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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Hillside Stranglers

The Hillside Stranglers, Kenneth Alessio Bianchi and Angelo Buono, kidnapped, raped, tortured, and killed females from twelve to twenty-eight years old, in the hills above Los Angeles during over four-months from 1977 to 1978.

Kenneth Alessio Bianchi was born May 22, 1951 in Rochester, New York. At birth, his birth mother, a seventeen year old alcoholic prostitute gave him up for adoption.

ns Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi enjoyed killing Los Angeles women just for the thrill that they experienced during the process of torture and murder. Both men were natives of Rochester, N.Y.

Buono, who considered himself a dashing ladies man, at first persuaded his cousin to cavort with a number of women from various walks of life, often just bedding them for the night. Later, they became pimps to some of the women. However, their behavior soon escalated into holding the women as prisoners, and later into killing them. Many of the women's bodies were merely tossed like rubbish onto the hillsides around Los Angeles, except for two victims who were found in the trunk of a car that had been pushed over a cliff. Perhaps after their first kill, Buono and Bianchi decided that they enjoyed killing women and agreed that working together as a team would make the kidnappings and murders not only easier to commit but more difficult for the police to zero in on a suspect.
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Their murderous scheming was fairly simple. Buono frequently dressed as a police officer and carried a fake badge to gain their intended victim’s trust and persuade them to get inside his “unmarked police car.” After targeting a victim, Bianchi often assisted with the abduction and in bringing the victim to Buono's house. Locked inside a spare bedroom that Buono and Bianchi referred to as the torture chamber, the terrified women were strapped into a chair. At various intervals the women were raped repeatedly and penetrated with foreign objects, tortured, and ultimately strangled to death. With each successive victim, it seemed that the two cousins became more desensitized to the violence they were committing and as such became more callous and sadistic. As an example, they injected one young victim with cleaning fluid, then placed a plastic bag connected by a hose to the oven and gassed her to death. Yet another victim was tortured with electric shock and later strangled. Strangulation, however, proved to be their preferred method of murder.

Bianchi was ultimately convicted of killing the two Bellingham college students and was sentenced to life in prison.
As a result of Bianchi's testimony against him, Angelo Buono was convicted of nine murders attributed to the so-called Hillside Strangler and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. On Sept. 21, 2002, Buono, alone in his cell at Calipatria State Prison, died from an apparent heart attack.

Some time in 1977, the two men gave a ride to Catharine Lorre with the intent of killing her as well. However, when they discovered that Catharine was the daughter of Hungarian actor Peter Lorre, famous for his role as a child murderer in Fritz Lang's masterpiece film M, they let her go without incident. She didn't realize who the men were until they were arrested.

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