Born: Wed January 8, 1947
Born in: Willimantic, Connecticut, United States
Country: United States
AKA(s): The Freeway Killer
Birth Name: William George Bonin
William George Bonin was an American serial killer and was a sex offender that was paroles twice. He is also known as "The Freeway Killer" and he shares that name with two other serial killers, Patrick Kearney and Randy Steven Kraft, who was not affiliated with him. He was known as "The Freeway Killer" because the majority of his victims were found alongside the freeways in Southern California. He raped, tortured and murdered at least 21 boys and young men between 1979 and 1980 in southern California. He was suspected of murdering 15 people and was convicted of 14 of those murders. He was executed on February 23, 1996.
William was born on January 8, 1947 in Connecticut to alcoholic parents. His father was an alcoholic that was addicted to gambling and his mother; Alice was an alcoholic also. His parents would leave William’s convicted child molester grandfather to take care of him and his two brothers. The neighbors often fed William and his brothers as their parents neglected them often. William was six years old in 1953 when he was placed in an orphanage. He was out of the orphanage when he was nine years old and soon after encountered problems with the law. He was arrested for stealing license plates at the age of ten and was sent to a juvenile detention center. William started to molest young kids when he was released from the juvenile detention center and living with his mother again.
William graduated high school in 1965 and got engaged. He then joined the U.S. Air Force and served as an aerial gunner in the Vietnam War. He logged over 700 hours of combat and patrol time and earned a Good Conduct Medal. He risked his life when under attack/fire to save his fellow soldiers life in the Vietnam War. William later admitted to sexually assaulting two soldiers at gunpoint. He was then honorably discharged in October 1968 from the U.S. Air Force.
1968, November 17 - William was 21 years old when he sexually assaulted a youth.
Late 1968 - early 1969 - William kidnapped four young individuals between the ages of 12-18 and assaulted them.
1969 - William pleaded guilty and was convicted on five counts of kidnapping and four counts of sexual assault on five youths. He was found guilty of molestation and forced oral copulation. He was sentenced to the Atascadero State Hospital to be treated as a mentally disordered sexual offender.
1971 - William was sent to prison after he did not want any more treatment.
1974, May - William was released after doctors evaluation stated that William was "no longer a danger to others."
1975, September - William was charged with raping 14-year-old hitchhiker, David McVicker at gunpoint and trying to kidnap another teenager. He was sentenced to serve 1-15 years in California Men’s Facility prison in San Luis Obispo.
1978, October 11 - William was once again released from prison with 18 month’s probation. William soon met factory worker and magician Vernon Butts (22 years old) at his neighbor Everett Fraser (43) party. He also met Texas native, Gregory Miley, who was 19 years old.
William chooses young males between the age of 12-19 who are hitchhikers, school boys or male prostitutes. He would either lure them or forced them into his Chevrolet van. He would then bound their hand and feet with handcuffs, wires or cord and then sexually assault, torture and kill them by strangling them with their own T-shirts. He did stab and beat some of his victims to death. He forced Darin Kendrick to drink hydrochloric acid, push two ice-picks through two of his victim’s ears, and killed Mark Shelton with shock. He killed the majority of his victims in his van and tossed them on the side of various freeways in Southern California.
1979, May 28 - He murdered hitchhiker Thomas Glen Lundgren (13 years old) by bludgeoning his face and head, slashing his throat, emasculation, stabbing and strangling him to death. Authorities found Thomas’ body later that evening and suspected that William had an accomplice. His accomplice was Vernon Butts, who was believed to be committing eight other murders with William.
1979, Summer - He was arrested for molesting a 17-year-old boy in Dana Point. He violated his parole conditions and should have been imprisoned. Everett Fraser picked William up from the jail because he was not being imprisoned due to an administrative error. William told Everett on the way from the Orange County Jail that "No one’s going to testify again. This is never going to happen to me again."
1979, August 4 - William and Vernon kidnapped Mark Shelton (17 years old) from Westminster while he was walking to a movie theater near Beach Boulevard. They violated Mark’s body with foreign objects causing him to go into a shock. They then put his body in San Bernardino County.
