Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
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Monday, January 5, 2015
Hillside Strangler Angelo Buono was Sentenced to Prison - January 9, 1984
This week (January 5-11) in crime history – United Mine Worker’s
murders (January 5, 1970); Ice skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked (January 6,
994); Suzanne Degnan was kidnapped from her Chicago area home (January 7,
1946); Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot (January 8, 2011); Hillside
Strangler Angelo Buono was sentenced to life in prison (January 9, 1984); Old
west outlaw Frank James was born (January 10, 1843); Joran Van der Sloot admits
to Peru murder (January 11, 2012).
story of the week -
On January 9, 1984, Angelo Buono, one of the Hillside
Stranglers, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the rape, torture,
and murder of 10 young women in Los Angeles. Buono's cousin and partner in
crime, Kenneth Bianchi, testified against Buono to escape the death penalty. Buono,
a successful auto upholsterer, and Bianchi began their serial crime spree in
1977 when Bianchi moved from New York to live with his cousin. They started
talking about how the prostitutes that Buono often brought home would hardly be
missed by anyone if they disappeared. Idle speculation quickly led to action
and the pair raped and strangled their first victim, Yolanda Washington, on
Within a month Buono and Bianchi had attacked three other
women and developed a trademark method of operation. They picked up the women
in their van, drove them back to Buono's house where they were sexually
assaulted in all manners, tortured, and strangled to death. The duo then
thoroughly cleaned the bodies before taking and posing them in lascivious positions
on hillsides in the Los Angeles area, often near police stations. Thus, they
earned the nickname the "Hillside Strangler." The press assumed that
it was the work of one man.
Following the death of the 10th victim in February 1978,
the murders suddenly stopped. Buono and Bianchi were no longer getting along,
even with their common hobby. Bianchi moved to Washington and applied for a job
at the Bellingham Police Department. He didn't get the job, but became a
security guard instead. However, he couldn't keep his murderous impulses in
check and killed two college students. A witness who had seen the two girls
with Bianchi came forward and the case was solved.
Bianchi, who had seen the movies Sybil and The Three
Faces of Eve many times, suddenly claimed to have multiple personalities. He
blamed the murders on "Steve," one of his alternate personalities.
Psychiatrists examining Bianchi quickly dismissed his ruse and Bianchi then
confessed to the Hillside Strangler murders, testifying against Buono to avoid
the death penalty in Washington. During his trial, Buono fiercely insisted on
his innocence, pointing to the fact that there was no physical evidence tying
him to the crimes. Buono's house was so clean that investigators couldn't even
find Buono's own fingerprints in the home. But after more than 400 witnesses
testified, Buono was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the
possibility of parole. Angelo Buono died from a heart attack on September 21,
2002 at the age of 67. Kenneth Bianchi was denied parole in September 2005 and
remains in prison.
Check back every
Monday for a new installment of “This Week in Crime History.”
Michael Thomas Barry is a columnist for www.crimemagazine.com and is the author
of six nonfiction books that include the award winning Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949.
Visit his website www.michaelthomasbarry.com
for more information. His book can be purchased from Amazon through the following