The release of an infamous Sicilian mafia killer dubbed 'the people slayer' sparks an outcry in Italy
- Giovanni Brusca is believed to have killed over 100 people.
- Brusca was arrested in 1996 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
- However, he received a reduced sentence after agreeing to colloborate with authorities.
A member of the Sicilian mafia who is believed to have murdered over 100 people has been released from prison following 25 years behind bars.
Giovanni Brusca, 64, was arrested in 1996 and sentenced to life imprisonment after a life of working as the right-hand man for mafia boss Totò Riina.
However, in 2000, Brusca was given a reduced sentence after agreeing to help prosecutors and become an informant. His release from prison has sparked an outcry in Italy, despite it being required by law.
As reported by the Guardian, Enrico Letta, the leader of the center-left Democratic party, said the decision to release Brusca "is a punch in the stomach that leaves you breathless." Meanwhile, Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party, said: "After 25 years in prison, the mafia boss Giovanni Brusca is a free man. This is not the 'justice' that Italians deserve."
Amongst Brusca's most brutal crimes was the killing of Giuseppe Di Matteo, the 11-year-old son of a mafia member who helped out the authorities. Di Matteo was kidnapped in 1993 as a result of his father going against the mafia and was held in a house for over two years before being strangled to death.
His body was then thrown into acid, with police calling the murder "one of the most heinous crimes in the history of the Cosa Nostra," as reported by the Guardian.
Brusca was also responsible for killing Giovanni Falcone, the prosecuting magistrate who spent his life trying to bring down the mafia. Brusca detonated a bomb in 1992 in Palermo that killed Falcone, his wife, and three bodyguards.
Mario Falcone, sister of Giovanni, told ANSA that the news of Brusca's release "pains" her but that the law of reducing sentences in return for mafiosos helping authorities was one that her brother wanted.
"Therefore it must be respected," Falcone said. "I only hope the judiciary and police will be vigilant, with extreme attention, in order to avert the risk that he commit crimes again.''
Many relatives of Brusca's victims do not believe he has repented for his crimes, nor do they feel he has ever told the full truth to authorities.
Luciano Traina, the police officer who arrested Brusca in Agrigentovilla in 1996, told Repubblica: "I will never forget the look on his face when we arrested him."
Traina, who is the brother of another police officer who was killed by Cosa Nostra, continued: "I will never forgive him. Because I do not believe Brusca has ever told the whole truth."
After deciding to collaborate with the authorities, Brusca's information led to the arrest of other murderers and members of Cosa Nostra.
As reported by Repubblica, Brusca told prosecutors after he turned informant: "I'm an animal. I worked all my life for Cosa Nostra. I have killed more than 150 people. I can't even remember all their names."