1979, August 5 - William and Vernon kidnapped hitchhiker West German student, Markus Grabs (17 years old) on the Pacific Coast Highway. They bounded him with orange ignition wire and took him to Williams home. They then sodomized, beat and stabbed him 77 times before they put his body on the side of the Malibu freeway.
1979, August 27 - William and Vernon kidnapped Donald Ray Hyden (15 years old) in Hollywood, California. He was last seen walking at 1 a.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard, and his body was found in a dumpster on that same morning near the Ventura Freeway. He died from being strangled, stabbed in his neck, stabbed on his genitalia and bludgeoned on his skull.
1979, September 9 - William and Vernon lured David Murillo (17 years old) while he was cycling to a movie theater into their van. They then tied him up, raped, strangled and bludgeoned him to death. They dumped his body on the side of Highway 101.
1979, September 17 - William and Vernon kidnapped Robert Wirostek (18 years old) while he was on his way to work at a grocery store near Newport Beach. Roberts body was found on the side of Interstate 10 Highway on September 19.
1979, November - William and Vernon kidnapped an unidentified young person who was estimated to being about 19 years old. They kidnapped him on or about November 29 and savagely beat and strangling him to death. They dumped his body in Kern County.
1979, November 30 - William kidnapped Frank Dennis Fox (17 years old) and strangled him to death. Authorities found Frank’s naked body two days later on the side of a highway five miles east of San Diego.
1979, December 10 - William kidnapped John Kilpatrick (15 years old) from Long Beach after he left his parents’ home to meet his friends. William strangled John to death and dumped his body in a remote area of Rialto.
1980, January 1 - William kidnapped Michael Francis McDonald (16 years old) and brutally strangled him to death. He then dumped Michael’s body in San Bernardino County.
1980, February 3 - William and Gregory Matthews Miley kidnapped hitchhiker Charles Miranda (15 years old) on Santa Monica Boulevard. He raped, assaulted him with other objects, and then strangled him to death as Gregory jumped on Charles’s chest repeatedly. They dumped his body in an alleyway. William told Gregory "I’m horny, let’s go and do another one."
1980, February 3 - William and Gregory kidnapped and raped James Macabe (12 years old) a few hours later in Huntington Beach. They then strangled James with his own T-shirt to death and dumped his body in a dumpster in Walnut City.
1980, March 14 - William kidnapped Ronald Gatlin (18 years old) and raped. beat, sodomized, deep ice pick wounds through his ear and neck and then strangled Ronald with a ligature to death. Authorities found his body on March 15 Duarte City.
1980, March 21 - William lured Glenn Barker (14 years old) into his van as he was on his way school. He raped, beat and strangled Glenn with a ligature to death.
1980, March 21 - William kidnapped Russell Rugh (15 years old) at 4 p.m. from a bus stop in Garden Grove. He tied up Russell, beat him and then strangled him to death. He dumped the body on the side of Glenn Barker in Cleveland National Forest.
1980, March 24 - William and William Pugh kidnapped runaway Harry Todd Turner (15 years old) from a Los Angeles street. William Pugh said they lured Harry into their vehicle by offering him $20 for sex. They then bound him, sodomized, biting him, bludgeoned, beat him and strangled him to death with his own T-shirt. They then dumped his body in a Los Angeles alleyway.
1980, April 10 - William kidnapped Steven Wood (16 years old), raped him and then killed him. He dumped his body beside the Pacific Coast Highway.
1980, April 10 - William kidnapped Lawrence Sharp (18 years old) two hours after killing Steven Wood. He beat, strangled Lawrence to death before dumping his body in Westminster gas station.
1980, April 29 - William and Vernon Butts lured supermarket employee Darin Kendrick (19 years old) into their van at the store parking lot. They then forced him to drink hydrochloric acid, drove an ice pick into his ear and dumped his body near the Artesia Freeway.
1980, May 19 - William kidnapped Sean King (14 years old) from a bus stop in Downey and molested him before killing him. He then dumped the body in Yucaipa.
