Home > NewsRelease > Freeway Killer Prison Death Sparks Drive Time Discussion: Vonda Pelto, Ph.D. Worked with Greg Miley and Heard Stories First Hand
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Freeway Killer Prison Death Sparks Drive Time Discussion: Vonda Pelto, Ph.D. Worked with Greg Miley and Heard Stories First Hand
Vonda Pelto, Ph.D. -- Serial Killer Expert Vonda Pelto, Ph.D. -- Serial Killer Expert
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gregory Miley, Freeway Killer Beaten to Death at Mule Creek State Prison

In prison there is a code of sorts, child rapists and killers don't rate very well on that code of conduct and often end up as targets in a primitive form of divine retribution delivered by vicious humans whose personal stories leave scant room for judging fellow citizens. Last month prison justice caught up with Freeway Killer Gregory Miley when he was beaten to death at Mule Creek State Prison, just south of Sacramento, California. Vonda Pelto, author of Without Remorse: The Story of the Woman Who Kept Los Angeles' Serial Killers Alive, had extensive dealings with Miley and indeed spoke with him days before he met his maker. 

From 1979 to 1982 Vonda worked at Los Angeles Men's Central Jail, as a Ph.D. who had yet to pass state clinical psychologist licensing exams, with the task of keeping a diverse group of serial killers and criminals from harming themselves before facing peer generated justice. Freeway Killers ringleader, William Bonin, spoke with Vonda more than anyone else during those years, executed 1996. and Miley kept up correspondence and discussions with Pelto as she worked on a second book focusing solely on the Freeway Killers. A letter from William Bonin to Pelto can be read on her website at http://withoutremorsebook.com/where-are-the-serial-killers-and-sexual-predators-vonda-pelto-dealt-with-now/

Following Miley's prison death, John Phillips and Jillian Barberie, hosts of Drive Time on KABC Radio in Los Angeles, had Vonda on to talk about what happened, serial killers, her experience dealing with the Freeway Killers and more. Phillips, who has interviewed Pelto over the years, had a bit of a history with Miley thru his dealings with Vonda and that is talked about near the end of this discussion. 

Listen to the interview here and be warned the stories are pretty intense.

Random Thoughts from Vonda Pelto, Ph.D.:

None of the serial killers I worked with exhibited any psychotic symptoms. I would classify them all as psychopaths, someone who is callous, devoid of empathy, lacks remorse or feelings of guilt.

Having the ultimate power over life and death made them feel strong and reduced their feelings of inadequacy.  I believe there is nothing a therapist, even Freud himself, could have done to stop these killers.  There are three indicators of sadism in children: cruelty to animals, wetting the bed into adolescence, and setting fires.

Destruction of property can also be a predictor of aggressive behavior in adulthood.  Most serial killers are white male, often clean-cut, and look like the boy next door. Don't ever believe that you can pick out a killer or child molester by their looks. Even psychologists can't do that. I don't believe serial killers or child molesters can be

Rehabilitated. I also don't believe that the death penalty is a deterrent to a killer, but it does keep them from committing another murder. We do have a right to be protected. Probably being abandoned or abused as children plays a large part and contributes to their abhorrent behavior. But many people suffer sexual and physical abuse, and they don't become killers.

Just like you were born with certain characteristics, I believe these killers are born that way. They lack a conscience or empathy for other human beings. There is something missing in their genetic makeup—that's what allows them to torture and kill so easily.

Bottom line, albeit perhaps a bit too simplistic: We need more research to improve our ability to spot serial or mass murderers at young ages.


Excerpt from Without Remorse: The Story of the Woman Who Kept Los Angeles' Serial Killers Alive by Vonda Pelto, Ph.D. 


My sleep was fitful. My dreams weren't sweet. They involved killers chasing me, cornering me, trying to strangle me. Repeatedly, I tried to scream for help but nothing would come out. A metal gate slammed shut and I was trapped in the sally port with the Hillside Strangler. His hands were around my throat, choking the life out of me, making me grasp for air. Shtaff members pointed their fingers and laughed at me.  No one came to my rescue.

Gratefully, I woke up from the nightmare, at first disoriented, unaware of being in my own bed. I reached up and discovered Pywacket, my Siamese cat, curled around my throat. She was lying halfway across my mouth.

I opened my eyes and looked around the darkened bedroom, realizing I was safe. The clock chimed three. I curled up in a fetal position and pulled the covers up well over my head and struggled to go back to sleep, hoping not to have any more bad dreams.

It seemed like I had just fallen back asleep when "Jeremiah Was A Bull Frog" blared out from the clock radio. Six a.m.—time to get up. I walked to the shower in slow motion and stayed under the hot water until I looked like a prune.

Wanting to move silently down the long concrete corridors, unnoticed by the inmates, I decided to wear clothes that would match rubber-soled shoes. Standing in front of the mirror, I laughed at myself. Here I am, Dr. Pelto, building my wardrobe around quiet shoes, so I can vanish into the mustard-colored walls.

I ambled into the kitchen to the smell of fresh-brewing coffee, and Deanne standing at the stove scrambling eggs.  Bless her heart!

"Mom, how's it going at the jail?" She asked, stirring the eggs.

"Not sure I can handle it."  I poured each of us a cup, ambled to the breakfast table, and using a hand mirror, started putting on my makeup. This was a chance for us girls to catch up with each other's news. From the time my daughters started wearing make-up, we had performed this family ritual each morning.

As Tera entered the kitchen, I thought about how much I loved this time with them.

"Dr. Kline, my boss, introduced me to Lieutenant Chandler," I said to Deanne as she set the plates down on the table. "He's the head sheriff who runs the jail and has his offices on the first floor, close to the gate where I walk in each day.

You wouldn't believe his office décor: brown and yellow plaid wallpaper. Strictly the fifties look. Bizarre! The deputies hang around in there and use a couple of old banged up wooden desks to do their paperwork.

"Do you have your own office?" Deanne asked.

"Not yet. Sure hope I get one today, though. It's uncomfortable sitting in the clinical office and being ignored by the staff. Ron has asked me to organize them to clean up this big filing mess, and they aren't happy about it."

"Are you scared of the inmates?" Deanne then asked.

"Sure, a little. But there are always a lot of deputies around and they aren't going to let anything happen to me." I hoped.

"How are you going to stand working with those slime balls?"  Tera wanted to know.

"I don't know yet. For now, I just can't let myself think about what they have done."

I finished my make-up, picked at my breakfast with little appetite, shoved the dishes into the dishwasher, and turned off the coffeepot. After kissing the girls goodbye, I drove back to the Men's Central Jail, hoping Ron would make plans for my supervision.

It was drizzling rain and at times the traffic came to a complete stop. The slow pace was okay; in fact, I appreciated the forty-five minutes it took me to get downtown.  I would be meeting with Jim Munro, one of the Freeway Killers this morning.  This didn't seem real. But then, working in the Men's Jail didn't seem real, either.


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