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5 things to know about William Bonin aka the "Freeway Killer"

William Bonin
William Bonin aka the Freeway killer r*ped and murdered multiple boys and men between 1979 and 1980 (Image via @investigationdiscovery/Instagram)

The Freeway Killer: Lost Murder Tapes on ID will reveal interviews with William Bonin, aka the Freeway Killer, that have never been heard before. The show airs this Sunday, October 23, 2022, at 9 pm ET. The preview reads:

"In the Summer of 1979, at least 21 young men and boys were raped, mutilated and dumped along California’s freeways. Four decades later, the lost confession tapes allow psychologists to analyze the mind of this sick serial killer."

A former Downey truck driver, William Bonin, who was later exposed as a pedophile serial killer, preyed on hitchhiking boys and young men. He admitted to raping, torturing, and killing up to 21 victims between 1979 and 1980.

He revealed that he would later dump the bodies of his victims behind buildings and along the streets of Los Angeles and Orange County.

Already a convicted sex offender, Bonin was sent to prison multiple times before his ultimate conviction in 1980, when he was caught in the act while indulging in one of the heinous crimes. Over a year later, he received the death penalty and eventually became the first person to die of a lethal injection.

This article discusses a few key facts about the Freeway Killer.

1) William Bonin grew up in a troubled household and was s*xually abused

William Bonin, who grew up in a dysfunctional home, was allegedly a victim of child abuse. He was primarily raised by his grandfather given that his father was an alcoholic and had an absentee mother.

Sources state that his grandfather was a convicted child abuser. Growing up, he was arrested for minor offenses and was reportedly r*ped by elder teenagers while serving time at a correctional facility.


2) Bonin was convicted multiple times before starting his murder spree

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After serving a brief period in the US Air force and getting discharged in 1968, William Bonin returned to Connecticut and kidnapped and abused five young men. He was found guilty of kidnapping and s*xual assault and taken to the Atascadero State Hospital for treatment and not long after, was sent to prison.

Bonin was, however, discharged in May 1974 when medical professionals decided he no longer posed a threat to others. He was caught yet again sixteen months later and given a sentence of one to fifteen years for the attempted kidnapping of a teenage hitchhiker named David McVicker. He was released after four years in 1978.


3) He briefly served in the US Airforce

Sources state that in 1965, after finishing high school, William Bonin enlisted in the US Air Force. He served in the Vietnam War as an aerial gunner and received the Good Conduct Medal. While serving in the airforce, Bonin raped two men while holding them at gunpoint and was honorably discharged in October 1968.


4) William Bonin aka the Freeway Killer had accomplices

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Bonin had accomplices, unlike the majority of serial killers, who aided the "Freeway Killer" as he periodically murdered young boys and men in Orange County and Los Angeles County. Vernon Butts, Gregory Miley, James Munro, and William Pugh were the four other individuals involved in most of his crimes.

Sources state that he met Everett Fraser, one of his neighbors, after moving to Downey. William started showing up to the events Fraser hosted at his place. He then met Gregory Matthews Miley, a native of Texas, and Vernon Butts, a manufacturing worker and sometimes magician, during one of these gatherings.

According to reliable sources, two of his four accomplices have met tragic ends. While awaiting a murder trial, Butts hanged himself in a detention cell, and Gregory Miley was beaten to death while in jail. Munro, on the other hand, remains incarcerated, while William Pugh was released after serving four years.


5) The Freeway killer was a suspect in 44 different cases

Reports state that it's possible Bonin killed more people than the murders for which he was convicted. Bonin, who was found guilty of killing 14, admitted to as many as 21 killings. He was allegedly under suspicion in 44 different cases.

Bonin never made any additional confessions despite being suspected of carrying out the murders of a dozen other people. He was executed on February 23, 1996.


Learn more about William Bonin aka the Freeway Killer on ID's The Freeway Killer: Lost Murder Tapes.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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