People v. Bonin, Nos. 22530

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtMOSK; LUCAS; BROUSSARD
Citation47 Cal.3d 808,765 P.2d 460,254 Cal.Rptr. 298
Parties, 765 P.2d 460 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. William George BONIN, Defendant and Appellant. Crim.
Decision Date09 January 1989
Docket NumberNos. 22530,S004440

Page 298

254 Cal.Rptr. 298
47 Cal.3d 808, 765 P.2d 460
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
William George BONIN, Defendant and Appellant.
Crim. Nos. 22530, S004440.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
Jan. 9, 1989.
Rehearing Denied March 2, 1989.

[47 Cal.3d 819]

Page 303

[765 P.2d 465] Frank O. Bell, Jr., under appointment by the Supreme Court, and Monica Knox, Chief Asst. State Public Defender, for defendant and appellant.

John K. Van de Kamp, Atty. Gen., Steve White, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., Michael D. Wellington and Steven H. Zeigen, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

MOSK, Justice.

This is an automatic appeal from a judgment of death (Pen.Code, § 1239, subd. (b)) imposed under the 1978 death penalty law (id., § 190.1 et seq.).

In an information filed on January 2, 1981, defendant was charged with the murder of Donald Hyden, David Murillo, Robert Wirostek, Darin Lee Kendrick, Sean King, "John Doe," Marcus Grabs, Thomas Lundgren, Charles Miranda, James Macabe, Ronald Gatlin, Harry Todd Turner, Steven Wood, and Steven Wells. (Pen.Code, § 187.) He was also charged with robbing all of the above-named persons with the exception of Wirostek, King, and "John Doe" (id., § 211); with sodomizing Grabs (id., § 286, subd. (b)(1), (c)); and with committing mayhem on Lundgren (id., § 203). The information contained numerous allegations. For example, as to each murder count a multiple-murder special circumstance was alleged (id., § 190.2, subd. (a)(3)); as to each, with the exception of the counts involving Wirostek, King, and "John Doe," a felony-murder-robbery special circumstance was also alleged (id., § 190.2, subd. (a)(17)(i)); and as to the count involving Grabs a felony-murder-sodomy special circumstance was alleged (id., § 190.2, subd. (a)(17)(iv)). Defendant pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations. Subsequently, the counts charging the murder of Wirostek and "John Doe" were dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 995.

On October 19, 1981, trial by jury commenced. Defendant was acquitted of murdering King and Lundgren, of sodomizing Grabs, and of committing mayhem on Lundgren, but was otherwise found guilty as charged. With the exception of the felony-murder-sodomy special-circumstance allegation, all the special circumstance allegations were found true. Defendant received the penalty of death for each of the 10 murder convictions.

As we shall explain, we conclude that except as to the "multiple" multiple-murder special-circumstance findings, the judgment must be affirmed in its entirety.

47 Cal.3d 820

Page 304

I. THE FACTS

As a result of his activities in Southern California in the years 1979 and 1980, defendant--who was then in his early 30's--was dubbed the "Freeway Killer" and his murders the "freeway killings." After he was tried in this Los Angeles County proceeding, he was tried in Orange County action No. C-47500. There he was convicted of the first degree murder and robbery of Dennis Frank Fox, Glenn Barker, Russell Rugh, and Lawrence Sharp; as to each murder count a multiple-murder special-circumstance allegation was found true; and for each murder he received the penalty of death.

The evidence introduced at the guilt phase of this action--insofar as it concerns the crimes of which defendant was convicted--tells the following story.

On August 6, 1979, the nude body of 17-year-old Marcus Grabs was found in Malibu Canyon near Las Virgenes Canyon Road; except for the victim's backpack, no clothing or other identifying evidence was discovered at the scene. Grabs had been killed by multiple stab wounds on August 5. The body showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere and exhibited ligature marks on one ankle as well as on the neck.

On August 27, 1979, the nude body of 15-year-old Donald Hyden was found in the area of Liberty Canyon near the Ventura Freeway; no clothing or other identifying evidence was discovered at the scene. Hyden had been killed by ligature strangulation about August 25 or 26. The body [765 P.2d 466] showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere, exhibited ligature marks on at least one ankle and wrist as well as on the neck, and revealed indications of sexual activity before death.

