bevacqua: Well, they look alike!

The Court: Good.

PM: Can we listen to what you say too… Mr. President, can we listen…

The Court: So you… No, the witness was telling me something. Here, speak into the microphone.

Joe: Personally, counselor… who doesn’t even know your name… and could you see the difference, from ten meters, of the height of him and me? You said more or less, as I said.

The Court: More or less.

Joe: And you don’t make clothes, you are not someone who makes clothes or stuff to bring…

Attorney Bevacqua: No, no clothes I want to do.

Attorney Fioravanti: They make the dress for him!

The Court: Silence, silence, silence, the witness said: “My indication was naturally more or less”.

PM: More or less of my height.

The Court: Okay, listen Mr. Bevilacqua, gentlemen silence, one thing, you’ve talked about the guy you saw dressed in green as someone who had, among other things, an incipient baldness…

Joe: Yes.

The Court: Could you tell us…

Joe: No, it looked like a jacket.

The Court: Please?

Joe: An olive jacket like…

The Court: No, but what about this incipient baldness, that is, how his hair was? Like me for example?

Joe: The hair?

The Court: Yes, or did he have it thicker?

Joe: The same but a little more hair maybe.

The Court: He had more hair.

Joe: Here maybe a little more.

The Court: More hair.

Joe: But his nose is the same.

The Court: So seeing Pacciani you are convinced.

Attorney Bevacqua: No, the nose is the same.

The Court: The nose? No, he has also indicated the hairline.

PM: Let’s allow the witness to say it instead of wanting to find differences and similarities.

The Court: Just to be clear, then, Pacciani is in front of you, you must be rigorous and objective to the highest degree, now. You look at Pacciani, he always had a hair…

Joe: He looked like him.

The Court: “He seems to be him”.

Attorney Bevacqua: Okay.

The Court: He’s not bald…

Joe: Excuse me?

The Court: Pacciani doesn’t suffer from baldness, his hairline is a bit high.

Attorney Bevacqua: Now.

The Court: Now…

Attorney Colao: Mr. President, I think he doesn’t understand

Joe: No I’m a little deaf, sorry.

Attorney Fioravanti: Aha… Aha…

Attorney Bevacqua: There are very specific pictures of which the witness says he has… remember… the pictures that I produced, in which he could only have looked alike because of the nose, because the pictures of the time, where Mr. Pacciani was full of hair, did not remind him, just his nose reminded him.

The Court: Okay…

Attorney Bevacqua: Now he remembers everything.

Attorney Fioravanti: It is written in the file.

Joe: It may seem…

The Court: Are there any other questions?

PM: No questions, Mr. President.

The Court: Counselor Colao.

Attorney Colao: Excuse me, I want to ask this about the height… so you said that you have observed well the man who came out of the path…

Joe: Yes.

Attorney Colao: Well, and do you remember if you also slowed down the speed to observe him better? The car…

Joe: Excuse me?

Attorney Colao: If you slowed down…

Joe: Me, in the car?

Attorney Colao: Yes.

Joe: I stopped the car.

Attorney Colao: Ah you stopped.

The Court: Counselor, he had stopped.

Attorney Colao: So sorry.

Joe: Because I thought I knew… one of the gamekeepers.

Attorney Colao: Ok, compared to the roadway where you were in the car, the path, the path was lower or higher?

Joe: It was lower because the road went like this.

Attorney Colao: Here, then you valued the height from these two positions…

Joe: I didn’t look for him… precise, precise…

The Court: You did not have the meterstick, you have already said. That’s enough, the witness can go, thank you, good morning Mr. Bevilacqua, see you.

PM: Mr. President, five minutes.

The Court: Okay.

PM: Thanks.

The Court: We’ll stand in recess for ten minutes.

PM: Ten minutes, thank you.

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