The Hillside Strangler
In this episode of 'Born to Kill', narrator, Christopher Slade, orates' the ghastly life and times of
killing cousins -- The Hillside Strangler. Now to aide Christopher's narration,
on display there's stock-photography, archived footage, location scouting, as
well as one and one interviews with people who were familiar with this
murderous event. Like, Former Detectives: Frank Salerno, Terry Magan, and Bob
Grogan; Humanitarian: Doctor Lois Lee; Prosecuting Attorney: Roger Boren;
Author: Ted Schwartz; Criminal Experts: Helen Morrison and Louis Schlesinger;
plus an Acquaintance: Sharon Reese.
What now follows is a basic overlay of how this program plays out:
is the Hillside Strangler? This
was the name the press gave to the two cousins' who kidnapped, beaten, and killed, ten women living in the
Los Angelesarea of California, between the years 1977 and 1979. On a side note, two additional victims were attributed to this series of murders in as well. Washington State
- Who were these cousins?
Alessio Bianchi was born in
, on Rochester, New York the 22nd of May, 1952. Now his mother was an unnamed prostitute who gave him up for adoption when he was only two weeks old. Moreover, when the over-caring local family -- called the Bianchi's -- adopted Kenneth at the tender age of three months, from then on in, his life was one roller-coaster ride full of illness, theft, compulsive lying, betrayal, and ultimately, murder.
Buono Junior was born in
, on Rochester, New York the 5th of October, 1934. Now prior to meeting up with his cousin, Kenneth -- in 1975 -- he already built up a long track record in criminal behavior. This included such activities as grand theft auto, assault, rape, and failure to pay child support to his then wife, Mary, and their five children.
- Who did they kill?
Washington -- aged 19 years -- died on
the 17th of October, 1977
Ann Miller -- aged 15 -- died on
the 31st of October, 1977
Kastin -- aged 21 -- died on
the 6th of November, 1977
King -- aged 28 -- died on
the 10th of November, 1977
Cepeda and Sonja Johnson -- aged 14 and 12 respectively -- died on
the 13th of November, 1977
Weckler -- aged 20 -- died on
the 20th of November, 1977
Wagner -- aged 18 -- died on
the 29th of November, 1977
Martin -- aged 17 -- died on
the 9th of December, 1977
Lee Hudspeth -- aged 20 -- died on
the 16th of February, 1978
Mandic and Diane Wilder -- aged 14 and 12 respectively -- died on
the 11th of January, 1979.
was their modus operandi? (1) Both
Bianchi and Buono would cruise around
Los Angelesin their car, and use fake badges to trick their intended victims into thinking they were undercover police officers. (2) Once they safely got their victim' inside Buono's garage, they would sexually abuse and torture them, before strangling them to death. (3) Occasionally they'd experiment with their method of killing, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, lethal injection, or electric shock treatment. And (4) Provocatively they'd place their victim's naked dead bodies in an open area for the authorities to find.
- How did
they get caught? After failing to kidnap the daughter of famed actor, Pete
Lorre -- Catharine -- the cousins decided to part ways, with Buono staying
California, and Bianchi taking a job as a security guard in . However, Bianci's name suddenly came under the police's raider when the dead bodies of Cindy and Karen were found nearby, prompting them to haul him into custody, and then force him to tell the truth. Washington State
Now when I normally watch an episode of 'Born to Kill', I always try to keep my 'thinking hat on', and not become over emotional about who done what to whom and for why. Granted, in the past I've been really crap at doing just that [click here for an illustration of what I mean]. But this time -- with the Hillside Strangers -- no, I've managed to keep myself in check, due to certain hypothesized similarities I've noticed between their crimes and 'Jack the Rippers' [ditto].
Well, both 'Saucy Jack' and this murderous double act, have quite a few things in common don't you know. For example: (1) They're perverse hatred for women. (2) The way they terrorized the local populous with their crimes. (3) How they almost taunted the police by parading their victims dead bodies for all to see. (4) How they chose their victims based on location and gender. And (5) They're pathological and delusional tendencies whilst killing.
OK, I know I could go on, and surmise that Jack could have been two men instead of one -- as this would most probably explain certain discrepancies with his own particular crimes. But I won't. No. I'm sure this would then take me off on a tangent, whisking away my thoughts on Bianchi and Buono.
You see, there were two very important questions 'Born To Kill? The Hollywood Hillside Strangler' poses, which I would like to try and answer myself:
2) Does nurture outshine nature? At the tail end of this documentary, there was a section in it which implied Bianchi and Buono became the murderous that they were, all because of their troubled childhood's. Granted, to a degree, I agree with this statement -- nurture does enhance nature at times. However, in the same breath, I'm sure there were millions of other people in the same shoes Bianchi and Buono where in, and they never killed for the sake of killing!
Ex Detective, Bob Grogen, said it the best I think -- elaborating that either part of this 'living weapon' would have suddenly become volatile one way or another. Also, Doctor Lois Lee and Helen Morrison confirmed Bob's stance -- stating that all it took was a counterpoint to substantiate the act of murder in both cases.
Still, women are dead, criminal's are caught, all that matters now is that society learns from this crime, and tries to prevent is from happening again in the future.
'Nothing has changed in
since then' -- Ex-Detective, Frank Salerno -- Say no more.