Angelo Buono Jr. was convicted of one count of...


LOS ANGELES -- Angelo Buono Jr. was convicted of one count of murder Monday in the Hillside Strangler sex slayings, and the jury in the longest criminal trial in U.S. history continued deliberations in nine other killings.

Buono, a car upholsterer, was accused of posing as a policeman and joining his cousin, Kenneth Bianchi, in the grisly sex slayings of 10 young women and girls whose killings terrorized Los Angeles in the winter of 1977-78.


He sat impassively as the guilty verdict was announced, lowering his head and staring at the ground.

Jurors convicted Buono in the death of Lauren Wagner, 18, a business college student who was abducted less than a block from her parents' home in the San Fernando Valley as she returned from her boyfriend's house in November 1977.

A witness testified that she was pulled to the side of the street and driven away by two men, who she thought were policemen. Bianchi, who confessed to several of the slayings, told investigators that he and Buono first tried to electrocute her at his cousin's home in suburban Glendale, and when that failed they strangled her. Her bound, nude body was found the following day.


The seven-woman, five-man jury, which began its deliberations Oct. 20, announced the verdict six years and 13 days after the first Hillside Strangler victim, Yolanda Washington, was found dead.

Superior Court Judge Ronald George ordered the jury to resume deliberations Tuesday on the remaining nine counts. If convicted of more than one slaying, the jury will decide whether he should die in the gas chamber or spend the rest of his life in prison.

Defense attorney Gerald Chaleff said he was disappointed by the guilty verdict on the onecount, 'but we're encouraged by the fact the jury's deliberating each count separately.'

Prosecutor Roger Boren said his case was strongest in Miss Wagner's slaying and said he was pleased because 'the jury has convicted Angelo Buono as a murderer.'

The marathon proceedings have already become the longest criminal trial in U.S. history, and one of the costliest at an estimated $2 million.

The panel, which has been sequestered in a hotel during deliberations, alksions, reached its verdict after hearing 56,000 pages of testimony from 400 witnesses and examining 2,000 exhibits presented as evidence during the two-year trial. Jury selection began Nov. 16, 1981, and that process alone lasted three and a half months.


Buono, who was indicted in March 1980, still faces trial on 11 non-murder felony counts.

Nude bodies of the 10 victims, who ranged in age from 12 to 28, were found dumped on hillsides throughout the city.

Miss Washington, a 20-year-old prostitute, was killed Oct. 17, 1977. Judith Miller, a 15-year-old prostitute, was killed on Oct. 31 and Lissa Kastin, 21, a waitress and dancer, was killed Nov. 6. Their bodies were all found the day after their deaths.

Evelyn King, 28, an actress, was killed Nov. 9 and her body was not found until two weeks later. Two junior high girls, Dolores Cepeda, 12, and Sonja Johnson, 14, were killed Nov. 13 and their bodies were found near Dodger Stadium one week later.

The only victim not strangled was Kristina Weckler, 20, an art student who was gassed to death Nov. 19 and found dead the next day.

Following the death of Miss Wagner, the final two victims were Kimberly Martin, 17, a prostitute killed Dec. 13 and found the next day; and Cindy Lee Hudspeth, 20, a student killed Feb. 17 and found the same day.

During closing arguments, Boren described Buono and Bianchi as 'cool, crafty, cunning amoral animals.'


The defense case hinged on the credibility of Bianchi, who pleaded guilty to five of the Hillside Strangler murders and two similar slayings in Bellingham, Wash., then testified against Buono to avoid the death penalty.

Buono's attorneys contended Bianchi was a 'pathological liar,' and the district attorney sought to drop the murder charges in July 1981 after Bianchi recanted his confession and then retracted that testimony.

George ordered the trial to go forward and the state Attorney General's Office took over prosecution.

Besides Bianchi's testimony, prosecution evidence included:

-Carpet and upholstery fibers found on the bodies of Miss Wagner and another victim, which prosecutors claimed matched materials seized from Buono's house and shop.

-Testimony of Catharine Lorre, daughter of the late actor Peter Lorre, who claimed she was confronted by Buono and Bianchi posing as police officers in Hollywood.

-Testimony of Markust Camden who provided the only eyewitness account linking Buono with any of the victims. Defense attorneys claim Camden's statements were not credible because he gave information to authorities while confined in an Indiana mental hospital.

-Testimony of Jan Simms, who claimed she witnessed Buono and Bianchi trying to force a young woman into their car.

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