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Premeditated murder January 12, 2007

Posted by dorigo in news, personal.

One month ago a family was murdered in Erba, Italy, with knives, a hammer, and fire. Raffaella Castagna, her 2-years old son, and her mother Paola Galli all died horribly, slaughtered by ferocious hands. A neighbor who had heard the screams was also killed, and her husband nearly escaped death.

The murderers were finally identified yesterday, nailed by a drop of blood which stained the interior of their car. Their names are Rosa Bazzi and Olindo Romano. They gave a full confession after cornered by the questions of the investigators. The couple lived at the first floor of the same building where, one floor above, lived the slaughtered family. After years of quarrels over the noise that the Castagna family produced, they finally decided to take action on the evening of December 11th.

The italian media have covered in excruciating detail the story, the investigations, and the final collapse of the murderers. I had paid little attention to the whole process, but what stroke me today was reading the confession of the woman, who explained the investigators how they had planned the multiple murder in every detail.

The couple had chosen the best time for their action, when everybody was dining with the TV on and would have not noticed any screams from the Castagna apartment. They carefully selected the weapons, they decided how to dress in suits that had to later be destroyed, even investigated on their future victims by following them and taking notes of their habits. They got a copy of the key to the building of the victims, brought material to set ablaze the crime scene. They even worked on an alibi, by rushing to a nearby town after the murder to get a dinner and a timed receipt.

And the murder was horrible and merciless. Once they crept in the apartment, they hammered Raffaella on the head and finished her with rage, hitting her with a knife 12 times. The same treatment was reserved to the mother Paola, while the little Youssef, the two-year old son, was killed as an animal, when Rosa pulled him up by the hair and slit the infant’s throat. But it was not over yet: they then had to deal with the occupants of the third floor, who had been alerted by the noise. Their throats were also slit, but the husband miraculously survived due to a congenital defect of his veins. He laid in a coma for almost a month, but is now recovering.

Finally, they set the apartment on fire, and merrily went to eat their dinner in Como. On the following days the investigators were able to detect a conversation in their apartment, when Rosa and Olindo finally rejoyced at the silence and quietness of their home.

The reason why I tell this story is that I ask myself whether we really are different from animals. If hatred – built day by day through a few years of frustration for being unable to sleep at night, in this case – can bring two people to such extreme acts of violence, it means that violence was there in a seminal form already. It was only damped by the fear of punishment, and no remorse appears to have plagued the murderers before they were finally framed.

Would we all be criminals if we had a chance of improving our life with a crime and the certainty of getting away with it ? There are times I am afraid we would.



1. zerocold - January 12, 2007

Three things that let me astonished in this story:
1) Rosa has killed the baby with knife just beacuse he was crying and this has made her an hedhache.
2) After slauthering the family the two murderes has gon to mac-donald to heat a cheesburger
3)At the beginnig most of the italian journalist rumored that the killer were musslin and beacuse his father is a turkish and so a dark man.
4) Why the italian journalist always referred to the family by the “Castagna’s family” and not (more correct) The “Youssef family”.

2. dorigo - January 12, 2007

Quite true, the mention has always been to the “Castagna” family. But I am more suprised by hearing that the two murderers had gone so far as to investigate the movements of their victims for quite a while. It was a deep premeditation, quite unlike most other cases of this kind of violence.


3. Guess Who - January 12, 2007

the two murderers had gone so far as to investigate the movements of their victims for quite a while. It was a deep premeditation

Well, there you go: we are different from (other) animals. They just kill each other on impulse (typically hunger). We plan it.

4. Fred - January 13, 2007

Very, very sad. We can only pray for the victims in a case like this. What happens to the perpetrators is hollow justice regardless of the sentence they deserve and receive. We are like other animals in the sense that the prey is usually weak and vulnerable.

“Would we all be criminals if we had a chance of improving our life with a crime and the certainty of getting away with it ?”

Many people will never contemplate murder if that is the specific crime you are referring to, though, they would probably be in the minority if compared to the total population.

5. dorigo - January 13, 2007

Well, GW, to the extent that animals can think, they also sort of premeditate their hunts for food. But yes, the ability of rational thinking makes humans more perverse.

Fred, I think I would like to agree with you that some of us would never kill, whatever the reason. But I think it is just a matter of costs/benefits: people who have a conscience can still kill for vengeance, for instance. I would like to say I would never kill, but I can imagine situations when I indeed could bring myself to do it.


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