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Process of Writing Historical Serial Killer Bio of Bill Bonin—Years of Intense Work Takes Reader from Birth to Execution
Vonda Pelto, Ph.D.-- Serial Killer Expert Vonda Pelto, Ph.D.-- Serial Killer Expert
Long Beach, CA
Wednesday, May 17, 2023

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Los Angeles, CA—The process of writing Without Redemption: Creation & Deeds of Freeway Killer Bill Bonin, His Five Accomplices & How One Who Escaped Justice was a done in two parts. The last involved Vonda Pelto, Ph.D. and Michael B. Butler and involved four years of intense work on a daily basis.

First, Vonda Pelto, Ph.D., who knew Bonin from her work at LA Men's Central Jail, created the first draft over three years of sporadic work using reams of official investigative documents given to her by a former detective. Her recollections of meetings with Bonin and two accomplices were a key part of the story. Then, in January 2019, Michael B. Butler was brought in for the purpose of organizing and cleaning up the manuscript. After months of work, it was realized they had to start from square one.

First, Butler organized the over 40 boxes of documents by subject matter and chronologically. Second, he broke down the manuscript into small feeder files based on chronology. Large tables were stacked with folder files that were scrolled through, revamped, added to, and then marked up based on what was used in which area of the book. Thousands of pages of trial and interview transcripts were culled for material relevant to the story. In addition, over 400 newspaper articles, from all over the United States, were printed out to fill in story gaps and reveal what the public knew and didn't know.  

Bonin's nine years spent in mental hospitals and prisons, from July 1969 to October 1978, were represented by myriads of arrest, psych, progress, probation and parole reports. Many of these documents were filled with hospital or court codes that had to be researched, even then a proper understanding could be elusive. Butler often had to read numerous items multiple times in an effort to unlock their true meaning, this is an effort to successfully tell Bonin's story while charting his psychological evolution from abused child to sexual predator to serial killer.

Then there were Bonin's jailhouse diaries, covering shortly after his arrest in June 1980 till months before his trial in November 1981, and his 22 confession murder stories that covered August 4, 1979 to June 2, 1980. Bonin, with five occasional accomplices, ran wild for ten months till a lucky break ended his reign of terror. Written in longhand on legal pads supplied by his attorney, they were mostly legible and fairly well written. They gave the authors insight into Bonin's personality and contributed vital behind the scenes reports about attorneys, prosecutors, detectives, journalists, inmates, snitches, friends, family, LA Men's Central Jail and much more.

Topping it all off are interview sessions Pelto had, as a Clinical Psychologist working at the jail, with Bonin and two of his accomplices, Greg Miley and Jim Munro. These personal conversations, a number involving brutal murder stories, added keen insight into Bonin's demeanor and personality. Pelto's own difficult struggles dealing with other serial killers are also touched on in the book.   

Only after the book was completely finished did Michael B. Butler fully realize the importance of March 24, 1980, a day in the middle of Bonin's horrific murder spree when four people crossed paths and changed everything to follow.

The process of writing Without Redemption was truly a mind-bending experience. For example, when writing and editing the murder sequences, which took about five months, Butler was having nightmares all the time. To alleviate this problem, he began watching romantic comedies—the syrupier the better and high school ones were the best to wash his brain to begin anew the next day.

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What is Without Redemption:

The book was written on a number of parallel tracks that constantly intersect:

First, it is the most detailed historical biography ever written about Bill Bonin, the notorious Freeway Killer responsible for murdering 22 teenage boys over ten-months in 1979-80.

Second, it is a psychological roadmap which charts the evolution of Bonin's personality from abused child to sexual predator to serial killer. This is accomplished using documents from his childhood, war service, multiple California government mental health and penal institutions, witness testimony and the expertise of Clinical Psychologist Vonda Pelto, Ph.D., who had many sessions with Bonin and two of his accomplices while working in Los Angeles Men's Central Jail.   

Third, it is a narrative which, using long hidden documents, reveals the inner workings of Bonin's mind, showing how he thought, felt, planned and viewed the world. The narrative displays Bonin, an abused high school dropout, cleverly manipulating lawyers, judges, doctors, social workers, friends, family, probation officers, government bureaucrats, detectives, journalists and, most tragically, the innocent victims of his rage.

Fourth, Without Redemption reveals the complex story of what happened after Bonin's final arrest, when so much was in flux and so many moving parts were swirling about. Archived investigative documents, collected from a variety of sources, brings to light a number of surprising, shocking, sad and even funny events from those ten tumultuous months from June 1980 to March 1981.

Finally, it is a book which solves two 40-year-old murder mysteries and unlocks how one day of crossroads and coincidences, in the midst of the murder spree, profoundly impacted many lives and future events. 

The most detailed bio of serial killer Bill Bonin ever written using previously hidden documents.

  • How childhood abuse & Vietnam War service helped create what followed.
  • How Bonin manipulated California judicial, mental health & prison systems for nine years before the killings.
  • Interviews of Bonin, Miley & Munro with Vonda Pelto, Ph.D. before, during & after his Los Angeles trial.
  • Bonin's jailhouse writings offer new perspectives on his brutality, methods, thoughts and personality.
  • How & Why Bonin covered for accomplice Eric Wijnaendts, who helped him with two murders.
  • How & Why March 24, 1980 is a key date in the Bill Bonin story.

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.

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: Vonda Pelto
Dateline: Long Beach, CA United States
Direct Phone: 213-534-7292
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