Despite the trial commencing in November 1981, numerous pre-trial motions delayed any real progress until May 1982. The mountain of forensic evidence, and the number of victims served to slow proceedings, causing the case to drag on for almost two years. Bianchi tried his best to hamper proceedings, proving a reluctant witness, and making deliberately contradictory statements, causing the judge to threaten to rescind his plea bargain.
The jury were largely unimpressed with Bianchi’s efforts and, on 31 October 1983, Buono was found guilty of 9 counts of murder, and Bianchi of the five murder charges that he had pleaded guilty to. The jury also sentenced Buono to life in prison, without parole, rather than to the death penalty, and Bianchi was sentenced to 118 years in prison.