Classification: Serial killer
Number of victims: 14 +
Date of murders: 1973 – 1978
Date of arrest: February 15, 1978
Date of birth: November 24, 1946
Victims profile: Girls and young women
Method of murder: Beating with metal bar / Strangulation
Location: Washington/Colorado/Utah/Oregon/Florida/Idaho/Vermont, USA
Status: Executed by electrocution in Florida on January 24, 1989
Theodore (Ted) Bundy was wanted for questioning in as many as 36 murders in Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Florida and Washington. In June 1977, the FBI initiated a fugitive investigation when Ted Bundy escaped from a Colorado courthouse where he was on trial for murder. He was recaptured but escaped again, in December 1977, from the Garfield County Jail in Colorado. He was placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list and was subsequently arrested, using an alias, by the local authorities in Florida for a stolen car violation in February 1978. In 1979, he was sentenced to death and in 1989 executed for the murder of two Florida State University sorority sisters.
On November 7, 1974, Carol DeRonch, 18, was in a Utah Shopping Mall when she was approached by Bundy, who told her that someone had been trying to break into her automobile. She thought that he was a police officer and Bundy later showed her a badge.
Bundy asked her to accompany him to the car to see if anything was missing. Upon reaching the car the girl looked in and determined nothing was missing. He eventually asked her if she could go to the station to make a complaint. Bundy drove her in his Volkswagon, and pulled over on the way and forcibly placed a pair of handcuffs on her wrist. She screamed and fought her way outside the vehicle and eventually got away.
Nine months later, Bundy was arrested fleeing police and handcuffs were found in his car. Bundy was convicted of Aggravated Kidnapping after waiving a jury trial and received a 1-15 year sentence. He escaped while in custody but was recaptured 6 days later. He escaped a second time and fled to Tallahassee, Florida, staying at a rooming house near the Florida State University Campus.
During the early morning hours of Sunday, January 15, 1978, Bundy entered the Chi Omega sorority house and brutally attacked four women residing there. Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy were killed, and Kathy Kleiner and Karen Chandler sustained serious injuries. Within approximately an hour of the attacks in the Chi Omega house, Bundy entered another home nearby and attacked a woman residing there, Cheryl Thomas. All five women were university students. All were bludgeoned repeatedly with a blunt weapon.
Bundy was identified by a resident returning home to the Sorority House, just as he was leaving with a club in his hand. Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman were killed by strangulation after receiving severe beatings with a length of a tree branch used as a club. Margaret Bowman’s skull was crushed and literally laid open. The attacker also bit Lisa Levy with sufficient intensity to be identified as human bite marks.
Bundy was arrested a month later in Pensacola. Of critical importance was the testimony of two forensic dental experts who testified concerning analysis of the bite mark left on the body of Lisa Levy. The experts both expressed to the jury their opinion that the indentations on the victim’s body were left by the unique teeth of Bundy. Bundy was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of burglary. For the two crimes of first-degree murder the trial judge imposed sentences of death.
On February 9, 1978, Kimberly Leach, age 12, was reported missing from her junior high school in Lake City, Florida. Two months later, after a large scale search, the Leach girl’s partially decomposed body was located in a wooded area near the Suwanee River.
There were semen stains in the crotch of her panties found near the body. Two Lake City Holiday Inn employees and a handwriting expert established that Bundy had registered at the Lake City Holiday Inn the day before her disappearance under another name. A school crossing guard at the junior high school identified Bundy as leading a young girl to a van on the morning of the disappearance.
Bundy was again convicted of murder and sentenced to death. This death sentence to be carried out a decade later.
State v. Bundy, 589 P.2d 760 (Utah 1978) (Direct Appeal).
Bundy v. State, 455 So.2d 330 (Fla. 1984) (Sorority House Direct Appeal).
Bundy v. State, 471 So.2d 9 (Fla. 1985) (Leach Direct Appeal).
Bundy v. Florida, 107 S.Ct. 295 (1986) (Cert. Denied).
Bundy v. State, 490 So.2d 1257 (Fla. 1986). (Stay)
Bundy v. State, 497 So.2d 1209 (Fla. 1986) (State Habeas).
Bundy v. Dugger, 850 F.2d 1402 (11th Cir. 1988) (Habeas).
Bundy v. Dugger, 109 S.Ct. 849 (1989) (Cert. Denied).
