William Bonin

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William Bonin
1980 mugshot of William Bonin.
Born January 8, 1947
Willimantic, Connecticut, United States
Died February 23, 1996(1996-02-23) (aged 49)
San Quentin, California, United States
Cause of death Lethal injection
Other names The Freeway Killer
Criminal penalty Death
Conviction(s) First-degree murder
Victims 21–36+
Span of killings
May 28, 1979–June 2, 1980
Country United States
State(s) California
Date apprehended
June 11, 1980

William George Bonin (January 8, 1947 – February 23, 1996) was an American serial killer and twice-paroled sex offender,[2] who committed the rape, torture and murder of a minimum of 21 boys and young men in a series of killings between 1979 and 1980 in southern California. He is sometimes referred to as "The Freeway Killer", a nickname he shares with two other – separate – serial killers, Patrick Kearney and Randy Steven Kraft. Bonin is also suspected of committing a further fifteen murders. He was convicted of 14 of these murders and subsequently executed in 1996.

Bonin became known as the Freeway Killer due to the fact that the majority of his victims' bodies were discovered alongside numerous freeways in southern California.

Early life[edit]


Bonin was born in Connecticut in January 1947, the second of three brothers. His father was a compulsive gambler and alcoholic,[3] Bonin's mother, Alice, was also an alcoholic, who frequently left Bonin and his brothers in the care of their grandfather, a convicted child molester. Bonin and his brothers were neglected as children, and were often fed by neighbors.[4]

In 1953, aged 6, Bonin was placed in an orphanage,[5] where he remained until the age of 9.[4]

At the age of 10, Bonin was arrested for stealing license plates and ended up in a juvenile detention center for other minor crimes.[6] By his teens, back home with his mother, Bonin began molesting younger children.

Engagement and U.S. Air Force[edit]

After graduating from high school in 1965, Bonin became engaged to marry,[7] and joined the U.S. Air Force. He served in the Vietnam War as an aerial gunner, logging over 700 hours of combat and patrol time[8] and earning a Good Conduct Medal. While serving in Vietnam, Bonin risked his own life under fire to save the life of a fellow airman,[9] but also later admitted to sexually assaulting two fellow soldiers at gunpoint.[10] Bonin was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in October, 1968[3] and returned to Connecticut to live with his mother[7] before moving to California.

First indictments[edit]

On November 17, 1968,[11] at age 21, Bonin committed a sexual assault on a youth. In late 1968 and early 1969, he kidnapped and assaulted four youths between the ages of 12 and 18.[12] In 1969, he was indicted on five counts of kidnapping and four counts of sexual assault on five youths. He pleaded guilty to molestation and forced oral copulation and was sentenced to the Atascadero State Hospital as a mentally disordered sexual offender amenable to treatment.[12] In 1971, he was sent to prison, declared unamenable for further treatment.[13]

Bonin was released in May 1974 after doctors concluded he was "no longer a danger to others." Within 16 months of his release, Bonin had been charged with the gunpoint rape of a 14-year-old hitchhiker named David McVicker[14] and the attempted abduction of another teenager,[12] for which he was sentenced to between one and 15 years' imprisonment at the California Men's Facility in San Luis Obispo.

Release and acquaintance with Vernon Butts[edit]

On October 11, 1978, Bonin was released from detention with a total of 18 months' probation. Upon his release, Bonin moved to an apartment complex in the city of Downey in southeast Los Angeles County, where he found employment as a truck driver[15] and began dating a girl whom he told acquaintances he would regularly accompany to Anaheim on Sundays.

Shortly after moving to Downey, Bonin became acquainted with a 43-year-old neighbor of his named Everett Fraser. Bonin became a regular attendee at the frequent parties Fraser held at his apartment and through these social gatherings he became acquainted with a 22-year-old factory worker and part-time magician[16] named Vernon Butts[15] and a 19-year-old Texas native named Gregory Miley.[17]

Murder spree[edit]

