Angelo Buono, Jr.

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Angelo Buono, Jr.
Angelo Buono.jpg
Born Angelo Anthony Buono, Jr.
(1934-10-05)October 5, 1934
Rochester, New York
Died September 21, 2002(2002-09-21) (aged 67)
Cause of death
Heart attack
Other names The Hillside Strangler
Criminal penalty
Life imprisonment without Parole
Conviction(s) 9 counts of Murder in the first degree
Failure to pay child support
Grand theft auto
Victims 10
Span of killings
October 16, 1977–February 16, 1978
Country USA
State(s) California
Date apprehended
October 22, 1979

Angelo Anthony Buono, Jr. (October 5, 1934 – September 21, 2002) was an American serial killer, kidnapper and rapist. Buono and his cousin Kenneth Bianchi together are known as the Hillside Stranglers.[1]

Early life[edit]

Buono was born in Rochester, New York to first generation Italian-American emigrants from San Buono, Italy. In the time leading to the killings, Buono had already developed a long criminal history, ranging from failure to pay child support and grand theft auto to assault and rape. In 1975, when Buono was 41, he came into contact with his cousin, Kenneth Bianchi.[2]

A self-described "ladies' man", Buono persuaded Bianchi to join him in prostituting two women, holding them as virtual prisoners. In late 1977, the pair began killing other women as well, claiming 10 documented victims by the time they were arrested in early 1979. Buono was also said to have made women refer to him as "The Italian Stallion"; this has been reported on several television shows, including the Investigation Discovery show Deranged and A&E Television Network's Biography, and on truTv's Crime Library website.


The legal case against Buono was based largely upon Bianchi's testimony. Deciding that Bianchi was an unreliable and uncooperative witness, the case's original prosecutors from Los Angeles County District Attorney John Van de Kamp's office moved to dismiss all charges against Buono and set him free.

The presiding judge, Ronald M. George (future Chief Justice of California), denied the motion to dismiss. He refused to release Buono, and he reassigned the case to California Attorney General George Deukmejian's office.

Buono's trial would become the longest in American legal history, lasting from November 1981 until November 1983. The trial lasted so long that Deukmejian was elected Governor and Van de Kamp was elected to succeed Deukmejian as Attorney General, so the Van de Kamp-led Attorney General's office won the case that the Van de Kamp-led District Attorney's office had declared unwinnable. During the trial, Bianchi, in exchange for a lighter sentence, testified against Buono. The jury convicted Buono on nine counts of murder.

The jury sentenced Buono to life imprisonment, with Judge George commenting that he felt a death sentence would have been the appropriate punishment.

Prison sentence and death[edit]

In 1986, Buono married Christine Kizuka, a mother of three and a supervisor at the California State Employment Development Department.[3]

Buono was found dead on September 21, 2002 at Calipatria State Prison. Buono, who was alone in his cell at the time of his death, had died of a heart attack.

Following death[edit]

In 2007, Buono's grandson, Christopher Buono, committed suicide shortly after shooting his grandmother, Mary Castillo, in the head. Castillo was at one time married to Angelo Buono, and had five children with him, including Chris' father.[4][5] Chris Buono was unaware of his grandfather's true identity until 2005.

In the 1989 film The Case of the Hillside Stranglers, Buono was portrayed by actor Dennis Farina. In the 2004 film The Hillside Strangler, Buono was portrayed by actor Nicholas Turturro and in Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders (2006), he was played by Tomas Arana.


External links[edit]