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)
Calipatria State Prison, Calipatria, California
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's Biography, and on truTv's Crime Library website.


Bianchi and Buono would usually cruise around Los Angeles in Buono's car and using fake badges, persuaded women they were undercover police officers. The women and girls ages ranged from 12 to 28, and from various walks of life. They would then order the victims into Buono's car, which they claimed was an unmarked police car, and drive to Buono's home to torture and murder them. The victims were:

  • Yolanda Washington, age 19 – October 17, 1977
  • Judith Lynn Miller, age 15 – October 31, 1977
  • Lissa Kastin, age 21 – November 6, 1977
  • Jane King, age 28 – November 10, 1977
  • Dolores Cepeda, age 12 – November 13, 1977
  • Sonja Johnson, age 14 – November 13, 1977
  • Kristina Weckler, age 20 – November 20, 1977
  • Lauren Wagner, age 18 – November 29, 1977
  • Kimberely Martin, age 17 – December 9, 1977
  • Cindy Lee Hudspeth, age 20 – February 16, 1978

Both men would sexually abuse their victims before strangling them. They experimented with other methods of killing, such as lethal injection, electric shock, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Even while committing the murders, Bianchi applied for a job with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and had even been taken for several rides with police officers while they were searching for the Hillside Stranglers.

One night, shortly after they botched their would-be eleventh murder, Bianchi revealed to Buono he had participated in LAPD police ride-alongs, and that he was currently being questioned about the Hillside Stranglers case. Buono flew into a rage and threatened to kill Bianchi if he did not move to Bellingham, Washington. In May 1978, Bianchi moved to Bellingham.


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, death and aftermath[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.

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]