LOS ANGELES -- The Hillside Strangler case, the longest criminal trial in U.S. history, concluded with Angelo Buono Jr. sentenced to life in prison and his confessed accomplice, Kenneth Bianchi, ordered to serve his prison term in Washington state.
Bianchi was transported today from the Los Angeles County Jail, where he was held during Buono's two-year trial, to Walla Walla prison in Washington.
Superior Court Judge Ronald George concluded Buono's two-year trial Monday by saying the killers 'should never see the outside' of a cell and should never be paroled.
'In view of the jury's mercy, I am of course without authority to impose greater punishment,' the judge said. 'I would not have the slightest reluctance to impose the death penalty. If there ever was a case for which the death penalty was appropriate, it is this case.'
Buono, 49, was convicted of the torture-murders of nine young women that terrorized the city in the winter of 1977-78.
Jurors, saying a death sentence would be 'too good' for Buono, decided on life in prison.
The former Glendale, Calif., auto upholsterer was sentenced to nine concurrent terms of life without possibility of parole.
Bianchi, 32, a former security guard who testified against Buono to escape the death penalty, was sentenced in 1979 to life in prison after he confessed to five of the Hillside Stranglings and two murders in Bellingham, Wash. He ws sentenced to two consecutive life terms without possibility of parole in Washington and five concurrent life sentences for the Los Angeles murders.
Finding that Bianchi did not testify truthfully and completely while on the witness stand for 80 days, George ordered Bianchi to serve his sentence in Washington instead of California, which he had bargained for.
The judge said Buono and Bianchi, his adoptive cousin, 'terrorized this city, praying on it like the ultimate of evil spirits.'
The killers used 'every form of legalized execution' in the murders, gassing and electrocuting some of their victims before raping and strangling them, the judge said. The nude bodies of the women -- ages 12 to 28 -- were found strewn on hillsides in the Los Angeles area.
Defense attorney Gerald Chaleff said he still believes Buono is innocent and will appeal, adding the appellate process 'could take years.'
While Bianchi was jailed in Bellingham, Wash., in 1979 for strangling two university coeds, he confessed to the Los Angeles slayings and provided a break in the investigation that led to Buono's arrest.
Bianchi told authorities that he and Buono posed as police officers and searched out their victims mostly in Hollywood for the killings which occurred between October 1977 and February 1978.