Ted Bundy Victims List:
Lonnie Trumbull; Seattle (6/23/66)
Kathy Devine; Seattle (11/25/73)
Lynda Ann Healy; University of Washington (2/1/74)
Donna Manson; Evergreen St. College, Olympia (3/12/74)
Susan Rancourt; Central Washington St. College, Ellensburg (4/17/74)
Brenda Baker; Seattle (5/25/74)
Brenda Ball; Burien (6/1/74)
Georgeann Hawkins; University of Washington (6/11/74)
Janice Ott; Lake Sammamish St. Park (7/14/74)
Denise Naslund; Lake Sammamish St. Park (7/14/74)
Kathy Parks; Oregon St. (5/6/74)
Nancy Wilcox; (10/2/74)
Melissa Smith; Midvale (10/18/74)
Laura Aimee; Lehi (10/31/74)
Debbie Kent; Bountiful (11/8/74)
Susan Curtis; Brigham Young University (6/28/75)
Nancy Baird; Layton (7/4/75)
Debbie Smith; Salt Lake City (2/?/76)
Caryn Campbell; Aspen (1/12/75)
Julie Cunningham; Vail (3/15/75)
Denise Oliverson; Grand Junction (4/6/75)
Melanie Cooley; Nederland (4/15/75)
Shelley Robertson; Golden (7/1/75)
Lynette Culver; Pocatello (5/6/75)
Jane Doe; Boise (9/21/74)
Lisa Levy; Tallahassee (1/15/78)
Margaret Bowman; Tallahassee (1/15/74)
Kimberly Ann Leach; Lake City (2/9/78)
Serial Killers A-Z
Ted Bundy Timeline:
11/24/46 – Is born as Theodore Robert Cowell in a home for unwed mothers in Burlington, Vermont.
05/19/51 – Bundy’s mother, Louise, marries Johnnie Bundy and her son takes his step-father’s last name.
Spring 1965 – Graduates from Woodrow Wilson High School in Tacoma, Washington.
Fall 1965 – Enrolls at the University of Puget Sound and attends the school until the Spring of 1966.
06/23/65 – Murders Lonnie Trumbull and seriously injures roommate Lisa Wick in their Seattle apartment.
Fall 1966 to Spring 1969 – Attends the University of Washington.
1967 to 1968 – Courts Stephanie Brooks, who closely resembles his future victims.
Fall 1968 – Brooks breaks off relationship with Bundy.
Early 1969 – Visits his brithtown of Burlington, Vermont, and learns for certain that he is illegitimate.
Fall 1969 – Re-enters Univ of Washington and meets Liz Kendall, his girlfriend throughout most of the murders.
Spring 1973 – Graduates form the University of Washington.
11/25/73 – Abducts Kathy Devine from a Seattle street corner.
12/06/73 – Devine’s body is found near Olympia, Washington.
01/05/74 – Attacks Joni Lenz in her Seattle apartment. Lenz survives.
02/01/74 – Abducts Lynda Ann Healy from her basement bedroom in Seattle.
03/12/74 – Abducts Donna Manson from the campus of Evergreen College.
04/17/74 – Abducts Susan Rancourt from the Central Washignton St. campus.
05/06/74 – Abducts Kathy Parks from the campus at Oregon St.
06/01/74 – Abducts Brenda Ball from Burien, Washington.
06/11/74 – Abducts Georgeann Hawkins from an alley near her University of Washington fraternity house.
06/17/74 – Brenda Baker’s body is found in Millersylvania St. Park. It is unknown when she was abducted.
07/14/74 – In seperate incidents, Janice Ott and Denise Naslund are abducted from Lake Samm St. Park.
09/02/74 – A Jane Doe is abducted from Boise, Idaho.
Fall 1974 – Enters the University of Utah Law School.
09/07/74 – Body parts of Ott, Naslund, and Hawkins are recovered 2 miles from lake Samm St. Park.
10/02/74 – Abducts Nancy Wilcox.
10/18/74 – Abducts Melissa Smith from Midvale, Utah.
10/27/74 – Smith’s body is found in Summitt Park near Salt Lake City, Utah.
10/31/74 – Abducts Laura Aimee from Lehi, Utah.
11/08/74 – Botches abduction of Carol DeRonch but abducts Debby Kent later that day from school in Bountiful.
