The Freeway Killer was a nickname given by the media—and later police forces—to what they believed was a single serial killer claiming victims in California, USA during the 1970s and often dumping the victims along the freeways. However, there turned out to be three Freeway Killers who operated independently of each other, but just happened to select similar victims from similar locations. Initially, police did not believe these were the product of any serial killer, insisting the murders were isolated incidents.
The three killers were:
They selected young men as victims, often picking them up from roadside bars or hitch-hiking along the freeways. Their methods did vary; Bonin sexually assaulted the victims then killed them to prevent witnesses, Kearney shot his victims quickly then indulged in dismemberment and necrophilia whilst Kraft was a sadist who tortured his victims after drugging them.
Kearney killed a total 28 young boys and men. Bonin Killed 20 young boys and men police suspect he was the cause for 15 other deaths. Kraft killing the most out of all three serial killers, took 67 lives.
Kearney was very thin as a child, and often sick he was bullied by schoolmates and at home, he often thought about killing people as a young boy. His first murder was a hitchhiker he had picked up, tortured and killed. Kearney’s lover, David Hill helped him with his sick hobby. Kearney fell into the habit of luring his victims from gay bars, or picking up hitchhikers. He would sometimes shoot the men, and then slowly rip them apart, limb by limb. He would usually wrap the bodies in a trash bag and dump them next to a freeway. Kearney’s final murder was at his home. John LaMay went over Kearney’s house to visit David Hill, while waiting for Hill, Kearney shot LaMay in the back of the head. Kearney and Hill ran from the cops for a few weeks, but eventually turned themselves in. Hill was free to go after the investigation. Kearney confessed to the murders of 28 boys and men and pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty; he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison.
Kraft was enrolled in the U.S Air Force, but was released after confessing to his family that he was gay. He had to return to his first career, bar-tending at a local gay bar. Joseph Dukette was considered Kraft's first victim, Dukette was also a gay bartender; his body was found by a highway his clothes or belongings were never found. All of Kraft's victims were boys or men, some were castrated, burned, drugged, most had high levels of alcohol and tranquilizers in their blood systems.
The trio of killers claimed at least 110 victims between them. None of them knew each other during their crime sprees, although Bonin and Kraft became acquainted while on Death Row.