Between 1968 and 1985 young lovers were butchered in their cars amid the beautiful Tuscan countryside in Florence, Italy. It’s ironic that a place whose delicate name means, “I flower,” became the grisly scene of murder and mutilation during the height of passion. The heinousness of the crimes led the local media to refer to the perpetrator as “The Monster of Florence” or “Il Mostro.” Several men were accused of these horrific murders but the convictions were ridiculed in the media and many critics argue that the real killer has never been identified.
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Fast forward to the year 2000: New York Times bestselling crime novelist Douglas Preston moves to picturesque Florence with his family and reinvestigates the crimes committed years earlier. Soon Preston befriends Mario Spezi, a journalist who specialized in the Monster of Florence case. The two begin to collaborate on articles about the case leading to becoming co-authors of The Monster of Florence. The book is an account of Douglas Preston’s personal experiences while investigating the murders and the ongoing problems he ran into with the Italian criminal justice system. Preston and Spezi have become well-known public figures connected to the case when they are accused by the Italian justice system of crimes. Charges include obstruction of justice and even accomplice to murder. Italian Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, who is to become the judge in the highly scrutinized 2007 murder trial against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, throws Spezi in jail, accusing him of being the Monster of Florence. Preston is forced to leave Italy. Jump another 14 years into the future. Today Preston is speaking out against the Knox-Sollecito murder trial and points to the Italian justice system as the problem. Preston and Spezi are outspoken critics against the tactics used by the Italian criminal justice system against Knox and Sollecito and the prosecutors in the Monster of Florence case.
The following is a statement by Douglas Preston and allies against the verdict in the re-trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito:
We were shocked, saddened and angered to hear that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of murder by an Italian court in yet another trial in the endless judicial proceedings in this case. They are the victims of no less than judicial persecution. This verdict is not about justice. It is not about evidence or truth. This is about the saving of face, about protecting the careers of powerful people, and about the appeasement of Italian public opinion. It is about protecting a false assumption and accusation and a coerced false confession made before evidence was processed and anyone understood the dynamics of what had really happened. There never was any evidence against Amanda and Raffaele—and compelling evidence they had absolutely nothing to do with the violent and heinous murder of Meredith Kercher. We, the undersigned, have been involved in this case for many years. We came together several months ago to write a book analyzing this case in detail. We wanted to tell the story of exactly what did happen the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher, based strictly on the evidence and responsible investigative practices. That was our sole aim. Our analysis is presented in THE FORGOTTEN KILLER: Rudy Guede and the Murder of Meredith Kercher. This book conclusively shows that the evidence against Guede was overwhelming from the beginning. That he committed the crime alone, without help, we also demonstrate is beyond question. THE FORGOTTEN KILLER identifies the killer, why he killed, how, and why Italian police and prosecutors erroneously focused on Amanda and Raffaele. The authors have undertaken this project completely pro bono, solely in the interests of truth. What is happening to Amanda and Raffaele can happen to anyone. When a law enforcement and court system puts its pride and self-interest ahead of truth, it endangers the public. It cannot salvage its credibility by denying its error. Two innocent people are being railroaded. Meanwhile, Rudy Guede, the genuinely dangerous criminal who murdered Meredith Kercher, is largely ignored. He has slipped through the system and may be back on the street as early as this year. We will speak out against this disgraceful verdict and travesty of justice in every public arena, and at every possible opportunity. The sooner the Italian court system comes to its senses, the better for it and the public it is supposed to serve.
John Douglas, former FBI special agent and chief, Investigative Support Unit, Michael Heavey, former judge, King County Circuit Court, Jim Lovering, retired businessman, archivist for and expert on the case, Steve Moore, former FBI special agent and violent crime investigator, Mark Olshaker, author, filmmaker, journalist, co-author of Law & Disorder ,Douglas Preston, journalist author of The Monster of Florence and Trial By Fury, Thomas Lee Wright, writer, filmmaker, co-founder, Friends of Amanda