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The Vietnam War is to blame for the 14...

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- The Vietnam War is to blame for the 14 murders committed by Freeway Killer William Bonin, his attorney said Wednesday in urging jurors not to mete out a second death penalty against the defendant.

But Orange County prosecutors said Bonin deserves to die in the California gas chamber in part because he killed 14 boys in an escalating pattern of violence for his own sexual gratification.

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Bonin, 36, a former truck driver, was convicted Aug. 2 of the sex and torture murders of four teenage boys and faces only two possible punishments: life in prison without parole or death.

The same jury that convicted him is hearing evidence in the trial's penalty phase and is expected to begin deliberating Bonin's fate Thursday.

Bonin was sentenced to death last year after being convicted in Los Angeles County of 10 similar murders.

Defense attorney William Charvet contended Bonin, a helicopter machine-gunner in Vietnam, was not violent until after his military service.

However, Bonin's mother, Alice Benton, and his older brother, Robert Bonin Jr., testified they noticed no change in Bonin when he returned from Vietnam in 1968.

Bonin's younger brother, Paul, testified he had even dubbed the defendant 'Goody Two-Shoes' as a youth because of his caring attitude towards others.

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'He'd give the shirt off his back,' the younger Bonin said.

But Deputy District Attorney Bryan Brown painted a different picture of Bonin for jurors.

'I don't think Mr. Bonin deserves any sympathy,' Brown said. 'Mr. Bonin doesn't deserve our pity either. The defendant embarked on a course of action to kill little boys for his own sexual gratification.'

Brown noted that placing photographs of Bonin's victims in death in chronological order revealed an increasing level of violence in the killings.

'These boys didn't die a pleasant death,' Brown said. 'They were extremely violent deaths.'

Bonin was dubbed the Freeway Killer because the bodies of his victims were found near Southern California freeways.

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