William Bonin

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William Bonin
William Bonin.jpg
Full Name: William George Bonin
Alias: The Freeway Killer
The Freeway Butcher
Origin: Willimantic, Connecticut, United States
Goals: Get away with his crimes (truncated)
Try to avoid execution multiple times (all denied)
Crimes: Murder
Type of Villain: Misandristic Serial Killer

I feel that the death penalty is not an answer to the problems in question. I feel that you send the wrong message to the people of this country. Young people act as they see other people acting instead of how people tell them to act. I would advise that when a person thinks of doing something serious against the law, that before doing so, he must go to a quiet place and think seriously about it.
~ William Bonin

William George Bonin (January 8th, 1947 – February 23rd, 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.


William Bonin was born January 8th 1947 to a household ran by his mother Alice Bonin, and two brothers. Bonins' father, a veteran of the armed forces, was living in a veterans hospital while his mother and brothers continued to live on the quiet street of Angel Street in Downey, California. He lived with his mother until he was 8 years old. Then he ran away from home. He got picked up in the state of Connecticut, and was placed in a detention center. After the years had passed, Bonin was removed and was sent home to Downey, California to live with his kid brothers, and his mother.

As the years were moving on, he served in the Vietnam War. He logged more than 700 hours manning a machine gun. Bonin was assigned to the 205th Assault Support Helicopter unit in Vietnam. Soon after Bonin returned from Vietnam he was arrested, and convicted of sexually assaulting five young men. In each of the cases he would drive the freeways looking for young men to get into his van of death, and torture them as they screamed for their lives - which made this killer even more madder, and ready to kill again. Bonin would strike like a serial killer - hoping the police could not get him. In his eyes, each one got easier each time he would kill.

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 Ford Econoline van, where they were overpowered and bound hand and foot with a combination of handcuffs and wire or cords. They were then sexually assaulted, extensively beaten about the face, head and genitals, and tortured before typically being 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; three victims had ice-picks driven into their ears and another victim, Mark Shelton, died of shock.

During his crimes, Bonin loved to hear the cries and cries of his victims being a thirst for blood that he needed to quench, one of his victims had been severely bitten and the coroners compared the wounds inflicted with those of a rabid dog unable to stop biting.

In order to minimize the chances of a potential victim escaping from his vehicle, Bonin removed all inner handles from the passenger-side and rear doors of his van, and stowed ligatures, knives, household tools and other instruments in his vehicle to facilitate the restraining and torture of his victims. The victims were usually killed inside his van before their bodies were discarded alongside or close to 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. According to one attorney present throughout Bonin's subsequent confession, the escalating levels of brutality he had exhibited towards his victims had been similar to that of a drug addict requiring an ever-greater increase of dosage to attain a satisfactory level of euphoria, and Bonin later emphasized to neurologists he had felt an intense sense of excitement as he searched for his victims.

He is sometimes referred to as "The Freeway Killer", a nickname he shares with two other separate serial killers, Patrick Kearney and Randy Kraft. Bonin is also suspected of committing a further fifteen murders. He was convicted of 14 of these murders and subsequently executed in 1996.

In a local radio interview on the eve of his execution, Bonin said he had "made peace" with the fact that he was about to die. He added that his only real regret was that he had not pursued his youthful passion for bowling long enough to have become a professional. When asked if there was anything he had to say to the families of his victims, Bonin said: "They feel that my death will bring a closure, but that is not the case. They will find out."

Bonin was executed by lethal injection inside the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison on February 23, 1996. He was the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the history of California, and his execution occurred 14 years after his first death sentence had been imposed.

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. His final hours were spent in the company of five individuals whom he had chosen for this occasion. These included his attorney, chaplain, and a prospective biographer. 

Bonin was pronounced dead at 12:13 a.m. He was 49 at the time of his execution. None of Bonin's relatives chose to witness his execution; the event was witnessed by several relatives of his victims, many of whom wept and embraced when his death was officially confirmed.


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

See Also