Bonin usually selected young male hitchhikers, schoolboys or, occasionally, male prostitutes as his victims. The victims, aged 12 to 19, were either enticed or forced into his Chevrolet camper van,[18] where they would be overpowered and bound hand and foot with a combination of handcuffs,[19] and wire or cord.[20] They were then sexually assaulted, tortured and usually killed by strangulation with their own T-shirts, although some victims were stabbed or battered to death. One victim, Darin Kendrick, was forced to drink hydrochloric acid; two victims had ice-picks driven into their ears[21] and another victim, Mark Shelton, died of shock.[22] The victims were usually killed inside Bonin's van and most were discarded alongside various freeways in southern California. In a minimum of 12 of the murders, Bonin was assisted by one or more of his four known accomplices.[23][24]

First murder and initial arrest[edit]

The first murder for which Bonin was charged was that of a 13-year-old hitchhiker named Thomas Glen Lundgren.[25] Lundgren was last seen leaving his parents' house in Reseda on the morning of May 28, 1979: his body was found the same afternoon in Agoura.[26] An autopsy revealed that Lundgren had suffered emasculation and bludgeoning to his face and head. In addition, the youth had been slashed across the throat, stabbed, and strangled to death.[19] In the abduction and murder of Lundgren, Bonin was assisted by Vernon Butts, who is suspected of accompanying Bonin on eight further murders attributed to the Freeway Killer.

In the summer of 1979, Bonin was again arrested for molesting a 17-year-old boy in the coastal community of Dana Point.[15] This violation of the conditions of his parole should have resulted in Bonin being returned to prison. However, an administrative error resulted in him being released.[15] Everett Fraser drove to collect Bonin from the Orange County Jail where he had been incarcerated.

Fraser later recollected that as he drove Bonin home, Bonin told him: "No one's going to testify again. This is never going to happen to me again."[27]

Freeway Killer murders[edit]

Two months after the murder of Thomas Lundgren, on August 4, 1979, Bonin and Butts abducted a 17-year-old from Westminster named Mark Shelton as the youth walked to a movie theater near Beach Boulevard.[28] Shelton was violated with foreign objects, causing his body to enter a state of shock which proved fatal. His body was then discarded in San Bernardino County. The following day, Bonin and Butts encountered a 17-year-old West German student named Markus Grabs attempting to hitchhike from Pacific Coast Highway. Grabs was bound with orange ignition wire and driven to Bonin's home[29] where he was sodomized, beaten and stabbed a total of 77 times[30] before his body was discarded alongside a Malibu freeway.[29]

On August 27, Bonin and Butts abducted a 15-year-old Hollywood youth named Donald Ray Hyden. Hyden was last seen alive walking along Santa Monica Boulevard at one a.m.[31] His body was found the same morning in a dumpster located near the Ventura Freeway. The youth had been stabbed in the neck and the genitalia, strangled and bludgeoned about the skull.[32]

David Murillo, aged 17. Murdered September 9, 1979.

Two weeks after the murder of Donald Hyden, on September 9, Bonin and Butts encountered a 17-year-old La Mirada youth named David Murillo cycling to a movie theater.[33] The pair lured Murillo into Bonin's van where the youth was bound, raped, bludgeoned and strangled before his body was discarded alongside Highway 101. Eight days later, an 18-year-old Newport Beach youth named Robert Wirostek was abducted as he cycled to his job at a grocery store: his body was found on September 19 alongside the Interstate 10 Highway.[34]

Bonin was not known to have killed again until on or about November 29, when he and Butts abducted and murdered an unidentified youth estimated to be around 19 years old. This victim was savagely beaten, then strangled to death before his body was discarded in Kern County. The following day, Bonin—operating alone—abducted and strangled a 17-year-old named Frank Dennis Fox;[35] his nude body was found two days later alongside a highway five miles east of San Diego.[36] Ten days after the murder of Frank Fox, a 15-year-old Long Beach youth named John Kilpatrick disappeared after leaving his parents' home to socialize with friends. Kilpatrick was strangled to death before his body was discarded in a remote area of Rialto.[37]

On January 1, 1980, Bonin brutalized and strangled a 16-year-old Rialto youth named Michael Francis McDonald; his fully clothed body was found in San Bernardino County two days after his murder,[38][39] although his body was not identified until March 24.[40]

James Macabe, aged 12. Murdered February 3, 1980.