On September 12, 1979, the nude body of David Murillo was found alongside the Ventura Freeway near the Lemon Grove overpass; no clothing or other identifying evidence was discovered at the scene. Murillo had been killed by ligature strangulation about September 9 or 10. The body showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere, exhibited ligature marks on the wrists as well as on the neck, and revealed indications of sexual activity before death.

On February 3, 1980, the nude body of 15-year-old Charles Miranda was found in an alley in downtown Los Angeles; no clothing or other identifying evidence was discovered at the scene. Miranda had been killed by ligature strangulation the same day. The body showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere, exhibited ligature marks on at least one ankle and wrist [47 Cal.3d 821] as well as on the neck, and revealed indications of sexual activity before death.

On February 6, 1980, the fully clothed body of 12-year-old James Macabe was found near Walnut Drive in Walnut in front of the Pomona Freeway; no identifying evidence other than the clothing was discovered at the scene. Macabe had been killed by ligature strangulation on February 3. The body showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere, exhibited ligature marks on at least one ankle and wrist as well as on the neck, and revealed indications of sexual activity before death.

On March 15, 1980, the nude body of 19-year-old Ronald Gatlin was found near Central Avenue in Duarte; no clothing or other identifying evidence was discovered at the scene. Gatlin had been killed by ligature strangulation on March 14 or 15. The body showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere, exhibited ligature marks on at least one ankle and wrist as well as on the neck, and revealed indications of sexual activity before death.

On March 25, 1980, the nude body of 14-year-old Harry Todd Turner was found in an alley in Los Angeles; no clothing or other identifying evidence was discovered at the scene. Turner had been killed by ligature strangulation sometime on or after March 20. The body showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere, exhibited ligature marks on the neck, and revealed indications of sexual activity before death.

On April 11, 1980, the nude body of 16-year-old Steven Wood was found in an alley in Long Beach near the Pacific Coast Highway; no clothing or other identifying

Page 305

evidence was discovered at the scene. Wood had been killed by ligature strangulation on April 10 or 11. The body showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere and exhibited ligature marks on at least one ankle and wrist as well as on the neck.

On April 30, 1980, the nude body of 19-year-old Darin Lee Kendrick was found on Avalon Street in Carson near the Artesia Freeway; no clothing or other identifying evidence was discovered at the scene. Kendrick had been killed by ligature strangulation and a stab wound to the upper cervical spinal cord on April 29 or 30. The body showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere and exhibited ligature marks on at least one ankle and wrist as well as on the neck.

On June 3, 1980, the nude body of 18-year-old Steven Wells was found behind a gasoline station in Huntington Beach; no clothing or other identifying evidence was discovered at the scene. Wells had been killed by ligature [47 Cal.3d 822] strangulation on June 2. The body showed signs of beating about the face and elsewhere, exhibited ligature marks on at least one ankle and wrist as well as on the neck, and revealed indications of sexual activity before death.

In order to establish that it was defendant who had perpetrated the killings, the prosecution called to the stand Gregory Miley and James Munro.

Miley, a sexual partner of defendant and about 19 years old at the time relevant here, testified that it was defendant who was responsible for the death of Miranda and Macabe. Specifically, he said that he [765 P.2d 467] was with defendant as defendant was driving a van he owned on the night of February 2, 1980; defendant picked up Miranda in Hollywood in the early morning hours of February 3, and consensually sodomized him in the back of the van; defendant whispered to Miley, "The kid's going to die," and then started to tie up the youth; defendant asked, "What does your dad want for you? How much do you think we can get for ransom? Maybe a couple thousand?," and Miranda responded, "I don't think that I can get that much"; defendant asked, "How much money do you have?," and Miranda replied, "About $6"; defendant told Miley to take the money, and he complied; Miley said, "Well, why don't you let the kid go?," and defendant answered, "No, man, he'll know the van and he'll know us"; with Miley's help defendant proceeded to beat Miranda and to strangle him with a shirt and to crush his neck with a jack handle; defendant and Miley dumped Miranda's nude body in an alley and disposed of his clothing in various locations.

