November 25th, 2005


Investigating the 'death metal' murders

Investigating the 'death metal' murders
By Sam Bagnall, Producer, Death Metal Murders

One man's relentless search for his missing son led him to uncover one of the most shocking crimes in post-war Italy - a tale of satanism and violence that has gripped the country for more than a year.

Michele Tollis spent six years searching for his son Fabio

In January 1998 Fabio Tollis and Chiara Marino, both just 16, disappeared.

They had been drinking at a pub called the Midnight - the centre of the heavy metal scene in Milan - and they never came home.

The police and many of their friends just thought they had run off together. But their parents refused to accept this.

Michele Tollis, Fabio's father, began to attend metal concerts and festivals across Europe, handing out leaflets and quizzing Fabio's friends.

Fabio and his friends were into the most extreme forms of heavy metal music - death metal and black metal, music obsessed with images of murder and satanism - and the role of this music is central to the story.

It emerged that Chiara, the girl who disappeared with Fabio, had a collection of satanic literature and paraphernalia in her bedroom.

During this search, Michele Tollis became convinced that satanism had something to do with his son's disappearance.

"No one can contradict me when I say that heavy metal and satanism are closely linked. They're inseparable," he says.

Many of Fabio's friends appeared to be evasive when questioned about his whereabouts and Michele became convinced they were hiding something.

Over the next six years he built up a dossier of intelligence about them; who knew whom and which bands they played in.

'Alarm bells'

Then in January 2004 Michele was watching the local news. An item came on reporting a brutal murder in their nearby town of Somma Lombardo.

A young man called Andrea Volpe had been arrested and admitted killing his ex-girlfriend.

Alarm bells went off in Michele's head because Volpe had played in a death metal band with his son. He called the police and arranged a meeting.

"It was a strange story, the one Michele Tollis told," says Teniente Enzo Molinari of the carabinieri.

"But he didn't only tell a story; he backed it up with a very convincing body of paperwork and photographs which he had gathered over the past six years.

"He had carried out a true investigation on the disappearance of his son and his son's girlfriend, all on his own."

Using Michele's dossier of information, the police interrogated Volpe about the disappearances.

Beasts of Satan

Finally Volpe confessed and led the police to where Fabio and Chiara were buried.

Michele's hunt was over, but the revelations were just beginning.

One of Fabio's school friends, Mario Maccione, confessed to having beaten Fabio to death with a hammer.

He also revealed that the boys had been part of a wider satanic sect called the Beasts of Satan.

It was revealed Andrea Bontade, a drummer, had been terrorised into committing suicide.

Soon, other mysterious deaths were being linked to the Beasts.

Controversial lyrics

The case has profoundly shocked Italy, still a very Catholic country.

One priest, Don Aldo Buonaito, has set up a helpline for parents and children worried about satanism.

A spate of church burnings in Norway were linked to black metal

He has also called for death metal music to be banned.

"If music makes itself an instrument of nefarious deeds and death it should be stopped," he says.

But this is just the latest case where extreme metal music has been blamed for vicious acts by teenagers.

Everyone remembers the secret messages that were supposed to be contained in Ozzy Osbourne's lyrics and the controversy over his track Suicide Solution.

In 1996, the parents of Elyse Marie Pahler took satanic death metal band Slayer to court in the US after their 15-year-old daughter was murdered in what was alleged to be a satanic ritual imitating the band's lyrics.

The case was dismissed by a Californian judge in 2001.

In Norway fans of the even more extreme black metal, burned down more than 40 churches in the 1990s.

One of the favourite bands of the Beasts of Satan sect in Italy was Deicide - an American death metal band led by Glen Benton, a self-professed satanist who has an upside down cross branded into his forehead.

Lack of evidence

Glen Benton has an upside down cross branded into his forehead

Deicide sing about the occult, their most popular anthem being Kill the Christians.

Other death metal bands appear to glorify murder, torture, rape and necrophilia.