Thanksgiving 1974 – Aimee’s body is found.
01/12/75 – Abducts Caryn Campbell from a hotel in Aspen, Colorado.
02/18/75 – Campbell’s body is found near the motel she disappeared from.
03/03/75 – The skulls of Healy, Ball, Parks, and Rancourt are found near Taylor Mountain in Washington.
03/15/75 – Abducts Julie Cunningham from Vail, Colorado.
04/06/75 – Abducts Melanie Cooley from her school in Nederland, Colorado.
04/23/75 – Cooley is found dead twenty miles from Nederland.
05/06/75 – Abducts Lynette Culver from her school playground in Pocatello, Idaho.
06/28/75 – Abducts Susan Curtis from the campus of BYU while attending a youth conference.
07/01/75 – Abducts Shelley Robertson from Golden, Colorado.
07/04/75 – Abducts Nancy Baird from Layton, Utah.
08/16/75 – Arrested for possession of burglary tools during a traffic stop in Salt Lake City.
February 1976 – Abducts Debbie Smith in Utah.
03/01/76 – Is found guilty of aggravated kidnapping in the DeRonch attack.
04/01/76 – Smith’s body is found at Salt Lake International Airport.
06/30/76 – Sentenced to 1-15 years in prison.
06/07/77 – Escapes from Pitkin Co. Law Library in Colorado while preparing for trial in the Campbell murder.
06/13/77 – Is apprehended in Aspen, Colorado.
12/30/77 – Escapes from Garfield County Jail in Colorado and flees to Tallahassee, Florida.
01/14/78 – Enters Chi Omega sorority house in Tallahassee, killing Lisa Levy and Magaret Bowman.
01/14/78 – Also attacks Cheryl Thomas in her house nearby, seriously injuring her.
02/09/78 – Abducts Kimberly Ann Leach from her school in Lake City, Florida.
02/15/78 – Arrested while driving a stolen VW in Pensacola, Florida.
04/12/79 – Leach’s body is found in Suwanee St. Park in Florida.
07/27/78 – Indicted for the murders of Levy and Bowman.
07/31/78 – Indicted for the Leach murder.
07/07/79 – Leach and Bowman murder trial begins.
07/23/79 – Found guilty of the murders of Levy and Bowman.
07/31/79 – Sentenced to death for the murders of Levy and Bowman.
01/07/80 – Trial begins for the Leach murder.
02/06/80 – Found guilty of Leach murder.
02/09/80 – Sentenced to death for Leach murder.
07/02/86 – Obtains a stay of execution only fifteen minutes before he is scheduled to die.
11/18/86 – Obtains a stay of execution only seven hours before he is scheduled to die.
11/17/89 – Final death warrant is issued.
01/24/89 – Executed in the electric chair at 7:16 AM.
Theodore Robert Bundy, born Theodore Robert Cowell (November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989), known as Ted Bundy, was an American serial killer. Bundy murdered numerous young women across the United States between 1974 and 1978. He twice escaped from prison before his final apprehension in Feburary 1978. After more than a decade of vigorous denials, he eventually confessed to 30 murders, although the actual total of victims remains unknown. Estimates range from 29 to over 100, the general estimate being 35. Typically, Bundy would bludgeon his victims, then strangle them to death. He also engaged in rape and necrophilia.
Bundy was born at the Elizabeth Lund Home For Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont, to Eleanor Louise Cowell. While the identity of his father remains a mystery, Bundy’s birth certificate lists a “Lloyd Marshall” (b. 1916), although Bundy’s mother would later tell of being seduced by a war veteran named “Jack Worthington”.
Bundy’s family did not believe this story, however, and expressed suspicion about Louise’s violent, abusive father, Samuel Cowell. To avoid social stigma, Bundy’s maternal grandparents, Samuel and Eleanor Cowell, claimed him as their son; in taking their last name, he became Theodore Robert Cowell. He grew up believing that his mother was his older sister. Bundy biographers Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth wrote that he learned Louise was actually his mother while he was in high school. True crime writer Ann Rule, who knew Bundy personally, states that it was around 1969, shortly following a traumatic breakup with his college girlfriend.
For the first few years of his life, Bundy and his mother lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1950, Bundy and his mother, whom he still believed was his sister, moved to live with relatives in Tacoma, Washington. Here, Louise Cowell had her son’s surname changed from Cowell to Nelson.