After doing the deed, Miley continued, defendant said, "Well, I'm horny again. I need another one," Miley responded, "Oh, man, no way. I don't want to do it no more. I just want to go home," but defendant went ahead and eventually picked up Macabe in Huntington Beach in the early afternoon of the same day, February 3, 1980; not long afterwards, defendant and the boy engaged in consensual sexual activity in the van; the trio then drove on; again defendant and the boy engaged in consensual sexual activity; soon, however, defendant started to tie up Macabe; he asked, "What could you get for ransom?," and stated, "This is a kidnap"; the boy tried to fight back; with Miley's help defendant proceeded to beat Macabe and to strangle him...

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258 practice notes
  • Bonin v. Calderon, Nos. 92-56299
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 28, 1995
    ...appeal to the California Supreme Court, the Los Angeles and Orange County convictions and death sentences were affirmed. People v. Bonin, 47 Cal.3d 808, 254 Cal.Rptr. 298, 765 P.2d 460 (1989) (Los Angeles); People v. Bonin, 46 Cal.3d 659, 250 Cal.Rptr. 687, 758 P.2d 1217 (1988) (Orange Coun......
  • People v. Horning, No. S044677.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 16, 2004
    ...the term, "independent felonious purpose"].) Compare also our description of the requirement in People v. Bonin (1989) 47 Cal.3d 808, 850, 254 Cal.Rptr. 298, 765 P.2d 460, which uses the language, "in order to advance an independent felonious purpose," but does not addit......
  • Bonin v. Vasquez, No. CV 91-0693-ER.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • November 9, 1992
    ...appeal, the California Supreme Court held that petitioner failed to demonstrate any adverse effect from the conflict. People v. Bonin, 47 Cal.3d 808, 254 Cal.Rptr. 298, 318, 765 P.2d 460, 479 (1989). Charvet, the court observed, conducted a "broad and deep" cross-examination of Mu......
  • People v. Cox, No. S004703.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 9, 2003
    ...15 of the California Constitution, includes the right to representation that is free from conflicts of interest. (People v. Bonin (1989) 47 Cal.3d 808, 833, 254 Cal.Rptr. 298, 765 P.2d 460 (Bonin).) 70 P.3d 295 To establish a federal constitutional violation, a defendant who fails to object......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
258 cases
  • Bonin v. Calderon, Nos. 92-56299
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 28, 1995
    ...appeal to the California Supreme Court, the Los Angeles and Orange County convictions and death sentences were affirmed. People v. Bonin, 47 Cal.3d 808, 254 Cal.Rptr. 298, 765 P.2d 460 (1989) (Los Angeles); People v. Bonin, 46 Cal.3d 659, 250 Cal.Rptr. 687, 758 P.2d 1217 (1988) (Orange Coun......
  • People v. Horning, No. S044677.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 16, 2004
    ...the term, "independent felonious purpose"].) Compare also our description of the requirement in People v. Bonin (1989) 47 Cal.3d 808, 850, 254 Cal.Rptr. 298, 765 P.2d 460, which uses the language, "in order to advance an independent felonious purpose," but does not addit......
  • Bonin v. Vasquez, No. CV 91-0693-ER.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • November 9, 1992
    ...appeal, the California Supreme Court held that petitioner failed to demonstrate any adverse effect from the conflict. People v. Bonin, 47 Cal.3d 808, 254 Cal.Rptr. 298, 318, 765 P.2d 460, 479 (1989). Charvet, the court observed, conducted a "broad and deep" cross-examination of Mu......
  • People v. Cox, No. S004703.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 9, 2003
    ...15 of the California Constitution, includes the right to representation that is free from conflicts of interest. (People v. Bonin (1989) 47 Cal.3d 808, 833, 254 Cal.Rptr. 298, 765 P.2d 460 (Bonin).) 70 P.3d 295 To establish a federal constitutional violation, a defendant who fails to object......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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