Mugshots of The Hillside Stranglers, Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono
The Hillside Stranglers, Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, were convicted of murdering multiple women and girls in the 1970s. Pic credit: California Department of Corrections

The Hillside Strangler is shedding light on the killings of Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono in Los Angeles, California.

In 1970, Bianchi graduated from high school and later enrolled at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York. He studied police science and had plans to become a police officer.

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When that was unsuccessful, he took on several jobs, including a security guard. 

In 1975, he left that life behind.

Bianchi moved in with Buono, his adoptive cousin, who lived in California. It was there that he started a psychology practice with a fictitious degree.

He later moved out of the home and moved in with his girlfriend, with whom he started a family.

That didn’t stop Bianchi and Buono from reuniting to form a sinister plan that would leave nine women and girls dead.

The rape and killing spree began

Between October 1977 and February 1978, Bianchi and Buono pretended to be police officers to lure their victims, mostly college students, prostitutes, waitresses, dancers, and aspiring actors.

Dolores Cepeda, 12, and Sonja Johnson, 14, were the two youngest victims of Bianchi and Buono, who were later known as “The Hillside Stranglers.”

They were two school girls who disappeared on November 13, 1977, and their bodies were found seven days later.

The victims were all raped, bound, and strangled to death—some were tortured—before their bodies were discarded on hillsides in the Glendale Highland Park area.

Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono were captured

While in custody, Bianchi told detectives that Buono was also involved in the murders, and they arrested him too.

When Bianchi’s insanity defense was unsuccessful, he took a plea deal

He agreed to plead guilty in Whatcom County Superior Court on October 19, 1979, to the murders of seven women and girls, including the murders in Washington. 

To avoid the death penalty, he testified against his cousin.

A judge then sentenced Bianchi to 118 years in prison. 

In 2005, he requested to be released on parole, but he was denied. 

During Buono’s trial, he said he was innocent and there was no evidence to prove otherwise. But when over 400 witnesses came forward, a jury found him guilty of murdering nine women and girls.  

On November 18, 1983, a judge sentenced him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Nearly 19 years later, Buono died of natural causes while serving his sentence at the Calipatria State Prison in California. 

He was 67.

The Hillside Strangler airs Saturday at 8/7c on Oxygen.

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