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Strangler's grandson shoots his grandmother, kills self

January 20, 2007|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A 20-year-old grandson of the notorious Hillside Strangler, whose gruesome murders of girls and women terrorized Los Angeles in the 1970s, shot and wounded his grandmother before killing himself, police said Friday.

Christopher Buono of Fullerton died about 11:15 a.m. Thursday at Yorba Linda Patio and Hearth, in the 3900 block of Prospect Avenue, after shooting Mary Castillo, 67, in the head and upper body.

She was taken to a hospital and was in stable condition late Friday, said Lt. John Burks of the Brea Police Department, which patrols Yorba Linda.

Castillo, also of Fullerton, was once married to Angelo Buono, who with his adoptive cousin, Kenneth Bianchi, was convicted in a brutal string of kidnappings, rapes and torture killings during a four-month period of 1977 and 1978. The crimes became known as the "Hillside Strangler" slayings because the victims' bodies were dumped on hillsides throughout Los Angeles.

Bianchi pleaded guilty to five of the murders and testified against Buono, who was convicted of nine slayings and sentenced to life in prison. He died of a heart attack in 2002. Bianchi remains in prison.

Buono and Castillo had a son, who is Christopher's father.

Burks said there were no witnesses to Thursday's shootings, and police later recovered a handgun from the site. The motive for the attack is under investigation, he said.

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david.haldane@latimes.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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