Participation of Gregory Miley[edit]

On February 3, Bonin, assisted by an acquaintance of his named Gregory Matthews Miley, drove from Downey to Hollywood, where they encountered a 15-year-old hitchhiker named Charles Miranda[41] hitchhiking upon Santa Monica Boulevard. Miranda was forced to hand his wallet to Bonin before he was overpowered, raped, assaulted with other objects, before Bonin strangled the youth to death with a tire iron as Miley repeatedly jumped on his chest. His nude corpse was dumped in an alleyway.[42] Bonin then suggested to Miley: "I'm horny, let's go and do another one." A few hours later, in Huntington Beach, Bonin and Miley abducted, raped and killed James Macabe[43] who, at age 12, was Bonin's youngest victim. Macabe was abducted as he waited for a bus to Disneyland at the corner of Beach Boulevard and Slater Avenue.[44] According to Miley, the boy entered the rear of the van voluntarily as he drove, before Bonin parked the van in a grocery store parking lot. Miley then heard Macabe crying as Bonin beat and raped him,[45] before he himself joined Bonin in beating the youngster simply because he "felt like" doing so. Bonin then strangled Macabe to death with his own T-shirt.[46] His fully clothed, beaten body was found three days later alongside a dumpster in the city of Walnut.[44]

Subsequent killings[edit]

Bonin did not strike again until March 14, when he abducted and killed an 18-year-old Van Nuys youth named Ronald Gatlin. Gatlin was beaten, sodomized and suffered several deep, perforating ice pick wounds to the ear and neck before he was strangled with a ligature.[11] His body was found the following day in the city of Duarte. One week later, on March 21, Bonin lured a 14-year-old named Glenn Barker into his van as the youth hitchhiked to school. Barker was also raped, beaten and strangled to death with a ligature, although his body also bore evidence of numerous burns to the neck which had been inflicted with a lit cigarette.[47] At 4 p.m. the same day, a 15-year-old named Russell Rugh was abducted from a bus stop in Garden Grove. Rugh was bound, beaten and strangled to death before his body was discarded alongside that of Glenn Barker in Cleveland National Forest. The youths' bodies were found on March 23.[48]

Encounter with William Pugh[edit]

One evening in March, 1980, Bonin offered a 17-year-old named William Pugh a ride home as the pair left the house of Everett Fraser. Within minutes of accepting the ride, Bonin asked Pugh whether he would like to engage in sex. Pugh later stated he panicked upon hearing this question and, after sitting in silence for several minutes, attempted to leave the vehicle once Bonin had slowed the vehicle at a stoplight. In response, Bonin leaned across and grabbed Pugh by the collar, dragging him back into the passenger seat.[49] According to Pugh, Bonin then confided in him that he enjoyed "picking up" young male hitchhikers on Friday and Saturday nights, whom he would abuse before strangling to death with their own T-shirts. In a matter-of-fact tone, Bonin informed Pugh: "If you want to kill somebody, you should make a plan and find a place to dump the body before you even pick a victim."[50]

Pugh was driven to his home without being assaulted.

Murder of Harry Turner[edit]

On March 24, Bonin and Pugh abducted a 15-year-old runaway named Harry Todd Turner from a Los Angeles street. Turner had absconded from a boys' home in the desert community of Lancaster[42][51] four days prior to his meeting Bonin and Pugh. According to Pugh, he and Bonin lured Turner into Bonin's van with an offer of $20 for sex.[52] After binding, sodomizing and biting the youth,[42] Bonin ordered Pugh to "beat him (Turner) up." After Pugh had bludgeoned and beat Turner about the head and body for several minutes,[53] Bonin strangled the youth to death with his own T-shirt before discarding his body in a Los Angeles alleyway. Turner's autopsy subsequently revealed the youth had received a total of eight fractures to the skull inflicted by a blunt instrument before he had been strangled.[42]

Later killings and acquaintance with James Munro[edit]

On April 10, Bonin killed twice on the same day; abducting a 16-year-old Bellflower youth named Steven Wood and discarding his nude body beside the Pacific Coast Highway, then,[54] hours later, abducting and killing an 18-year-old acquaintance of his named Lawrence Sharp. Sharp was beaten, strangled and discarded behind a Westminster gas station.[55] Three weeks later, on April 29 in Stanton, Bonin and Butts lured a 19-year-old supermarket employee named Darin Kendrick into Bonin's van while parked in the parking lot of the store where Kendrick worked.[56] Kendrick was forced to drink hydrochloric acid by Bonin before Butts drove an ice pick into his ear. His body was discarded near the Artesia Freeway.[11][29]

