How Serial Killer Thinks in Writing & Speaking—Bill Bonin’s Diary Segments in ‘Without Redemption’ Reveals the Difference
July 9, 2023
Los Angeles, CA—Criminologists, detectives, psychologists, psychiatrists and the public are fascinated by how serial killers think—what drove them to and how they rationalize their horrendous crimes? We know that people will generally reveal more in writing than speaking, and logic indicates this trait might be amplified in serial killers. When writing Without Redemption, a detailed historical biography about Freeway Killer Bill Bonin, who killed 22 boys in ten months, the authors had multiple examples of both to contrast and compare.
In terms of Bonin speaking to people about his crimes there are three: 1) Without Redemption co-author Vonda Pelto, Ph.D., a Clinical Psychologist, had numerous sessions with Bonin and two of his accomplices at LA Men’s Central Jail. Second, they had complete transcripts from the famous December 1980 Bonin-Detective Confession interview transcripts. Third, the authors had large amounts of nearly impossible to obtain official records from Bonin’s nine-years spent in California mental hospitals and prisons 1969-78. The last one shows the serial killer in waiting peeking through during sessions with doctors, social workers and Psych Techs.
Keep in mind Bonin was a high school dropout who obtained his GED while serving in the U.S. Army before his Vietnam combat tour, the latter during the intensely violent 1969 Tet Offensive. When Vonda Pelto was given over 40 boxes of Bonin investigative docs, by a former public official, she was amazed to find photocopies of his long hidden, handwritten jailhouse diaries/murder confession stories. Penned on legal pads in the months before his trial, in November-December 1981, they reveal private facets of Bonin’s complicated and twisted personality. Aside from the detailed murder stories, still fresh in his mind, the diaries chronicle all that was swirling around the biggest mass murder case in Southern California history.
Bonin’s writing shows a keen ability to analyze personalities and motives of prosecutors, defense attorneys, accomplices, journalists, witnesses, jailhouse snitches, fellow inmates, friends and more. Describing daily life in the high-profile section of the jail, Bonin gets introspective and reveals a fascinating situational insight, an eye for detail and a sense of humor. This is really a unique section of one of the most detailed serial killer bios ever written, Without Redemption: Creation & Deeds of Freeway Killer Bill Bonin, His Five Accomplices & How One Who Escaped Justice.
Being able to put the Speaking and Writing side by side gives Without Redemption a kaleidoscopic look at Bonin the shape shifter, someone who could be all things to all people and altered his manipulative tactics on the fly while bamboozling the smart, intelligent and naïve.
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.