William Bonin Executed California Serial Killer

William Bonin - California

William Bonin was a sexual predator and serial killer who would be executed by the State of California for fourteen murders

According to court documents William Bonin is believed to be responsible for the murder of at least twenty boys and young men and was convicted of fourteen murders: Dennis Frank Fox (17), Glenn Barker (14), Russell Rugh (15), Lawrence Sharp (17), Marcus Grabs (17), Donald Hyden (15), David Murillo (17), Charles Miranda (15), James McCabe (12), Ronald Gatlin (19), Harry Todd Turner (14), Steven Wood (16), Darin Lee Kendrick (19), Steven Jay Wells (18),

William Bonin would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

William Bonin would be executed by lethal injection on February 23 1996

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William Bonin - California

William Bonin Case

Defendant William Bonin, the “Freeway Killer,” kidnapped, robbed, raped and murdered a total of 14 teenaged boys between 1979 and 1980. His co-defendants were also young men between the ages of 17 and 21. The defendant was sentenced to death in 1982 for 10 murders throughout Los Angeles County. About one year later he was convicted in Orange County of the other four murders, for which he received a second death sentence.

Bonin also was suspected of murdering other males, whose bodies were found around the same period of time in Kern, Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino Counties. The defendant William Bonin was not prosecuted for those crimes. The following is a chronological, case-by-case summary of the crimes in each of the two counties from which Bonin received a death sentence.

With the help of four co-defendants, defendant William Bonin kidnapped, robbed, raped and murdered 10 teenaged boys in Los Angeles County between1979 and 1980.

On August 5, 1979, the defendant William Bonin and co-defendant Butts accosted Marcus Grabs, 17, in Newport Beach sometime between 6 and 10 p.m. Marcus, a German student on a backpacking tour of the United States, was sodomized, beaten and stabbed 77 times. His nude body was found the next day beside a road in Malibu, with an orange nylon cord loosely wrapped behind his head and a piece of ignition wire around one of his ankles.

On August 27, 1979, at 1 a.m., the defendant William Bonin and co-defendant Butts picked up Donald Hyden, 15, near the Gay Community Services Center in Los Angeles. His nude body was found at 11 a.m. near Liberty Canyon and the off ramp of the Ventura Freeway. Donald had been strangled by ligature and stabbed. He had been sodomized and it appeared that attempts had been made to cut off his testicles and slash his throat.

On September 9, 1979, in the early morning, David Murillo, 17, was bicycling to the movies in La Mirada when the defendant William Bonin and co-defendant Butts abducted him. David’s nude body was found three days later on a Ventura Highway off-ramp. His head had been bashed in with a tire iron, and he had been sodomized and strangled with a ligature.

On February 3, 1980, in the early morning, the defendant William Bonin, driving a van with co-defendant Miley, picked up Charles Miranda, 15, in West Hollywood. They drove several blocks away, parked, and the defendant sodomized Charles. The co-defendant tried to sodomize him, but was unable to sustain an erection. After the co-defendant took six dollars from Charles, the two men tied his feet and hands together. The defendant wrapped Charles’ shirt around his neck. Using a jack handle, the defendant twisted the shirt like a corkscrew until Charles was dead. The autopsy also revealed a blunt object had been inserted into Charles’ anus. The defendants drove to an alley in downtown Los Angeles, dumped Charles’ nude body, and drove on to Huntington Beach, seeking other victims.

A little while later, they began talking to James McCabe, 12, who said he was on his way to Disneyland. They invited James into the van. While Bonin had sex with him, the co-defendant, Miley, drove. Later, the two men held the victim down, beat him, strangled him with his shirt, and crushed his neck with a jack handle. After taking money out of James’ wallet, the defendants left his body next to a dumpster in the City of Walnut, where it was found Feb. 6.

On March 14, 1980, Ronald Gatlin, 19, was picked up by the defendant in Van Nuys at about 8:30 p.m. Ronald’s nude body was found the next day in Duarte, near the juncture of the 210 and 605 freeways. He had been sodomized and strangled with a ligature. There were wounds to the neck and right ear that apparently had been made by an ice pick and the body showed signs of beating.

