June 13, 1983 – I’d prepared for my first interview with Scott Fraser (best friend of Freeway Killer, Bill Bonin) with careful attention to every detail – the questions I planned to ask and the sketchy background information on Mr. Fraser I’d been able to find. I also wrote a rough draft of how I planned to conduct the interview. No one or nothing could rescue me if I gave the impression St. John had chosen an untested rookie to write the story of his biggest case.
Without those three single-spaced pages as a crutch, I’d be lost if Fraser clammed up. After all, what did a suburban, Little League coach, and Snack Bar mom have in common with a gay, ex-loan officer with best friends like Cowboy Dave, Tough Ted, and a magician named Vernon Butts who slept in a coffin? Absolutely nothing. On our way up the elevator to Scott’s pad, St. John gave me a quick sketch of the man I was about to meet, but the profile of Scott Fraser only added to my jitters. To make matters worse, St. John said I couldn’t use my cheat sheet during the interview, now I was really on my own. The Quiche Lorraine I’d baked (more as a bribe than a gift) might be my only hope for redemption.
But as it turned out, I didn’t need pages of questions, the quiche, or a degree in journalism to ace the interview. Almost from the first handshake, Scott and I clicked. When we realized we both went to the same high school in Winnetka, Illinois, and he was a star on the swim team, we were simpatico. The questions I asked were from my heart, not a piece of paper. When I asked how Scott could not have suspected his best friend was the notorious Freeway Killer after Bonin told him, he’d stabbed a hitchhiker to death, but in self-defense, Scott took a long drag off his cigarette and told me he never believed Bonin was capable of murder. But he was. Guilty of killing at least twenty-two boys.
Here are pages from the rough drafts I wrote prior to interviewing Scott Fraser. When I read them later, I’m grateful St. John insisted I ditch them. Another surprise was the moment Scott hugged me when I gave him the Quiche dish. Another present was the chapter Scott gave me titled: The Scott Fraser Cop Out. I loved writing that chapter!