Tortures and kills wife and two children: 'I freed them from Satan'

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Tortures and kills wife and two children: 'I freed them from Satan'

“My name is Giovanni Barreca. I killed my entire family, come and get me.” The phone call to the police switchboard was made last night. The man's tone remains cold, calm. “I'll wait for you in Casteldaccia”, he tells the investigators before closing. While a patrol picks up the murderer, a 54-year-old bricklayer, another goes to his home in Altavilla Milicia, a coastal town 30 kilometers from Palermo . The scene witnessed by the police is horrifying. On the ground are the bodies of the two sons, Emanuel, 5, and Kevin, 16. The third daughter, 17, is sitting on the bed in a room, in shock. He would have witnessed the crimes.
The latest victim, the bricklayer's wife, Antonella Salamone, 13 years younger, was found hours later. Charred pieces of his body are a short distance from the house under a mound of earth. The husband allegedly killed her and then set fire to the remains. Barreca is taken to the barracks and adds some details to the telephone confession. “There was the devil in the house,” he says.

The investigations continue and it turns out that the man, a religious fanatic who had attended the evangelical church and then distanced himself from it, had a real obsession with the devil. The police suspect that he killed with the mad aim of freeing the family from demonic presences and that a couple from Palermo was also involved in the crimes and may have pushed the bricklayer to carry out the brutal act. The words of the surviving daughter also confirm this: “They did an exorcism to chase away the devil” , the girl reportedly told the police, accusing her father and the couple of friends who frequented Barreca for religious reasons. All three were arrested in the evening. As time passes, it emerges that the brutal murders were not committed during the night, as had been hypothesized also on the basis of the man's words. Salamone would have been killed first. The children on Friday. The girl and her father, therefore, remained in the house for hours next to the bodies before the phone call to the investigators.

The dynamics and motive of the massacre are still to be clarified, although it seems that the driving force that pushed Barreca was religious obsession. The autopsies will reveal how the three victims were killed and will be able to confirm the hypothesis according to which the children were strangled with chains. Furthermore, it is yet to be understood why the murderer's 17-year-old daughter, apparently Barreca's favourite, was spared. The girl, who allegedly recounted her father's religious delusions, appeared unclear upon the arrival of the police: a circumstance which led to the hypothesis that she had been drugged. Now, on the orders of the Juvenile Prosecutor's Office, she has been taken to a family home. The community of Altavilla, a small town where the couple was known, was shocked. The two, husband and wife since 2007, had lived for years in Novara and returned to Sicily five years ago . The economic condition of the family was not good, so much so that the Municipality, to help them, had found the victim small jobs. The woman was followed by social workers who, however, never had any suspicion of violence in the family. And the pastor of the evangelical church that Salamone had followed for a while was also the pastor of the evangelical church that Salamone had followed for a while. “She had moved away from the community – he says – But I had seen her again recently and she told me that she prayed and read the sacred scriptures at home with other people”. The mayor of the town, Pino Virga, has suspended all events organized for the carnival and will call for city mourning on the day of the funeral. “We cannot understand how all this was possible. He was a religious man and tried to please his wife in everything”, said two relatives of the victim, who arrived in the village after the news.

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