Without Redemption: Vonda Pelto: PH.D and Michael B. Butler
Everyone deserves love, caring, respect and a family that supports them. Everyone deserves schools to make sure that they are safe, not abused and protected. What happens when all that fails and the world ignores three children that have abusive parents, abusive relatives, friends that molest these children, brothers who grow up hating each other and crimes committed just because they could. No food at times, stealing, committing small crimes and yet nothing stopped these three brothers from hurting each other, taking bold and dangerous chances and finally the result is what this true crime novel is about.
This book is chilling and as you hear the voice of Bonin the fear within those that were his victims comes through inside the reader. Called the Freeway Killer he murdered 22 teenage boys over then months. Next, the author creates a mosaic pattern filled with squares that have pictures of his life, a timeline of his childhood and images of a young Bonin that never had a smile on his face, never felt warmth or love and worse lived-in mental health and penal institutions. Hearing the voices of witnesses and the author, Vonda Pelto, who had many sessions with him, wondering if she was fearful, telling how she felt about his sessions and understanding that there were two others what were in on with him.
The narrative shows that there is a lot of research done by both authors, hidden documents and unraveling the mind of this killer. He does not hesitate to state he was abused as a child by his father, brother and others. He had a distorted view of the world. He was abused in school, high school dropout, manipulative, smart, able to food lawyers, judges, doctors, family, detectives and more. No remorse, no thought of his actions, the deaths and the murders plus he explains how and why he became a pedophile of sorts, the graphic information about what he does to several teens, his reasoning and why are bone chilling.
The book is told in timeline fashion, dates are given, places where he was housed, the scary mental institution, the stark and bleak conditions plus the jailhouse diaries and how he managed to manipulate events but not able to stop the result.
His family life is abusive, horrific and even the teachers, the police, the judges and doctors did nothing to change his environment and living in a loveless home made it worse. It might have even justified what he did in his own mind since it was done to him.
As the book progresses and Bonin is in and out of institutions both psychiatric and jails or prisons he denies at times, admits his guilt and yet for some reason his reign of terror begins in 1979 and the result is terrifying. No remorse, no regrets and yet getting someone to work along with him the author graphically describes each murder he did with Butts and those he did alone.
Throughout this historical biography we hear many voices that of the author as she explains her interactions with Bonin over an extended period. The doctors at the hospitals that tried to create the right picture of this man’s mental issues, the red tape, the way he manipulated the lawyers, doctors, patients and how within a psychiatric center of any other medical facility he still abused, raped and injured so many innocent others.
The killings became and are called the Freeway serial killer killings as Bonin terrorized California in only one year. A huge and horrific murder spree in which he manages to get the help of five others. This historical biography deals with the killings, the five accomplices, one that escapes justice and the outcome. Each chapter describes how he kills each young person either with help or alone. Using authentic documents of his childhood, time in Vietnam, mental health facilities, and testimonies of witnesses, Dr.Pelto strikes some serious chords as she talks about her sessions with Bonin, two men that worked along with him while she worked in Los Angeles in the Men’s Central Jail.
The narratives contain documents that were hidden, explains the innermost horrific thoughts of this person, explains it from his viewpoint and how he manipulated and orchestrated it from the start. He showed no remorse, abused in schools, by adults, dropped out of high school and fooled and manipulated lawyers, doctors, social workers, friends, family and even his probation office and more. The worst his victims luring them into his car or other areas.
This book solves the two 40-year-old murder mysteries and unleashes how one man created a murder spree that would ever impact so many lives. The chapters that include the murders are cold, horrific and in part three he is in custody and Munro skips town. What is the outcome of all of this is revealed in Part Three June 12, 1980, to August 1981. LAPD Sgt. John St. John and Sgt. David Kushner of the LA County Sheriff’s departs handled the case. The case deteriorates when Bonin stated killed on August 4, 1979, chapter 44 is explosive, explicit and in the end he had killed six with Vernon Daniel Butts, William Ray Pugh and James Michael Munro.
In chapter 45 we meet Scott Fraser and hear his words during an interest, Butts and Munro are arrested too and the charges are huge. Fraser later he was introduced to Pendleton by Bonin and three weeks later he was arrested for selling drugs and let to believe he would be charged with time served. Fraser was right in believing the detective investigating Bonin target him and it only gets worse. He and Bonin were close, and he knew about Bonin killing Markus Graps but not anything else.
The timeline continues until part four with arrests, deals, deaths, court appearances and the final outcome described in chapter 56: Vonda Pelto arrives at the LA Men’s Country Jail August 1981 and from this point on we hear her voice as she is at the jail aside from the four Freeway killers, Bonin, Miley, Munro and Pugh there were many other vicious and notorious killers in the past. Complete in PH>S in psychology with little experience no license her options were limited and that is how and why she wound up here. Her cell office is located on the second floor, amongst the killers and the assignment was simple yet complete How would you feel about meeting with high profile murders and other sorted miscreates on a weekly basis and must file reports about them and made available. Their lack of moral being was a form of evil power wall by itself the rest is chilling.
Her first session with Bonin is described in Chapter 57 and from this point on you can tell she was not comfortable, uneasy to say the lease and yet her prospect of talking with him stated her heart to race. She locked the door, walked to where she was meeting him, and from this point on after reading the reports on him, she shows more than just courage facing him.
His demeanor, his attitude and his body seem to from smaller and he even seemed a little lets under control a deputy walked in and stated his lawyer waw there, left of out of the office and then thinking she was safe but his was dangerous. She became overwhelmed aby the nature of who she was dealing with, and she filed as evil without redemption. The final chapters encompass her interview with Bonin, then Greg Miley, court delays and lawyer changes, roadblocks, and jury selection and more. Postponements, final verdict and then the outcome in 1996. Chilling, told in first person and in the voices of so many you wonder just how she deal with someone who deserved to end his life WITHOUT REDEMPTION. Two authors, compelling and disturbing novel, events that are chilling and in the end read the epilogue to be further enlightened. A must read historical biography.
Fran Lewis Just reviews