The serial killers terrorized Los Angeles in the late 1970s, killing 10 women

By Steve Helling
April 28, 2017 05:26 PM
Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono
Bettman/Getty; Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty

The case of the Hillside Strangler confounded California police in the in the late 1970s. At least 10 women and girls were raped and murdered in the Hollywood Hills — and the entire city was on edge.

But the case had a Hollywood-style twist when the killers turned out to be two cousins working in tandem. 

Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono were apprehended in 1979 and later convicted of kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering ten females ranging from 12 to 28 years old.  They were sentenced to life in prison.  Buono died in jail in 2002 at age 67. Bianchi, 65, is serving his sentence in Walla Walla, Washington.

The case drew international headlines and sparked several films, including a 2004 movie starring Nicholas Turturro and C. Thomas Howell.

Nearly four decades later, the Reelz channel revisits the grisly case of the Hillside Stranglers in its docuseries, Murder Made Me Famous – and the show speaks to several key players in the case who do not ordinarily give interviews.

On the show, former LAPD Detective Bob Grogan recalls the terror the case caused in Southern California and becomes emotional when thinking about what the victims endured.

“I’m talking 40 years ago and I still get emotional about it,” Grogan tells the show. “They were two animals in charge. They could do whatever they wanna do and get away with it. That’s how they looked at it.”

While recalling one of the victims who was strapped to a chair, Grogan still gets visibly angry. “I can’t imagine what it’d been like to be sitting in that [expletive] chair in Buono’s house and going through this crap,” he says.

Grogan was also one of the first authorities to suspect that the “Hillside Strangler” was two men, not one. “We felt that this was a two-man operation,” he said. “The bodies [were] being carried to point A to point B, it would’ve taken two to do it.”

When Grogan helped arrest Bianchi, they had to transport him in a private airplane to avoid the crush of the reporters and cameras. “The intensity in the media was, uh, almost like Donald Trump’s election,” Grogan says. “The media had gone crazy.”

Murder Made Me Famous combines reenactments, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen photos and video to tell the story of infamous murderers. The show is hosted by PEOPLE Senior Writer Steve Helling.

The Hillside Stranglers episode airs Saturday (8 p.m. ET) on the Reelz Channel.