On May 19, Bonin again asked Butts to accompany him on a killing; however, Butts reportedly refused to accompany him. Operating alone, Bonin abducted a 14-year-old South Gate youth named Sean King from a bus stop in Downey and discarded his body in Yucaipa.[57][58] Bonin then visited Butts' residence and bragged of the killing to his accomplice.[59]

Nine days after the murder of Sean King, Bonin invited a 19-year-old homeless drifter named James Munro to move into his apartment. Munro accepted Bonin's accommodation offer; later describing his initial impression of Bonin as being "a good guy; really normal." The youth also accepted a subsequent offer of employment at the Montebello delivery firm where Bonin worked.[60]


By the spring of 1980, the murders committed by the Freeway Killer, as he was known in the press, were receiving considerable media attention. On May 29, William Pugh (who had been arrested for auto theft), heard the details of the ongoing series of murders on a local radio broadcast and confided to a counselor his suspicions that Bonin may be behind the killings.[61] The counselor reported his suspicions to the police, who in turn relayed the information to a LAPD homicide sergeant named John St. John.[61] Upon hearing the confidential tip from the counselor, St. John interviewed Pugh and deduced from his conversation with the youth that Bonin might indeed be the Freeway Killer.

An investigation into the background of Bonin revealed his string of convictions for sexually assaulting teenage boys. Detective St. John assigned a surveillance team to monitor Bonin's movements. The surveillance of William Bonin began June 2, 1980.

Murder of Steven Wells[edit]

On June 2, the same day as police surveillance of Bonin began,[16] Bonin, accompanied by James Munro,[16][16] enticed an 18-year-old print shop worker named Steven Jay Wells from a bus stop on El Segundo Boulevard into Bonin's van. Wells was driven to Bonin's apartment where, according to Munro, the youth was raped, beaten, then strangled with his own T-shirt.[62] Bonin then placed Wells' body inside a cardboard box which he and Munro then carried to his van.[63] The pair then drove to the residence of Vernon Butts, whom Bonin asked for advice as to disposal of Wells' body. At Bonin's subsequent trial, Munro recalled Butts' response: "'Try a gas station like' or 'where' - I don't know which - 'we dumped the last one.'" Munro also later testified that as Bonin showed Butts the body of Wells, Butts had advised Bonin against discarding the youth's body in the nearby canyons due to the late hour. Wells' body was discarded behind a Huntington Beach gas station.

The day after Bonin was arrested, Munro stole Bonin's car and fled to his native Michigan.[62][64]


On June 11, after nine days of surveillance, police observed Bonin attempting to pick up five separate teenage boys,[65] then succeed in luring a youth into his van. The police followed him until his van parked in a desolate parking lot, where they arrested him in the act of assaulting a 15-year-old identified as Harold T.[65][66]

Freeway Killer victims
1. Thomas Lundgren (13): May 28, 1979
2. Mark Shelton (17): August 4, 1979
3. Markus Grabs (17): August 5, 1979
4. Donald Hyden (15): August 27, 1979
5. David Murillo (17): September 9, 1979
6. Robert Wirostek (18): September 17, 1979
7. John Doe (19–25): c. November 29, 1979
8. Frank Dennis Fox (17): November 30, 1979
9. John Kilpatrick (15): December 10, 1979
10. Michael McDonald (16): January 1, 1980
11. Charles Miranda (15): February 3, 1980
12. James Macabe (12): February 3, 1980
13. Ronald Gatlin (18): March 14, 1980
14. Glenn Barker (14): March 21, 1980
15. Russell Rugh (15): March 21, 1980
16. Harry Todd Turner (15): March 24, 1980
17. Steven Wood (16): April 10, 1980
18. Lawrence Sharp (18): April 10, 1980
19. Darin Lee Kendrick (19): April 29, 1980
20. Sean King (14): May 19, 1980
21. Steven Wells (18): June 2, 1980


Bonin and his four known accomplices in murder were convicted of 14 murders committed between August 5, 1979, and June 2, 1980, although Bonin was also charged with two additional murders for which he was acquitted at his first trial in Los Angeles County. Of these murders for which Bonin was convicted, 10 were committed in Los Angeles County and four in nearby Orange County; however, the Freeway Killer was suspected of committing at least 21 murders. The killings for which Bonin was convicted are shown in italics on the table to the right.