Benton is no stranger to controversy - several murders have been linked to his fans - but denies that any singer can be responsible for the actions of their fans.

"I say don't blame people like me and [Marilyn] Manson, because we never said: 'Hey, we're going to be role models for all your kids.' That ain't what this is about. It's about entertainment."

Indeed there is little evidence that ordinary kids can be turned into monsters by music.

But academics who have studied adolescents and music have expressed concerns about the possible effects on children who already have psychological problems.

Professor Don Roberts of Stanford University thinks that perhaps the children who are already violent or depressed are the people who should be kept away from death metal.

"What the music may well be doing is simply reinforcing beliefs that they might have started with in the first place," he says.

Death Metal Murders was broadcast on Thursday, 24 November, 2005 at 2100 GMT on BBC Two.

* Source.

These devil-worship types worship the fictional villain character in the judeo-christian mythology, and are essentially 'black sheep' residing in the same pen as the 'white sheep'. Their 'doctrine' seems to be filtered through death metal albums, urban legends, and horror movies, which should be regarded as they are intended - as entertainment.

Now there is a peculiar sect who merely replace the word 'Satan' for 'Christ', but act pretty much the same way their purported 'enemies' do, otherwise. Jesus with horns.

  • Current Music
    Midnight Syndicate: Symphonies From The Crypt
  • Tags

Charges shed light on church

Charges shed light on church: Eastside `cult' is likely hiding members accused of sex abuse, police say
by Noel S. Brady, Journal Reporter [2005-11-25]

The shadowy history of an Eastside church, recognized by many as a cult, has come into focus with new charges of child molestation and an admission by one former member that he molested an 8-year-old boy.

Steven A. Belzak told King County prosecutors that he began sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy at a home in Sammamish for male members of the Tridentine Latin Rite Church. In his confession, he said the abuse went on for three years, beginning in 2000.

Another church member, 20-year-old Justin Kirkland, is charged with first-degree child rape and first-degree child molestation. And last week prosecutors charged a third man, Michael W. Muratore, 21, with first-degree child molestation.

Kirkland and Muratore remain at large, and investigators believe the so-called cult that reared them is protecting them from prosecution.

``It's most likely that the cult is shielding or hiding them,'' said King County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart. ``This breakaway group is not recognized by the (Roman Catholic) church. They're a cult.''

Belzak, now 20, pleaded guilty earlier this month to two counts of child molestation. He is scheduled for sentencing Monday in juvenile court. Prosecutors say they'll recommend a judge send Belzak to intensive sexual deviancy treatment before determining how much time he should serve.

According to charging papers, the victim's mother went to Bellevue police in April 2004 after her son told her he had been molested while living at the Tridentine Latin Rite Church home in Sammamish.

Since her son was 2, the woman told detectives, he had been raised by the men and other boys who lived at the house. She said the church was a cult, and she was allowed to visit her son only twice a year.

She spent those years living with her daughters and other female members of the church at a home in Bellevue. It wasn't until she left the church last year that she learned of her son's abuse, prosecutors said.

The Journal could not reach the now-13-year-old victim or his mother, but she told KING 5 News this week how she learned her son was abused.

``They were raping him and they were telling him that it was OK, that that's what everybody does,'' she said. ``It's very hard to admit that these people that I gave my son to, that I trusted, are the very ones that destroyed his innocence.''

The woman's son told detectives and prosecutors that Muratore was the first to touch him when he was 7 or 8. Three weeks later, he said, Belzak touched him and made him take his clothes off while other boys were sleeping in the room.

He said Kirkland later began molesting him, as well. The abuse went on until he was 11, he said.

On one occasion, he was shut inside a closet with Belzak, when Belzak began touching him. A man who lived with the boys caught them and spanked them both.

Urquhart said there are no allegations of organized or ritual abuse in the church, and the acts didn't occur under the direction of any of the group's leaders. Still, investigators are concerned that sexual abuse of children might be ongoing, and they suspect the church is covering it up.

