How The Hillside Stranglers Were Eventually Caught

Between October 1977 and February 1978, Los Angeles, California, and the surrounding region was terrorized by a serial killer — who preyed on young girls and women. Because most of the victims were strangled, and their bodies were found in the Hollywood hills, the killer was dubbed the Hillside Strangler.

As reported by People, authorities suspected there were actually two Hillside Stranglers, who they believed were working together based on the strength required to move and position the victims' bodies. However, that information was not released to the public prior to the arrests of Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono.

Bianchi and Buono, who were cousins, began their killing spree in October 1977. As reported by Biography, the men dressed as police officers to gain the trust of their victims. Although their first victims were sex workers, they later moved on to kidnapping, raping, and killing middle-class girls and women. Authorities also noted the victims were injected with household cleaners and other chemicals.

The Hillside Stranglers' killing spree ended abruptly in February 1978, when Kenneth Bianchi moved to Washington State to be with his former girlfriend and their son. As reported by ATI, Kenneth Bianchi did not kill again until January 1979. However, he seemed to struggle without his partner and was arrested and charged with murder the following day.

As the girls in Washington were killed similarly to those in Los Angeles, Bianchi was immediately suspected of being one of the Hillside Stranglers.

The arrests and convictions of the Hillside Stranglers

As reported by ATI, authorities were further convinced Kenneth Bianchi was one of the Hillside Stranglers when they realized he moved to Washington State at the same time that the murders in Los Angeles abruptly stopped.

Biography reports Kenneth Bianchi admitted killing several women. However, he insisted that he was legally insane. Although it was never proven, or taken seriously by the court, Bianchi claimed he had multiple personality disorder.

Kenneth Bianchi implicated Angelo Buono as his accomplice when he realized he was facing capital punishment. He later made a deal with prosecutors, in which he admitted killing two women in Washington and five women in Los Angeles, per Biography. He further agreed to testify against his cousin in exchange for life in prison as opposed to the death penalty.

Angelo Buono vehemently denied involvement in any of the Hillside Strangler killings. As reported by History, he underlined the fact that no physical evidence tied him to any of the murders. Prosecutors argued that Buono was so meticulous that his fingerprints were not even present in his own home.

Biography reports Kenneth Bianchi was ultimately sentenced to serve six life terms. Angelo Buono was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As reported by History, Angelo Buono died in prison on September 21, 2002, at the age of 67. Kenneth Bianchi applied for, and was denied, parole in 2005. He is still alive and remains incarcerated.