  • In nine murders; those of Lundgren, Shelton, Grabs, Hyden, Murillo, Wirostek, Kendrick, Wells and a John Doe found in Kern County in November 1979, Bonin was assisted by his primary accomplice, Vernon Butts, a 22-year-old factory worker who, according to Bonin, was an extremely active accomplice.[67][68]
  • Bonin was assisted by 19-year-old Gregory Matthews Miley in the February 3 murders of Miranda and Macabe. Miley then returned to his native Houston in March 1980.[42]
  • James Michael Munro, Bonin's lodger and coworker, assisted Bonin in the murder of Steven Wells.
  • Following Bonin's arrest, police discovered through Bonin's friends that 17-year-old William Pugh,[69] the individual who had informed police Bonin might be the Freeway Killer, knew Bonin better than he had initially divulged. Police later learned Pugh had accompanied Bonin on the March 24 murder of Harry Todd Turner.
  • Bonin was not brought to trial for the murders of Mark Shelton, Robert Wirostek, John Kilpatrick, Michael McDonald or a John Doe whose body was found in a Kern County reservoir in November 1979[70] because police did not find sufficient evidence upon any of the victims' bodies which could conclusively link Bonin alone to the crimes: police did charge Bonin and Butts with the murder of the John Doe,[71] and those of hitchhiker Mark Duane Shelton and grocery clerk Robert Christopher Wirostek (alongside that of Darin Kendrick) in October 1980. Shelton had been linked to the manhunt for the Freeway Killer upon his body being found in August 1979,[72] as had both the John Doe and Darin Lee Kendrick. Wirostek, who vanished en route to his job on September 17, 1979, was not confirmed as a Freeway Killer victim until his body was found and identified in July 1980.
  • Three months after all charges had been filed against each defendant, Vernon Butts committed suicide, rendering his recorded testimony in these three cases inadmissible as evidence. Police therefore chose not to charge Bonin with any of these three crimes, although sufficient physical evidence was nonetheless still present in the case of Darin Kendrick—a murder for which Bonin was subsequently convicted.
  • On August 5, 1980, a body previously known as a John Doe which had been linked to the Freeway Killer was identified as that of John Frederick Kilpatrick, a 15-year-old Long Beach youth who disappeared December 10, 1979, and was found strangled December 13 in the city of Rialto.[73] Neither Bonin nor any of his accomplices were ever charged with the murder of Kilpatrick, although Bonin never disputed the youth as being a victim of his.
  • Bonin was charged with, but subsequently cleared of, the murders of Sean King and Thomas Lundgren. However, Bonin did confess to both murders.
Mugshots taken of William Bonin (left) and Vernon Butts (right) after their arrest.


Vernon Butts, pictured after his arrest in July, 1980.

In custody, Bonin confessed to abducting, raping, and killing 21 boys and young men, naming Butts as his primary accomplice. Police also suspect Bonin to be responsible for approximately fifteen other murders. Between July 26 and July 29, Bonin was charged with 16 of the murders to which he confessed and upon which the prosecution believed they had sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction. He expressed no remorse and told one reporter who asked Bonin what he would do if he were still at large: "I'd still be killing, I couldn't stop killing. It got easier each time."[74]

Based on Bonin's confession, police arrested Vernon Butts on July 25, and charged him with accompanying Bonin on five of the murders. He was later charged with four other murders committed between August 5, 1979 and April 29, 1980. On July 31, Munro was arrested in Michigan and charged with the murder of Steven Wells and on August 22, Miley was arrested in Texas and charged with the murders of Charles Miranda and James Macabe. Butts, Miley and Munro all agreed to testify against Bonin in exchange for being spared the death penalty.[75]


Bonin was brought to trial in Los Angeles County, charged with the murder of 12 of his victims whose bodies had been found within this constituency, on November 5, 1981. Deputy District Attorney Stirling Norris, who prosecuted Bonin, sought the death penalty for each count of murder for which Bonin was tried, stating in his opening speech to the jury: "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."[76]

Bonin was physically linked to many of the murders by blood and semen stains, hair and carpet fibers. Medical evidence showed that six of the murders for which Bonin was charged were committed by a unique "windlass" strangulation method, which was referred to by Norris as "a signature, a trademark."

