Rochester has a dark history when it comes to serial killers. At least six have ties to our city. Forty years ago this week, one of them began a string of murders in California, becoming one of the most notorious serial killers in America. Kenneth Bianchi -- known to most as "The Hillside Strangler" -- grew up in Rochester. Here is our news partner, News10NBC's exclusive report:

Rochester has a dark history when it comes to serial killers. At least six have ties to our city.

Forty years ago this week, one of them began a string of murders in California, becoming one of the most notorious serial killers in America.

Kenneth Bianchi -- known to most as "The Hillside Strangler" -- grew up in Rochester and recently I exchanged emails with him. The deaths in the late 1970s struck terror in the people of Los Angeles and gripped the entire nation.

Ten girls and women raped, tortured and strangled -- their bodies dumped in the Hollywood Hills. The connection to Rochester would not be known for several months until the arrest of Kenneth Bianchi.

Rochester's killers: Kenneth Bianchi denies being 'The Hillside Strangler'

"I can't find the words to express the sorrow I feel for what I've done," Bianchi said at the time.

Now nearly four decades later, Bianchi is reaching out. Allowed to send an occasional email from prison, I recently heard from the man known as "The Hillside Strangler." And despite pleading guilty to five of the murders in California and two others in Washington state, Bianchi is adamant that he didn't kill anyone.

"I am not the Hillside Strangler," he writes. He calls his arrest and conviction, a "miscarriage of justice." And he believes "the story the residents of Rochester should hear is that a native son raised by loving parents was "arrested," "tortured," and "hypnotized," which resulted in "false confessions," and a guilty plea "under duress."

"You look at someone like Kenneth Bianchi," says Clint Van Zandt, "number one, this guy is a stone cold psychopath."

Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI agent who was assigned to Rochester in the 70s and 80s. A criminal profiler, he examined many serial murder cases, and he doesn't put much stock in Bianchi's cries of innocence.

"24 hours a day, all he has time to do is figure out who he can potentially con, lie, convince that he's not the horrible monster that he is," says Van Zandt.

Bianchi was born in Rochester and moved to Gates as a child, living with his adoptive parents.

"We had a lot of experience, unfortunately, looking at serial offender cases in essence, serial arsons, serial burglaries, serial rapes," said Van Zandt. "And unfortunately, serial murders -- of which there were obviously a number that took place either in Rochester or the killers passed through Rochester."

Rochester has a dark connection to serial killers. In fact, raised here and later buried here in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery is Francis Tumblety -- suspected by many to be Jack the Ripper.

There was also Joel Rifkin who spent a year at SUNY Brockport long before he murdered and dismembered as many as 17 women in New York City and Long Island. But Rochester's most notable serial killer is, of course, Arthur Shawcross.

"People were dying. People were dying and that's not fun, particularly when you don't know who it is for a long time," says Lynde Johnston, retired Rochester police captain.

Johnston led the investigation into the mysterious murders of 11 prostitutes in the late 1980s. Shawcross was captured when a police helicopter spotted him having lunch in his car on a bridge -- returning to where he had dumped one of the bodies.

"I just personally think that he got enjoyment out of it. He wouldn't admit that," says Johnston. "He always claimed that they, the victims, did something to anger him."

And then there is the case of the unsolved Double Initial, or Alphabet Murders in Rochester. Three young girls, each whose first and last names started with the same letter, murdered around Rochester between 1971 and 1973.

Bianchi lived here at the time. Police still consider him a possible suspect.

In his email, Bianchi acknowledges his "name being forever associated with the ... Alphabet Murders..."

He writes, "No doubt you will run footage associating me with the Alphabet case although I could not be more innocent, and of course the West Coast cases, of which I am factually innocent."

We showed the Bianchi emails to Johnston. "I think he's just promoting his own self, trying to manipulate people. They clamor to have the attention," the retired police captain told us.

Whatever the case, Bianchi remains forever linked to Rochester's evil side and its unexplainable association with serial crimes.

"For some it's a game," says Van Zandt. "For some it's just a path that they've taken, but the bottom line is many times that path doesn't stop 'til a police officer puts handcuffs on them."

There is another Rochester man who was suspected of killing prostitutes in Rochester in the early 1990s, but he died before police made an arrest. As for Bianchi, in these emails, he claims there is forensic evidence that proves his innocence and says he is working with a filmmaker in England to expose the truth.

He is eligible for parole in 2025.