In 1951, one year after their move, Louise Cowell met Johnny Culpepper Bundy at an adult singles night held at Tacoma’s First Methodist Church. In May of that year, the couple were married, and soon after Johnny Bundy adopted Ted, legally changing his last name to “Bundy”.
Johnny and Louise Bundy had more children, whom the young Bundy spent much of his time babysitting. Johnny Bundy tried to include his stepson in camping trips and other father-son activities, but the boy remained emotionally detached from his stepfather. Bundy was a good student at Woodrow Wilson High School, in Tacoma, and was active in a local Methodist church, serving as vice-president of the Methodist Youth Fellowship. He was involved with a local troop of the Boy Scouts of America.
Socially, Bundy remained shy and introverted throughout his high school and early college years. He would say later that he “hit a wall” in high school and that he was unable to understand social behavior, stunting his social development. He maintained a facade of social activity, but he had no natural sense of how to get along with other people, saying: “I didn’t know what made things tick. I didn’t know what made people want to be friends. I didn’t know what made people attractive to one another. I didn’t know what underlay social interactions.”
Years later, while on Florida’s death row, Bundy would describe a part of himself that, from a young age, was fascinated by images of sex and violence. In early prison interviews, Bundy called this part of himself “the entity”. While still in his teens, Bundy would look through libraries for detective magazines and books on crime, focusing on sources that described sexual violence and featured pictures of dead bodies and violent sexuality. Before he was even out of high school, Bundy was a compulsive thief, a shoplifter, and on his way to becoming an amateur criminal. To support his love of skiing, Bundy stole skis and equipment and forged ski-lift tickets. He was arrested twice as a juvenile, although these records were later expunged.
In 1965, Bundy graduated from Woodrow Wilson High. Awarded a scholarship by the University of Puget Sound (UPS), he began that fall, taking courses in psychology and Oriental studies. After two semesters at UPS, he decided to transfer to Seattle’s University of Washington (UW).
While a university student, Bundy worked as a grocery bagger and shelf-stocker at a Seattle Safeway store on Queen Anne Hill, as well as other odd jobs. As part of his course of studies in psychology, he would later work as a night-shift volunteer at Seattle’s Suicide Hot Line, a suicide crisis center that served the greater Seattle metropolitan and suburban areas. There, he met and worked alongside former Seattle policewoman and fledgling crime writer Ann Rule, who would later write a biography of Bundy and his crimes, The Stranger Beside Me.
He began a relationship with fellow university student “Stephanie Brooks” (a pseudonym), whom he met while enrolled at UW in 1967. Following her 1968 graduation and return to her family home in California, she ended the relationship, fed up with what she described as Bundy’s immaturity and lack of ambition. Rule states that, around this time, Bundy decided to pay a visit to his birthplace, Burlington, Vermont. There, according to Rule, he visited the local records clerk and finally uncovered the truth of his parentage.
After his discovery, Bundy became a more focused and dominant person. In 1968, he managed the Seattle office of Nelson Rockefeller’s Presidential campaign and attended the 1968 Republican convention in Miami, Florida as a Rockefeller supporter. He re-enrolled at UW, this time with a major in psychology. Bundy became an honors student and was well liked by his professors. In 1969, he started dating Elizabeth Kloepfer, a divorced secretary with a daughter, who fell deeply in love with him. They would continue dating for more than six years, until he went to prison for kidnapping in 1976.
Bundy graduated in 1972 from UW with a degree in psychology. Soon afterward, he again went to work for the state Republican Party, which included a close relationship with Gov. Daniel J. Evans. During the campaign, Bundy followed Evans’ Democratic opponent around the state, tape recording his speeches and reporting back to Evans personally. A minor scandal later followed when the Democrats found out about Bundy, who had been posing as a college student.
In the fall of 1973, Bundy enrolled in the law school at the University of Utah, but he did poorly. He began skipping classes, finally dropping out in the spring of 1974.
While on a business trip to California in the summer of 1973, Bundy came back into his ex-girlfriend “Stephanie Brooks”‘ life with a new look and attitude; this time as a serious, dedicated professional who had been accepted to law school. Bundy continued to date Kloepfer as well, and neither woman was aware the other existed. Bundy courted Brooks throughout the rest of the year, and she accepted his marriage proposal. Two weeks later, however, shortly after New Year’s 1974, he unceremoniously dumped her, refusing to return her phone calls. A few weeks after this breakup, Bundy began a murderous rampage in Washington state.