Both Miley and Munro testified against Bonin at this trial, describing in graphic detail the murders in which they had accompanied Bonin. Munro testified that after the murder of Stephen Wells, he, Bonin and Butts drove to a McDonald's restaurant and purchased burgers with money taken from Wells' wallet. As the trio ate, Bonin laughed and mused: "Thanks, Steve, wherever you are."[77] Miley testified to his participation in the murders of Miranda and Macabe;[78] describing in graphic detail how both youths were beaten and tortured with a crowbar before their murders and how he heard a "bunch of bones cracking" as one of the youths was strangled by Bonin.

"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 pronouncing sentence upon Bonin.[79]

The trial lasted until January 5, 1982. After six days of deliberation,[80] the jury convicted Bonin of 10 of the murders, but cleared him of the murders of Thomas Lundgren and Sean King. Bonin was sentenced to death for the 10 murders of which he was convicted.

Bonin was cleared of the murder of Sean King because he had led police to the body of the victim in December, 1980, with the agreement that his leading police to King's body could not be used against him in court.[81] He was cleared of Thomas Lundgren's murder because he chose to deny this particular killing at his trial.[82]

In March, 1983, Bonin was tried in neighboring Orange County,[83] charged with the murder of four further victims who had been found murdered between November 1979 and April 1980. On August 26, 1983, Bonin was convicted on all four counts of murder.[84]

Bonin spent a total of 14 years on California's Death Row, awaiting execution in the gas chamber. He filed numerous appeals against his conviction while incarcerated, all unsuccessful.[85] His final submission to the United States Court of Appeals was submitted in October 1994; this appeal was rejected on June 28, 1995.[86]

In 1992, following the execution of Robert Alton Harris, the State of California opted to use lethal injection as an alternate method of execution to the gas chamber, branding the gas chamber a "cruel and unusual" method of execution.[85]

William Bonin, pictured while incarcerated on Death Row.


Bonin was executed February 23, 1996, 16 years after his arrest, by lethal injection inside the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison. Bonin was the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the history of California.[87]

In a final interview given to a local radio station less than 24 hours before he was executed, Bonin claimed he had "made peace" with the fact he was about to die. He added that his only real regret was that he had not pursued his teenage passion of bowling long enough to have turned professional.[88] When asked whether there was anything he had to say to the families of his victims, Bonin simply stated: "They feel my death will bring closure, but that's not the case. They're going to find out."[89]

At 6 p.m. on the day he was executed, Bonin was moved from his cell to a death watch cell, where he ordered his last meal: two large pizzas, three pints of ice cream and three six-packs of Coke. In his final statement, given to the warden one hour prior to his scheduled execution at midnight, Bonin again expressed no remorse for his crimes and left a note that stated:

William Bonin was 49 at the time of his execution.

  • Bonin's main accomplice, Vernon Butts, accused of accompanying Bonin on at least nine of the murders, hanged himself with a towel on January 11, 1981, while awaiting trial.[42] Butts had told police the killing spree had been "a good little nightmare."
  • On May 17, 1982, William Pugh was sentenced to a six-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter in the case of Harry Todd Turner.[94] Pugh had been charged with the first degree murder of the youth; however, after five hours' deliberation, the jury found Pugh guilty of the reduced charge of manslaughter.

Serial killers with similar modus operandi[edit]

On July 1, 1977, Patrick Kearney, a suspect in a series of killings of young men known as the Trash Bag Murders, surrendered to Riverside Police.[97] Kearney had been a fugitive for two months, following his being forensically linked to the murder of a 17-year-old named John LaMay—confirmed as a victim of the Trash Bag Murderer. Kearney subsequently confessed to the murders of 28 boys and young men; many of whom he had discarded alongside freeways in southern California. In contrast to Bonin, Kearney dismembered and discarded the majority of his victims' bodies in trash bags.[98] Although primarily known as the Trash Bag Murderer,[99] Kearney is also known as the Freeway Killer.

