Copy Link URLCopied! Print James Michael Munro had planned to die on Wednesday of this week, June 17, his 37th birthday.
Munro has been in prison 18 years for his accomplice role in one of the murders by William G. Bonin, dubbed by police as the Freeway Killer. Bonin, a Downey truck driver, confessed to the rape-murders of 21 male youths in Orange and Los Angeles counties during a shocking two-year killing spree.
He was executed at San Quentin two years ago.
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Munro has taken the rather dramatic, naive and unorthodox step of formally asking that he too be executed. Munro first made this request of Gov. George Deukmejian inalso with a June 17 execution date. Governor Wilson, Munro said, did not bother to respond to this second request.
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Execute me, parole me or give me a new trial. Because Munro, like a lot of people with time on their hands in prison, is now convinced the system did him in.
But he did himself in. Munro is serving 15 years to life, following his second-degree murder plea, at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, just south of Sacramento.
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I interviewed him through a series of collect telephone calls he made. But then, Munro was typical of the kinds of young men who hung around with the year-old truck driver.
Skinny, disheveled, homeless, Munro was a troubled teenager kicked out of his family home in Michigan. He was living on the streets dating spree killer Hollywood and looking for any break he could find. Then on May 28,along came Bonin, trolling in a blue Chevette.
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He offered Munro a place to stay and a job. Bonin took him to his home in Downey, where dating spree killer lived with his mother and two younger brothers.
He helped Munro get on at the company where he worked. They even went roller-skating together.
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But the night of June 1, Bonin abruptly announced he wanted the two of them to pick up a hitchhiker, have sex with him and then kill him. Advertisement At this point there are conflicting versions.
Bonin later told police Munro was a willing participant in the Wells murder. Munro denies it. But even the admission he does make is damning to his hopes for freedom.
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There is nothing that you or I can do to stop it. So while Munro watched, Bonin strangled the frightened youth with a T-shirt. Advertisement Single edge klingen one dating spree killer the cruelest ironies of the whole sordid Bonin episode, it turns out the police had been watching the Bonin house that night.
A few hours earlier--a few hours too late for young Wells--the police got a lead that Bonin might be the Freeway Killer that dozens of Southland police agencies had been after. Bonin was arrested a week later, Munro was tracked down a month after that. Advertisement During his 18 years, primarily at Soledad and Mule Creek, Munro has been before the parole board five times.
Munro has a response to that, the kind of contradictory thinking you find among prison inmates.