No one knows exactly where and when Bundy began killing. Many Bundy experts, including Rule and former King County detective Robert D. Keppel, believe Bundy may have started killing as far back as his early teens. Ann Marie Burr, an eight-year-old girl from Tacoma, vanished from her home in 1961, when Bundy was 14 years old, though Bundy always denied killing her. The day before his execution, Bundy told his lawyer that he made his first attempt to kidnap a woman in 1969, and implied that he committed his first actual murder sometime in 1972. At one point in his death-row confessions with Keppel, Bundy said he committed his first murder in 1972.
In 1973, one of Bundy’s Republican Party friends saw a pair of handcuffs in the back of Bundy’s Volkswagen. He was for many years a suspect in the December 1973 murder of Kathy Devine in Washington state, but DNA analysis led to another man’s arrest and conviction for that crime in 2002. Bundy’s earliest known, identified murders were committed in 1974, when he was 27.
Shortly after midnight on January 4, 1974, Bundy entered the basement bedroom of 18-year-old “Joni Lenz” (pseudonym), a dancer and student at UW. Bundy bludgeoned her with a metal rod from her bed frame while she slept and sexually assaulted her with a speculum. Lenz was found the next morning by her roommates in a coma and lying in a pool of her own blood. She survived the attack but suffered permanent brain damage.
Bundy’s next victim was Lynda Ann Healy, another UW student (and his cousin’s roommate). In the early morning hours of February 1, 1974, Bundy broke into Healy’s room, knocked her unconscious, dressed her in jeans and a shirt, wrapped her in a bed sheet, and carried her away.
Co-eds began disappearing at a rate of roughly one a month. On March 12, 1974, in Olympia, Bundy kidnapped and murdered Donna Gail Manson, a 19-year-old student at The Evergreen State College.
On April 17, 1974, Susan Rancourt disappeared from the campus of Central Washington State College (CWSC) in Ellensburg. Later, two different CWSC co-eds would recount meeting a man with his arm in a cast—one that night, one three nights earlier—who asked for their help to carry a load of books to his Volkswagen Beetle.
Next was Kathy Parks, last seen on the campus of Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, on May 6, 1974. Brenda Ball was never seen again after leaving The Flame Tavern in Burien on June 1, 1974. Bundy then murdered Georgeann Hawkins, a student at UW and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, an on-campus sorority. In the early morning hours of June 11, 1974, she walked through an alley from her boyfriend’s dormitory residence to her sorority house. She was never seen again. Witnesses later reported seeing a man with a leg cast struggling to carry a briefcase in the area that night. One co-ed reported that the man had asked for her help in carrying the briefcase to his car, a Beetle.
Bundy’s Washington killing spree culminated on July 14, 1974, with the daytime abduction of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund from Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah. That day, eight different people told the police about the handsome young man with his left arm in a sling who called himself “Ted”. Five of them were women whom “Ted” asked for help unloading a sailboat from his Beetle. One of them went with “Ted” as far as his car, where there was no sailboat, before declining to accompany him any farther. Three more witnesses testified to seeing him approach Ott with the story about the sailboat and to seeing her walk away from the beach in his company. She was never seen alive again. Naslund disappeared without a trace four hours later.
King County detectives now had a description both of the suspect and his car. Some witnesses told investigators that the “Ted” they encountered spoke with a clipped, British-like accent. Soon, fliers were up all over the Seattle area. After seeing the police sketch and description of the Lake Sammamish suspect in both of the local newspapers and on television news reports, Bundy’s girlfriend, one of his psychology professors at UW, and former co-worker Ann Rule all reported him as a possible suspect. The police, receiving up to 200 tips per day, did not pay any special attention to a tip about a clean-cut law student.
The fragmented remains of Ott and Naslund were discovered on September 7, 1974, off Interstate 90 near Issaquah, one mile from the park. Found along with the women’s remains was an extra femur bone and vertebrae, which Bundy would identify as that of Georgeann Hawkins shortly before his execution.
Between March 1 and March 3, 1975, the skulls and jawbones of Healy, Rancourt, Parks and Ball were found on Taylor Mountain just east of Issaquah. Years later, Bundy claimed that he had also dumped Donna Manson’s body there, but no trace of her was ever found.