The church, also is known as ``Fatima Crusaders,'' has refused to cooperate with detectives, Urquhart said, and leaders of the cult have even denied the existence of Muratore.

In fact, many of the children in the group have no birth certificate, Social Security number or any type of documentation. That's why it has taken more than a year to charge Muratore.

``We had a name but it took us a long time to figure out who he was,'' Urquhart said.

In a report about the group published Nov. 25, 2002, in the Seattle Times, Muratore's father and aunt spoke about their decision to join the church.

A truck driver and father of nine, Michael E. Muratore, 48, said he and his wife left a mainstream Christian church when it began to feel more like social club.

``After three or four months, you learned everything,'' Muratore said. ``It left us with an empty feeling. There had to be more to it.''

The man said his faith in God ``gives total purpose to life. When you have a faith -- especially a purpose that says this is a means to an end, God provides opportunities.''

The men of Tridentine Latin Rite Church have since abandoned the house in Sammamish, and police don't know where they're living now.

Police say about 100 members of the Tridentine Latin Rite Church have lived in Renton, Bellevue and Issaquah for the last several years.

The church has no published address or telephone number, and the Journal was unable to reach any representative of Tridentine Latin Rite Church for comment.

The group should not be confused with other sects that broke away from the Catholic Church following global revisions in the way Catholics worship with The Second Vatican Council -- or Vatican II -- in 1965. The changes were intended to broaden the church's reach and appeal.

Some groups formed new churches in opposition to Vatican II ruling to modernize the traditional Tridentine mass by replacing Latin with local vernacular and instructing priests to turn their backs on the holy altar during Mass.

A lay church volunteer who helps organize a weekly traditional Latin mass at St. Joseph Chapel in downtown Seattle, Jason King of Mercer Island, said he and his organization, Una Voce of Western Washington, already have been mistaken for the cult. The difference, he said, is that he is a Roman Catholic and the Mass he organizes is fully recognized by the archdiocese of Western Washington.

``This cult is separate and distinct from the Catholic Church,'' King said. ``It's not recognized by the archdiocese. This cult doesn't even believe that Pope Benedict (XVI) is the pope. They don't believe there's been a pope since Vatican II in 1965.''

At the heart of the mysterious group lies its founder, Francis Konrad Schuckardt, a charismatic leader who considers himself to be the true pope, according to members of the group.

The group's history, as outlined in the book ``The Smoke of Satan: Conservative and Traditionalist Dissent in Contemporary American Catholicism'' by Michael Cuneo is marked by schism, controversy and police raids.

A graduate of O'Dea High School, Schuckardt was one of the original defectors of the church, following Vatican II. The vocal traditionalist was ousted from his congregation and spent decades cultivating a following throughout the Northwest.

Members of his church have described a harsh life with hours of prayer each day. Women and girls must cover their heads and wear long skirts. There have been reports of malnutrition and severe punishment such as shaving the heads of girls and forcing some to kneel during meals.

Former members say the church uses fear to discourage its young followers from running away.

In May 1987, a police SWAT team in California raided a house where the group was staying. They were searching for six children in two separate parental abduction cases. They didn't find the children, but they did find a cache of prescription pain killers, several guns, $75,000 in cash and records of numerous international bank accounts.

The six children turned up elsewhere a few days later, after a new investigation into the cult had begun.

Urquhart said investigators have found no sign of Schuckardt in more than two years. Most likely, he said, Schuckardt is dead, although his church insists he is alive.

* Source

Christian Crime: Sadly, it seems that a large percentage of covert pedophile priests would be a part of this cult if it were not illegal. Ironically, this cult may be indicative of what a true priesthood would advocate, if it were not, again, illegal. Also keep in mind that all these blindlight churches began as a cult - seems a really large cult is finally regarded as a religion. But instead of a handful of people believing such necro-mytheology, a mass cluster of adherents become acceptable to society, only because of the sheer numerage. despite the kooky idiotology.

  • Current Music
    Midnight Syndicate: Symphonies From The Crypt
  • Tags