“I’m horny, let’s do another one”
Between 1972 and 1980 44 young men were murdered and raped, often strangled with their own t-shirts, by the Freeway Killer. In many of the cases the corpses had been mutilated with a knife. The police believed that more than one perpetrator was at large, committing the horrific murders.
In 1974 14-year-old David McVicker attended a party and then decided to hitchhike home. He was picked up by another guest who drove him to a remote area where he stripped and raped him. The rapist did not kill the boy because he was worried that they had been seen together at the party. McVicker went to the police and they arrested William George Bonin (born in Connecticut 8 January 1947) who had been jailed in 1969 for messing around with boys. For the McVicker assault he was jailed for one to fifteen years. He was freed in October 1978 and the Freeway attacks resumed.
In April 1979 Bonin murdered hitchhikers Danny Jordan and Mark Proctor. On 28 May Bonin kidnapped 14-year-old hitchhiker Thomas Lundgren and then raped him before castrating and strangling the boy. Bonin’s accomplice was a weird, 22-year-old factory worker called Vernon Butts who slept in a coffin and told everyone he was a wizard. In the next seven months seven more teenage boys died. On 1 January 1980 Bonin killed 16-year-old Michael McDonald and on 3 February in Hollywood Bonin garrotted 15-year-old Charles Miranda, leaving his naked body in an alley.
Bonin was aided that time by a man called Gregory Miley. Bonin told him, “I’m horny, let’s do another one.” The two men then picked up and murdered 12-year-old James McCabe after raping him. He was the youngest victim. The last murder happened on 2 June 1980 when Bonin was helped by another accomplice, 18-year-old James Michael Munro. By now the police were frantically trying to catch someone and they remembered that David McVicker had told them that Bonin had said that he liked strangling hitchhikers. He was put under surveillance and on 11 June was arrested as he attacked a 15-year-old boy, known only as “Harold T.”.
December 1972-Monday 2 June 1980
Bonin confessed to the murders and on 25 July Vernon Butts was arrested. Gregory Miley was taken into custody on 22 August. On 11 January 1981 Vernon Butts hanged himself in his prison cell. On 4 November Bonin went on trial, Miley having agreed to testify against him.
Miley and Munro were sentenced to 25 years to life and 15 years to life respectively for their roles. Bonin was convicted of all charges on 5 January 1982. On 23 February 1996 he was executed by lethal injection inside the gas chamber at San Quentin State Prison. It was the first execution by lethal injection in California. It took three minutes from the first injection for Bonin to be pronounced dead.