Utah and Colorado
Bundy smiles for the cameras and pleads “Not guilty” during a press conference announcing his indictment on first degree murder charges.
That autumn, Bundy began attending the University of Utah law school in Salt Lake City, where he resumed killing in October. Nancy Wilcox disappeared from Holladay, Utah, on October 2, 1974. Wilcox was last seen riding in a Volkswagen Beetle.
On October 18, 1974, Bundy murdered Melissa Smith, the 17-year-old daughter of Midvale police chief Louis Smith; Bundy raped, sodomized and strangled her. Her body was found nine days later. Next was Laura Aime, also 17, who disappeared when she left a Halloween party in Lehi, Utah, on October 31, 1974; her naked, beaten and strangled corpse was found nearly a month later by hikers on Thanksgiving Day, on the banks of a river in American Fork Canyon.
In Murray, Utah, on November 8, 1974, Carol DaRonch narrowly escaped with her life. Claiming to be Officer Roseland of the Murray Police Department, Bundy approached her at the Fashion Place Mall, told her someone had tried to break into her car, and asked her to accompany him to the police station. She got into his car but refused his instruction to buckle her seat belt. They drove for a short period before Bundy suddenly pulled to the shoulder and attempted to slap a pair of handcuffs on her. In the struggle, he fastened both loops to the same wrist. Bundy whipped out his crowbar, but DaRonch caught it in the air just before it would have cracked her skull. She then got the door open and tumbled out onto the highway, thus escaping from her would-be killer.
About an hour later, a strange man showed up at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, Utah, where the drama club was putting on a play. He approached the drama teacher and then a student, asking both to come out to the parking lot to identify a car. Both declined. The drama teacher saw him again shortly before the end of the play, this time breathing hard, with his hair mussed and his shirt untucked. Another student saw the man lurking in the rear of the auditorium. Debby Kent, a 17-year-old Viewmont High student, left the play at intermission to go and pick up her brother, and was never seen again. Later, investigators found a small key in the parking lot outside Viewmont High. It
unlocked the handcuffs taken off Carol DaRonch.
In 1975, while still attending law school at the University of Utah, Bundy shifted his crimes to Colorado. On January 12, 1975, Caryn Campbell disappeared from the Wildwood Inn at Snowmass, Colorado, where she had been vacationing with her fiancé and his children. She vanished somewhere in a span of 50 feet between the elevator doors and her room. Her body was found on February 17, 1975.
Next, Vail ski instructor Julie Cunningham disappeared on March 15, 1975, and Denise Oliverson in Grand Junction on April 6, 1975. While in prison, Bundy confessed to Colorado investigators that he used crutches to approach Cunningham, after asking her to help him carry some ski boots to his car. At the car, Bundy clubbed her with his crowbar and immobilized her with handcuffs, later strangling her in a crime highly similar to the Hawkins murder.
Lynette Culver went missing in Pocatello, Idaho, on May 6, 1975, from the grounds of her junior high school. After his return to Utah, Susan Curtis vanished on June 28, 1975. (Bundy confessed to the Curtis murder minutes before his execution.) The bodies of Cunningham, Culver, Curtis and Oliverson have never been recovered.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, investigators were attempting to prioritize their enormous list of suspects. They used computers to cross-check different likely lists of suspects (classmates of Lynda Healy, owners of Volkswagens, etc) against each other, and then identify suspects who turned up on more than one list. “Theodore Robert Bundy” was one of 25 people who turned up on four separate lists, and his case file was second on the “To Be Investigated” pile when the call came from Utah of an arrest.
Arrest, first trial, and escapes
Bundy was arrested on August 16, 1975, in Salt Lake City, for failure to stop for a police officer. A search of his car revealed a ski mask, a crowbar, handcuffs, trash bags, an icepick, and other items that were thought by the police to be burglary tools. Bundy remained calm during questioning, explaining that he needed the mask for skiing and had found the handcuffs in a dumpster. Utah detective Jerry Thompson connected Bundy and his Volkswagen to the DaRonch kidnapping and the missing girls, and searched his apartment.
The search uncovered a brochure of Colorado ski resorts, with a check mark by the Wildwood Inn where Caryn Campbell had disappeared. After searching his apartment, the police brought Bundy in for a lineup before DaRonch and the Bountiful witnesses. They identified him as “Officer Roseland” and as the man lurking about the night Debby Kent disappeared.