Sometime on or after March 20, 1980, the defendant William Bonin and co-defendant William Pugh picked up Harry Todd Turner, 14, in Hollywood. Harry’s nude body was found the morning of March 25 in an alley behind a Los Angeles business. He had been beaten, sodomized, and strangled by ligature.

On April 10, 1980, Steven Wood, 16, was picked up by the defendant at about 12:15 p.m. in Los Angeles. Steven’s nude body was found the next morning in an alley behind an industrial complex near the Pacific Coast Highway and Long Beach Freeway. He, too, had been beaten, sodomized and strangled by ligature.

On April 29, 1980, at 9:15 p.m., the defendant William Bonin and co-defendant Butts accosted Darin Lee Kendrick, 19, in the parking lot of a supermarket in Stanton. Darin had been collecting shopping carts and was lured into the van on a pretext of being sold some drugs. His nude body was found the next morning in an industrial park in Carson near the Artesia Freeway. In addition to being sodomized and strangled by ligature, Darin apparently was forced to ingest chloral hydrate which left him with caustic chemical burns on his mouth, chin, chest and stomach. Darin also had an ice pick through his right ear that caused a fatal wound to the upper cervical spinal cord.

On June 2, 1980, at about 5:40 p.m., the defendant William Bonin and co-defendant James Munro were driving a van in Downey when they picked up a hitchhiker, Steven Jay Wells, 18. Initially, Steven agreed to have sex with the defendant. Later, he allowed himself to be tied up, expecting to be paid for having sex with a friend of the defendant’s. The defendant and co-defendant tied Steven up, took his money, beat him, then strangled him with his T-shirt. They placed Steven’s body in a cardboard box and carried it out to the van. At about 8 p.m., they drove to the residence of co-defendant Butts who told them to take the body and “drop it off somewhere.” Co-defendant Munro and the defendant then drove to Huntington Beach where they left Steven’s nude body at the rear of a closed gas station, where it was found June 3.

The defendant was apprehended after co-defendant Pugh, 17, was arrested on auto theft charges on May 29, 1980. He told detectives that he had accepted a ride home from a party with the defendant, who had talked about killing young boys. The defendant was placed under surveillance beginning June 2, 1980.

On June 11, 1980, his van was followed to Hollywood. He was observed talking to five different young men standing on street corners before 15-year-old Harold T. entered his van. The defendant parked, with Harold still inside, in a vacant lot on Santa Monica Boulevard. Despite Harold’s resistance, the defendant orally copulated him. Shortly thereafter, the defendant was apprehended in the act of raping and sodomizing Harold. The police found a length of white nylon cord and three knives in the van.

(Information for this summary was compiled from the probation officer’s report and/or other court documents from the defendant’s file.)

During the same time period as the Los Angeles murders, defendant Bonin and two co-defendants murdered four other young men in Orange County.

On December 2, 1979, the body of Dennis Frank Fox, 17, was found along Ortego Highway about five miles east of the San Diego Freeway. On March 22, 1980, the bodies of Russell Rugh, 15, and Glenn Barker, 14, were found a few miles farther east along the same road. On May 18, 1980, the body of Lawrence Sharp, 17, was found in a trash bin behind a service station in Westminster.

The four victims were all hitchhikers whom the defendant had picked up in his van, and then killed by strangulation. The defendant was assisted in most or all the crimes by two other men, co-defendants Miley and Munro. All of the victims’ bodies showed signs of physical beating and the cause of death of each victim was strangulation by ligature. Marks on the body of at least one of the victims indicated that a bar or other similar object had been placed between the ligature and the neck and then twisted, to effect greater compression. Other marks also indicated that the hands and feet of all the victims had been bound, or handcuffed, and the victims had been sodomized.

Defendant Bonin was convicted of these four Orange County murders while already on Death Row for the 10 others he committed in Los Angeles County.


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