LOS ANGELES -- William Bonin, the prime suspect in the gruesome string of homosexual 'Freeway Killer' slayings, has pleaded innocent to charges he killed 14 young men and boys.
Bonin, a 33-year-old truckdriver from suburban Downey, entered the pleas Friday and Superior Court Judge Julius Leetham ordered him to return to court Jan. 7 for pre-trial motions and the setting of a trial date.
Prosecutor Aaron Stovitz described Bonin as 'the most arch-evil person who ever existed' and said he expected the trial to start sometime in May.
Bonin also pleaded innocent to several counts of sodomy, mayhem and robbery. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
Another suspect in the grisly case, in which several of the bodies were sexually abused or mutilated, was arraigned on five counts of murder and several other charges. Vernon Butts, 23, an amateur magician who also lived in Downey, had his plea delayed until Jan. 7.
Authorities believe Bonin was involved in each of what became known as the 'Freeway Killings, a string of more than 40 slayings stretching over several counties for the past eight years. He faces charges in 14 of the slayings.
Bonin was arrested late last year while allegedly having sex in his van with a teen-age boy. Officers had been tailing him as a suspect in one of the 'Freeway Killings.'
His arrest led to the arrests of Butts and three other young men who have been charged in various killings. Gregory Miley, 19, James Munro, 19, and Eric Wijaendts, 20, are all in custody in the case.