Following a week-long trial, Bundy was convicted of DaRonch’s kidnapping on March 1, 1976, and was sentenced to 15 years in Utah State Prison. Colorado authorities were pursuing murder charges, however, and Bundy was extradited there to stand trial.
On June 7, 1977, in preparation for a hearing in the Caryn Campbell murder trial, Bundy was taken to the Pitkin County courthouse in Aspen. During a court recess, he was allowed to visit the courthouse’s law library, where he jumped out of the building from a second-story window and escaped, but sprained his right ankle during the jump. In the minutes following his escape, Bundy at first ran and then strolled casually through the small town toward Aspen Mountain.
He made it all the way to the top of Aspen Mountain without being detected, where he rested for two days in an abandoned hunting cabin. But afterwards, he lost his sense of direction and wandered around the mountain, missing two trails that led down off the mountain to his intended destination, the town of Crested Butte. At one point, he came face-to-face with a gun-toting citizen who was one of the searchers scouring Aspen Mountain for Ted Bundy, but talked his way out of danger.
On June 13, 1977, Bundy stole a car he found on the mountain. He drove back into Aspen and could have gotten away, but two police deputies noticed the Cadillac with dimmed headlights weaving in and out of its lane and pulled Bundy over. They recognized him and took him back to jail. Bundy had been on the lam for six days.
He was back in custody, but Bundy worked on a new escape plan. He was being held in the Glenwood Springs, Colorado, jail while he awaited trial. He had acquired a hacksaw blade and $500 in cash; he later claimed the blade came from another prison inmate. Over two weeks, he sawed through the welds fixing a small metal plate in the ceiling and, after dieting down still further, was able to fit through the hole and access the crawl space above.
An informant in the prison told guards that he had heard Bundy moving around the ceiling during the nights before his escape, but the matter was not investigated. When Bundy’s Aspen trial judge ruled on December 23, 1977, that the Caryn Campbell murder trial would start on January 9, 1978, and changed the venue to Colorado Springs, Bundy realized that he had to make his escape before he was transferred out of the Glenwood Springs jail.
On the night of December 30, 1977, Bundy dressed warmly and packed books and files under his blanket to make it look like he was sleeping. He wriggled through the hole and up into the crawlspace. Bundy crawled over to a spot directly above the jailer’s linen closet — the jailer and his wife were out for the evening — dropped down into the jailer’s apartment, and walked out the door.
Bundy was free, but he was on foot in the middle of a bitterly cold, snowy Colorado night. He stole a broken-down MG, but it stalled out in the mountains. Bundy was stuck on the side of Interstate 70 in the middle of the night in a blizzard, but another driver gave him a ride into Vail. From there he caught a bus to Denver and boarded the TWA 8:55 a.m. flight to Chicago. The Glenwood Springs jail guards did not notice Bundy was gone until noon on December 31, 1977, 17 hours after his escape, by which time Bundy was already in Chicago.
Following his arrival in Chicago, Bundy then caught an Amtrak train to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he got a room at the YMCA. On January 2, 1978, he went to an Ann Arbor bar and watched the University of Washington Huskies, the team of his alma mater, beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl. He later stole a car in Ann Arbor, which he abandoned in Atlanta, Georgia before boarding a bus for Tallahassee, Florida, where he arrived on January 8, 1978. There, he rented a room at a boarding house under the alias of “Chris Hagen” and committed numerous petty crimes including shoplifting, purse snatching, and auto theft. He stole a student ID card that belonged to a Kenneth Misner and sent away for copies of Misner’s Social Security card and birth certificate. He grew a mustache and drew a fake mole on his right cheek when he went out, but aside from that, he made no real attempt at a disguise. Bundy tried to find work at a construction site, but when the personnel officer asked Bundy for his driver’s license for identification, Bundy walked away. This was his only attempt at job hunting.
One week after Bundy’s arrival in Tallahassee, in the early hours of Super Bowl Sunday on January 15, 1978, two and a half years of repressed homicidal violence erupted. Bundy entered the Florida State University Chi Omega sorority house at approximately 3 a.m. and killed two sleeping women, Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman. Bundy bludgeoned and strangled Levy and Bowman; he also sexually assaulted Levy. He also bludgeoned two other Chi Omegas, Karen Chandler and Kathy Kleiner. The entire episode took no more than half an hour. After leaving the Chi Omega house, Bundy broke into another home a few blocks away, clubbing and severely injuring Florida State University student Cheryl Thomas.
