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Ending Hollywood Writer Strike Brings New Productions, ‘Without Redemption,’ Detailed Serial Killer, Candidate for a Mini-Series
Michael Butler - Author - Historian - Ghostwriter Michael Butler - Author - Historian - Ghostwriter
Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Final Page of a Letter from Bill Bonin to Vonda Pelto, Ph.D., co-author of 'Without Redemption.'

Los Angeles, CA—As the final stages of the Hollywood writer's strike are wrapped up, and dormant projects get revived while new properties are pursued, a blast of pent-up production energy is about to be unleashed on the world. Serial killer projects, many based on books, have been a fan favorite over the last ten years and show no sign of letting up. Without Redemption: Creation & Deeds of Freeway Killer Bill Bonin, His Five Accomplices & How One Who Escaped Justice, by Clinical Psychologist Vonda Pelto and Michael Butler, offers a multi-layered, in-depth view inside the mind of a notorious serial killer, William "Bill" Bonin.

It is not very often that authors are able to draw on the amount of historical material which Pelto and Butler had on hand, for it comprised over 40 boxes of official investigative documents gifted to Pelto by former public official and sheriff's detective. Impossible to obtain records of Bonin's nine years, 1969 to 1978, spent in California mental hospitals and prisons gives the reader a view into Bonin's keen sociopathic skills in manipulation. Everyone from judges, lawyers, psychiatrists, parole officers, law enforcement officers, social workers, fellow inmates and guards were subject to his deadly charms.   

But the heart of Without Redemption is undoubtedly the handwritten jailhouse diaries and murder confession stories penned by Bonin in the months leading up to his much anticipated first trial, in LA Superior Court. A firsthand view of each murder is punctuated by Bonin's daily diary as events swirl around Bonin and his accomplices. Bonin interacting with his defense attorney, law enforcement investigators, prosecutors, journalists, family, friends and those housed around him is fascinating, scary, sad, colorful, informative and sometimes funny.

It is within those diary entries that the authors solved two 40-year-old homicide mysteries; indeed they were able to pin down exactly how and why Bonin covered for one of his five accomplices.

Make no mistake about it, Without Redemption provides a solid foundation for movie or TV mini-series. Bonin's inner thoughts were candidly put to paper in those solitary hours in his cell within the high security wing of LA Men's Central Jail, adjacent to other notorious serial killers such Hillside Stranglers Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, Sunset Strip Slayer Douglas Clark and others.

Without Redemption Official Book Trailer

Here is an excerpt from the book which reflects Bonin's mindset a few months after his final arrest:  

Holidays at LA Men's Central Jail, December 19 to 31, 1980

    Three of the five Bonin Freeway Killer suspects then in custody have gone through their prelims as the Christmas season began. Munro will have his hearing on December 22. Bonin was going to spend yet another Christmas behind bars, but this time with no hope of ever gaining release. Three weeks of intense activity gave way to a short period of relative calm characterized by updates from concerned parties and enlightening snapshots of life in LA County Men's Central Jail. 

    On Friday, December 19 Bonin was filled with guilt and recriminations about "how I got mixed up in all this." He wrote that, once he started killing, it "became like a compulsion that I just couldn't stop. When I got up-tight I would go out and kill. Sometimes after I killed I looked for another on my way home. I got so I was always looking for a victim. I'd even use my money for gas before eating. The gas was necessary so I could search out more victims." He laid awake at night thinking it was the "end of a hellatious nightmare. I'm glad it's over."

    Neglect, childhood abuse, war and institutional shortfalls all created the man which the world was learning about, however, as previously mentioned, a possible childhood frontal lobe brain injury may have also contributed to the disaster. Contemplating his mother seeing him get the Gas Chamber saddened him. Alice believed he was innocent and, like most everyone else, didn't know Bonin spilled the whole story to detectives in a bid to help Eric, and hopefully himself. Two months earlier, Bonin's father passed away from an extended illness due to a series of strokes.

    During a visit with his mother, on Friday, December 19, he wrote about the struggle dealing with her, "The hardest thing to do was to sit and tell Mom that I was innocent. I knew I was guilty and I just had to keep saying that I was innocent. She read in the papers that Greg Miley confessed and wanted to know how he could say that? I told her he said that the day he was arrested. I pointed out that he still pled innocent at both the Municipal arraignment and the one in Superior Court. She told me that the truth had to come out. She didn't care what happened to her. The truth had to come out."

The first review below is from Paul Cheston, UK True Crime author, followed by some of the best reviews of Without Redemption which are on Amazon.

Unique & Amazing Serial Killer Biography

I would unreservedly recommend Without Redemption as the most profound analysis of a serial killer I have read.

It is based on unprecedented access to probation, medical, psychiatric reports, police statements and court documents, and, as an author and journalist, I know how difficult, nay impossible, it is to gain access to such a treasure trove of detail and insight.