Three years after the arrest of William Bonin, police arrested a 38-year-old Long Beach IT specialist named Randy Steven Kraft for a series of linked killings—also known as the Freeway Killer murders—which had begun in December 1972. Kraft had initially been apprehended for driving in an erratic manner as he attempted to discard the body of a 25-year-old Marine from his car in Mission Viejo.[100] After his arrest, police discovered in the trunk of Kraft's vehicle a coded list depicting cryptic references to his victims, leading Kraft to becoming known as the Scorecard Killer in addition to the Freeway Killer.

Although his disposal method had been similar to that of William Bonin, Kraft is known to have both drugged his victims before he killed them and to have used differing torture methods upon their bodies, including the burning the victims' chest with an automobile cigarette lighter.[101] In addition, many of Kraft's victims had been aged in their early- or mid-twenties—a small number of whom had been dismembered.[102]

Collectively, Bonin, Kraft and Kearney may have claimed up to 131 victims.[103]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Freeway Killer: Bonin Convicted for 10 Killings; Awaits Sentencing". The Daily Record (Ellensburg, Washington). United Press International. January 7, 1982. p. 8. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Around the Nation; California Murderer Gets Death Sentence". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 13, 1982. Retrieved November 4, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b McDougal 1991, p. 161
  4. ^ a b "Execution Set for 'Freeway Killer'". Reading Eagle/Reading Times. Associated Press. February 19, 1996. p. A10. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Bonin Executed". Daily News of Los Angeles. February 23, 1996. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ McDougal 1991, pp. 161–162
  7. ^ a b "59 F.3d 815: William George Bonin, Petitioner-appellant, v. Arthur Calderon, As Warden of San Quentin State Prison;james Rowland, Director of the Californiadepartment of Corre". Cases.justia.com. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  8. ^ "TruTV.com". TruTV.com. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
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  11. ^ a b c CDCR.ca.gov. Bonin, William
  12. ^ a b c "Justia.com". Cases.justia.com. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  13. ^ "Loislaw.com". Loislaw.com. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  14. ^ Resource.org
  15. ^ a b c d McDougal 1991, p. 163
  16. ^ a b c d McDougal 1991, p. 166
  17. ^ The Press Courier, Nov. 2, 1987.
  18. ^ McDougal 1991, p. 159
  19. ^ a b McDougal 1991, p. 153
  20. ^ Record-Journal Nov. 5, 1981
  21. ^ True Crime Jun., 1996. p.10
  22. ^ "News article". News.google.com. 1980-05-07. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  23. ^ CDCR.gov. Bonin, William
  24. ^ CrimeAbout.com
  25. ^ Press Courier. May 11, 1980.
  26. ^ McDougal 1991, pp. 152–153
  27. ^ McDougal 1991, pp. 163–164
  28. ^ LA Times Oct. 21, 1980
  29. ^ a b c McDougal 1991, p. 174
  30. ^ McDougal 1992, p. 174.
  31. ^ Ocala Star Banner Aug. 30, 1979.
  32. ^ "News archives". News.google.com. 1979-08-29. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  33. ^ The Bulletin Nov. 4, 1981.
  34. ^ LA Times Aug. 27, 1980.
  35. ^ "Frank Fox Death record". Vitals.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  36. ^ Palm Beach Post Sept. 21, 1980.
  37. ^ The Bryan Times Aug. 6, 1980.
  38. ^ LA Times March 26, 1980.
  39. ^ San Bernardino County Sun Jun. 13, 1980
  40. ^ LA Times Jul. 30, 1980.
  41. ^ "News archives". News.google.com. 1980-06-11. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  42. ^ a b c d e f McDougal 1991, p. 172
  43. ^ "James Macabe Death record". Vitals.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  44. ^ a b File:LA Times Macabe Found Bonin.pdf
  45. ^ True Crime Jun., 1996. p.9
  46. ^ File:Bonin Macabe LA Times.pdf
  47. ^ LA Times.com.
  48. ^ Sarasota Herald-Tribune Feb. 19, 1996.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]