This Is How The Freeway Killer Was Finally Caught

William Bonin, also known as California's "Freeway Killer," murdered at least 14 boys between 1979 and 1980. Bonin came from a dysfunctional family. His father was an alcoholic, and he grew up mostly with his grandfather, who was a convicted child molester. By his early adolescent years, Bonin had already been sent to a juvenile detention center for stealing. Per ATI, Bonin claimed that it was during his time there when he was molested by boys who were older than him. In his early 20s, Bonin became a predator himself, and he was apprehended for sexually assaulting five teenage boys. He was sent in and out of prison for numerous offenses, and by the time he was released in 1979, he promised himself that he would do whatever he could to avoid being caught again.

Unlike other serial killers, Bonin had several accomplices during his killing spree. His victims were boys who ranged in age from 12 to 19 years old, and he abducted them from various locations. Some of his victims were hitchhikers who voluntarily rode in his van, while others were forcefully taken, as reported by Hell Horror. He assaulted and murdered his victims before dumping their bodies on the freeway, thus the nickname given to him. In 1979, several of his victims were found, and investigators concluded that the cases were connected, as they were all stabbed or strangled to death.

William Bonin was caught in the act

William Bonin was on a killing spree when authorities arrested a young man named William Pugh on robbery charges. Pugh revealed that Bonin may be the Freeway Killer and claimed that he was with him when he abducted one of the victims. Due to his long criminal record and the nature of his past crimes, authorities kept a close watch on Bonin. On June 11, 1980, Bonin was under police surveillance, and he was seen attempting to pick up five different boys, but only one of them agreed to get into his van. He was caught in the act while assaulting a 15-year-old boy, per Murderpedia, and he was arrested on the spot.

Investigators found pieces of evidence in Bonin's van, including knives, a nylon cord, and a scrapbook that documented his crimes. Upon interrogation, he confessed to being the Freeway Killer and said he had 21 victims. However, as reported by Thought Co., authorities believed that Bonin's body count may be higher. He was found guilty of 14 counts of murder and was sentenced to death. On February 23, 1996, Bonin became the first person executed via lethal injection in the state of California.