But most importantly it has the unique perspective of Vonda Pelto's own interviews with Bonin and his accomplices and the mass killer's own handwritten diaries.

The authors spare no one in exposing how Bonin was allowed to game the system and names of those professionals and institutions which put their own vested interests ahead of their duty to have him locked up long before he even started his killing spree.

Michael Butler has a light writing style which keeps the pace moving briskly and never loses the balance between explaining why Bonin killed and the devastating impact of this need to kill on the victims and their families.

5 Stars—Wonderful book about a very disturbing serial killer case

This book was written by Dr. Vonda Pelto, who is a psychologist hired to give help and support to the high profile inmates of the Los Angeles County Jail after one of William Bonin's aka The Freeway Killer's codefendants committed suicide while awaiting trial for participating in six murders with William Bonin. After that happened they immediately hired Dr. Pelto to help give the high profile inmates by listening to them and she prevented any more high profile inmates from taking their own lives.

Cate in Columbia

5 Stars—Inside the mind of a serial killer!

Reviewed in the United States on July 26, 2023, Verified Purchase

Wow this is an amazing book written by a someone who got into the soul of a killer. I loved this book, though I may have difficulty sleeping tonight!

5 Stars—All the Makings of Compelling Serial Killer Movie or Mini-Series

Without Redemption sets itself apart from other serial killer bios with the sheer volume of factual detail, one which reads like historical biographies of famous leaders. Freeway Killer Bill Bonin's whole life is laid out and this allows the authors to carefully track his 30-year journey/descent into murderous depravity. I have worked on a number of productions about serial killers and murderers most recently "The Patient" staring Steve Carell and Domhnall Gleason for FX Productions, and this book has all the elements for a compelling movie, mini-series or docudrama.

First, you have Bonin's detailed diaries/written confessions which give an inside view of everything; Second, the co-author, Vonda Pelto, Ph.D., having ersatz counseling/confession sessions with three of the six Freeway Killers in jail; Third, reams of documentary evidence about Bonin's childhood, war service, years in mental hospitals and prisons followed by the months leading up to the murder spree. Next are Bonin's carefully written stories of the 22 killings all over Southern California, the journalists reporting on his activities and the detectives chasing him.

Then, after his arrest everyone jumps in the pool together to hash out the penultimate act. Cases are gett built, deals negotiated and more suspects pursued. Political backstabbing, deception, lying and coverups, which is followed by Bonin's huge trial and the final curtain in this tragic drama.

Generous use of newspaper stories fill in the gaps and the whole book moves rapidly forward without too much lollygagging. 'Without Redemption' is as close to a complete serial killer historical biography that one might find.

5 Stars—Co-author Vonda Pelto is Actually a Player in This Serial Killer Bio

My surprise in this book was how co-author, Clinical Psychologist Vonda Pelto, Ph.D., actually participated in the story about the life of Freeway Killer Bill Bonin---she dealt with Bonin and two of his accomplices while working at Los Angeles Central Jail. Pelto had numerous sessions with all three, and other horrible serial killers, and had to listen to their ghastly stories, told in some ways to see her reactions and in other ways to relive their crimes. Her disgust is evident, but she hides it during discussions with Bonin, Miley, and Munro, where they all talked about murders in detail.

Aside from that 'Without Redemption' is interesting because it is the story of one person's slow march to becoming an unfeeling monster. It was scary how the killing took over his life, kind of like Gollum in 'Lord of the Rings', it simply swallowed him up.

The authors really packed in the factual stories of Bonin's life, from birth all the way through months and months of day-to-day events after his arrest, when the system was gearing up and he was trying to make a deal to avoid the death penalty. This part of the book is when very public events are analyzed from inside and outside, and where big surprises pop up.

A thoroughly fascinating and engaging read.

5 Stars—How a Serial Killer Gets to That Uncaring Place

Bill Bonin's 32-year journey to becoming a serial killer is laid out step by step in a way that highlights where and when his ultimate fate may have been derailed, but it was not to be. Terrific biography of the infamous Freeway Killer, one told from many perspectives as outside events impacted his life again and again.

Everything is placed in proper historical context as rapidly changing societal values swirled around the existence of this broken man, one who ripped a hole in so many families and communities. Authors deserve praise for getting so many small details correct, some that matter intensely.

You won't be disappointed in 'Without Redemption' at all. Can't wait for the movie!

Without Redemption is currently available on Amazon, Kobo and Google Play and has found interested readers in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe.

Without Redemption: Creation & Deeds of Freeway Killer Bill Bonin, His Five Accomplices & How One Escaped Justice, Paperback ISBN: 979-8841931249, Hard Cover ISBN: 979-8844477775. For more info go to www.WithoutRedemption.com and purchase copies at Amazon, Google Play or Kobo.

Media Contact: For interviews or to request review copies contact Flotsam PR at 319-504-3788 or flotsampr@pm.me.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Michael Butler
Dateline: Los Angeles, CA United States
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