The Hillside Stranglers was the name given to a pair of cousins, Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi, who were responsible for the rape/murder/torture of 10 young women in the Los Angeles
area in 1977
Buono, who ran a successful auto upholstery shop, and Bianchi, his cousin from New York, started their serial killing in 1977. It seems they had some conversations regarding the prostitutes that they often brought home would not be missed if they "disappeared". Their conversations soon led to action and in October of 1977, they picked up one Elissa Kastin in their van, raped and strangled her, and then dumped her body on a hillside in Glendale, California.
Within a month, the cousins had attacked three other women and developed their trademark. Their modus operandi was to pick up women in their van, drive them back to Buono's house, assualt them sexually and strangle them to death. They then thoroughly cleaned the bodies and took them to hillsides in the Los Angeles area. There they posed them lewd positions, often near police stations. Hence the name "Hillside Stranglers". The press at the time assumed it was the work of one man.
After the death of the 10th victim in February of 1978, the murders suddenly stopped. It seems Buono and Bianchi had had a falling out. Bianchi wound up moving to Washington where he applied for a job with the police department. He didn't get the job and wound up as a security guard instead. It was there that he murdered two college students and was identified by witnesses.
Bianchi, who had read Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve numerous times in his life, claimed to have multiple personalities. He blamed the murders on "Steve", one of his alternate personalities. Psychiatrists who examined Bianchi dimissed his claim and he then confessed to the Hillside Strangler murders and implicated his cousin, Angelo, in order to avoid the death penalty in Washington.
During Buono's trial, he insisted on his innocence. He pointed to the fact that there was no physical evidence tying him to the crimes. Investigators who examined Bouno's house, where the murders took place, could not even find his own fingerprints in the house. After the testimony of over 400 witnesses, Bouno was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Bianchi on the other hand, in return for his testimony against his cousin, avoided the death penalty in Washinton and will be eligible for parole in 2005.