The serial killer known as the “Hillside Strangler”, Kenneth Bianchi, while actively murdering women was also applying to join the ranks of the LAPD and attended several ride alongs with police officers who were searching for the Hillside Strangler
“Bianchi and Buono would usually cruise around Los Angeles in Buono’s car and use fake badges to persuade girls that they were undercover cops. Their victims were women and girls aged 12 to 28 from various walks of life. They would then order the girls into Buono’s “”unmarked police car”” and drive them home to torture and murder them.
Yolanda Washington, age 19 – October 17, 1977
Judith Ann 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 Strangler.
One night, shortly after they botched their would-be eleventh murder, Bianchi revealed to Buono he had attended LAPD police ride alongs, and that he was currently being questioned about the strangler case. After hearing this, Buono erupted in a fit of rage. An argument ensued, and at one point Buono threatened to kill Bianchi if he did not flee to Bellingham, Washington. In May 1978, he did flee to Bellingham.
On January 11, 1979, working as a security guard, Bianchi lured two female students into a house he was guarding. The women were 22-year-old Karen Mandic and 27-year-old Diane Wilder, both students at Western Washington University. He forced the first student down the stairs in front of him and then strangled her. He murdered the second woman in a similar fashion. Without help from his partner, he left many clues and police apprehended him the next day. A California driver’s license and a routine background check linked him to the addresses of two Hillside Strangler victims.
Following his arrest, Bianchi admitted he and Buono, in 1977, while posing as police officers, stopped a young female by the name of Catharine Lorre with intentions of abducting and killing her. But after learning she was the daughter of actor Peter Lorre, they let her go. Only after he was arrested did Catharine learn of the true identity of the men whom she encountered.
At his trial, Bianchi pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming that another personality, one “”Steve Walker””, had committed the crimes. Bianchi even convinced a few expert psychiatrists that he indeed suffered from multiple personality disorder, but investigators brought in their own psychiatrists, mainly Martin Orne. When Orne mentioned to Bianchi that in genuine cases of the disorder, there tends to be three or more personalities, Bianchi promptly created another alias, “”Billy””. Eventually, investigators discovered that the name “”Steven Walker”” came from a student whose identity Bianchi had previously attempted to steal for the purpose of fraudulently practicing psychology. Police also found a small library of books in Bianchi’s home on topics of modern psychology, further indicating his ability to fake the disorder. Once his claims were subjected to this scrutiny, Bianchi eventually admitted that he had been faking the disorder. He was eventually diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder with sexual sadism.
To acquire leniency, Bianchi agreed to testify against Buono. However, in giving his testimony, Bianchi made every effort to be as uncooperative and self-contradictory as possible, apparently hoping to avoid being the ultimate cause of Buono being convicted. In the end, Bianchi’s efforts were unsuccessful, as Buono was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
In 1980, Bianchi began a relationship with Veronica Compton, a woman he had met while in prison. During his trial, she testified for the defense, telling the jury a false, vague tale about the crimes in an attempt to exculpate Bianchi and also admitting to wanting to buy a mortuary with another convicted murderer for the purpose of necrophilia. She was later convicted and imprisoned for attempting to strangle a woman she had lured to a motel in an attempt to convince authorities that the Hillside Strangler was still on the loose. Bianchi had given her some smuggled semen to use to make it look like a rape/murder committed by the Hillside Strangler.
Bianchi is serving his sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Washington.
He was denied parole on August 18, 2010 by a state board in Sacramento (according to Los Angeles County district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons). He will be eligible to apply for parole again in 2025.”