Vincenzo Verzeni – Strangler of Women

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Vincenzo Verzeni is thought to be one of the earliest serial killers. He was born in Bettanuco, Bergamasco region, in 1849

Verzeni was born into a family with a violent, alcoholic father, who frequently beat his wife and son.

He became incapable of creating relationships with people, especially girls. He was quite fearful of his dominant father.

Verzeni killed Giovanna Matta (14 years old). He attached her on her way to reunite with her family in Sisio. Verzeni mutilated her body. He intended on cooking her flesh, but panicked and hid the body instead, where her mother later found her.

Verzeni killed two more women and attacked six others.

He did not touch the bodies sexually; he didn’t even look at her private parts. All of his pleasure was driven by strangling and sucking the blood from the bodies. He cut the abdomens along the entire length, pulling out the intestines and smashing them; the limbs were smashed and scattered in the road with the bloody clothing. He even hammered the victim’s hairpins into the body, or in the ground near the body, in a geometric rosette.

verzeniTwo witness statements put him on trial. A psychiatrist- Doctor Cesare Lombroso- found Verzeni partially insane. Lombroso claimed Verzeni came from a family afflicted by retardation and that he suffered necrophilomania.

During the trial, Verzeni admitted that the scratch marks found on the bodies were not from his fingernails, but his teeth. He drank the blood that dripped out.

He was found guilty by a one vote majority of two murders and four attempted murders. Since the vote was not unanimous, he was sent to forced labor instead of a firing squad.

On April 13, 1918, he was locked in a judicial mental hospital in Milan. On July 19th, he slipped into muteness, so he underwent several sessions of cruel treatments that included boiling glue burns, electric shocks, isoloation, darkness, ice showers and surprise hot water baths. On July 23rd, he was found hanging naked in his cell, where he was eventually pronounced dead.