1980,May 28 - William invited homeless drifter James Munro (19 years old) to live with him in his apartment, and James accepted. James went on to working at the Williams job, Montebello delivery firm. James described William as being "a good guy; really normal."
1980, June 2 - Detective St. John assigned a surveillance team to monitor Williams’ movements after his friend William Pugh confided William may be behind the killings. The counselor reported William Pugh’s confession to the police who then told LAPD homicide sergeant named John St. John. They came to a conclusion that William Bonin is The Freeway Killer.
1980, June 2 - The surveillance on William Bonin began.
1980, June 2 - William and James Munro lured print shop worker Steven Jay Wells (18 years old) into their van while he was at the bus stop on El Segundo Boulevard. They took him to Williams apartment and raped, beat and then strangled him to death with his own T-shirt. William put Steven’s body in a cardboard box that they put in the van. They went to ask Vernon Butts on how they can dispose of the body. James said that Vernon told William to discard the body by: "‘Try a gas station like’ or ‘where’ - I don’t know which - ‘we dumped the last one.’"
1980, June 11 - William Bonin was arrested after police followed him. He tried to pick up five separate boys but only lured one into his van. Police followed him until he was parked in an isolated parking lot and arrested him while he was assaulting Harold T (15 years old). James Munro stole William’s car after Williams arrest and drove to Michigan.
William was charged with 12 murders in Los Angeles County for the bodies of his victims that were found. Deputy District Attorney Stirling Norris asked on November 5, 1981 for William to receive the death penalty for each count of murder. Deputy Stirling said "We will prove he is the Freeway Killer, as he has bragged to a number of witnesses. We will show you that he enjoyed the killings. Not only did he enjoy it, and plan to enjoy it, he had an insatiable demand, an insatiable appetite - not only for sodomy, but for killing." William was linked to several murders by blood, semen, hair and carpet fibers. Gregory and James Munro testified against William at his trial. Gregory stated that William "He had a total disregard for the sanctity of human life. Sadistic, unbelievably cruel, senseless and deliberately premeditated. Guilty beyond any possible or imaginary doubt."
Los Angeles County Judge William Steele sentenced William on January 5, 1982 to death for ten murders. He was cleared of the murders of Thomas Lundgren because he denied killing him and Sean King because he led police to his body in December 1980 with an agreement that he would not be charged for the murder. He was on trial in March, 1983 in Orange County murdering victims between November 1979 and April 1980. He was convicted of all four murders on August 26, 1983. He spent 14 years on California’s Death Row while waiting for execution in the gas chamber. The State of California opted to use lethal injection in 1992 instead of execution by the gas chamber because they said the gas chamber is a "cruel and unusual" execution.
William Bonin was executed by lethal injection in the gas chamber on February 23, 1996 at San Quentin State Prison after being in prison for 16 years. William was the first person in California to be executed by lethal injection.
He ordered his last meal to be two large pizzas, three pints of ice cream and three six-packs of Coke. He left a note that said: “I feel the death penalty is not an answer to the problems at hand. I feel it sends the wrong message to the people of this country. Young people act as they see other people acting instead of as people tell them to act. I would advise that when a person has a thought of doing anything serious against the law, that before they did, they should go to a quiet place and think about it seriously. ”
Vernon Butts was accused of being William accomplice in nine murders. He hanged himself on January 11, 1981 with a towel while awaiting trial.
James Michael Munro was sentenced to 15 years to life Mule Creek State Prison on April 6, 1981 for second-degree murder of Steven Wells.
William Pugh was sentenced to six-year in prison on May 17m 1982 for voluntary manslaughter on Harry Todd Turner.
Gregory Miley was sentenced to 25 years to life at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran for the murder of Charles Miranda on February 5, 1982.
Movie: Freeway Killer (2010) was released by Image Entertainment. The movie is based on the murders committed by Bonin and his accomplices.
Bibliography: Bonin, William (1991). Doing Time: Stories from the Mind of a Death Row Prisoner. Red Bluff, Calif.: Eagle Publishing.
Famous Killers: William George Bonin "The Freeway Killer"
Serial Killers: Famous Serial Killers List.