On February 9, 1978, Bundy traveled to Lake City, Florida. While there, he abducted, raped, and murdered 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, throwing her body under a small pig shed. On February 12, 1978, Bundy stole yet another Volkswagen Beetle and left Tallahassee for good, heading west across the Florida panhandle.
On February 15, 1978, shortly after 1 a.m., Bundy was stopped by Pensacola police officer David Lee. When the officer called in a check of the license plate, the vehicle came up as stolen. Bundy then scuffled with the officer before he was finally subdued. As Lee took the unknown suspect to jail, Bundy said “I wish you had killed me.” At his booking Bundy gave the police the name Ken Misner (and presented stolen identification for Misner), but the Florida Department of Law Enforcement made a positive fingerprint identification early the next day. He was immediately transported to Tallahassee and subsequently charged with the Tallahassee and Lake City murders. He was later taken to Miami to stand trial for the Chi Omega murders.
Conviction and execution
Bite mark testimony at the Chi Omega trialBundy went to trial for the Chi Omega murders in June 1979, with Dade County Circuit Court Judge Edward D. Cowart presiding. Despite having five court-appointed lawyers, he insisted on acting as his own attorney and even cross-examined witnesses, including the police officer who had discovered Margaret Bowman’s body. He was prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Larry Simpson.
Two pieces of evidence proved crucial. First, Chi Omega member Nita Neary, getting back to the house very late after a date, saw Bundy as he left, and identified him in court. Second, during his homicidal frenzy, Bundy bit Lisa Levy in her left buttock, leaving obvious bite marks. Police took plaster casts of Bundy’s teeth and a forensics expert matched them to the photographs of Levy’s wound. Bundy was convicted on all counts and sentenced to death. After confirming the sentence, Cowart gave him the verdict:
It is ordered that you be put to death by a current of electricity, that current be passed through your body until you are dead. Take care of yourself, young man. I say that to you sincerely; take care of yourself, please. It is an utter tragedy for this court to see such a total waste of humanity as I’ve experienced in this courtroom. You’re a bright young man. You’d have made a good lawyer, and I would have loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way, partner. Take care of yourself. I don’t feel any animosity toward you. I want you to know that. Once again, take care of yourself.
Bundy was tried for the Kimberly Leach murder in 1980. He was again convicted on all counts, principally due to fibers found in his van that matched Leach’s clothing and an eyewitness that saw him leading Leach away from the school, and sentenced to death. During the Kimberly Leach trial, Bundy married former coworker Carole Ann Boone in the courtroom while questioning her on the stand. Following numerous conjugal visits between Bundy and his new wife, Boone gave birth to a daughter in October 1982. However, in 1986 Boone moved back to Washington and never returned to Florida. Her whereabouts and those of Bundy’s daughter are unknown.
While awaiting execution in Starke Prison, Bundy was housed in the cell next to fellow serial killer Ottis Toole, the murderer of Adam Walsh. FBI profiler Robert K. Ressler met with him there as part of his work interviewing serial killers, but found Bundy uncooperative and manipulative, willing to speak only in the third person, and only in hypothetical terms. Writing in 1992, Ressler spoke of his impression of Bundy in comparison to his reviews of other serial killers: “This guy was an animal, and it amazed me that the media seemed unable to understand that.”
However, during the same period, Bundy was often visited by Special Agent William Hagmaier of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Sciences Unit. Bundy would come to confide in Hagmaier, going so far as to call him his best friend. Eventually, Bundy confessed to Hagmaier many details of the murders that had until then been unknown or unconfirmed.
In October 1984, Bundy contacted former King County homicide detective Bob Keppel and offered to assist in the ongoing search for the Green River Killer by providing his own insights and analysis. Keppel and Green River Task Force detective Dave Reichert traveled to Florida’s death row to interview Bundy. Both detectives later stated that these interviews were of little actual help in the investigation; they provided far greater insight into Bundy’s own mind, however, and were primarily pursued in the hope of learning the details of unsolved murders which Bundy was suspected of committing.
Bundy mug shot, 1980, the day after he was sentenced to death for the murder of Kimberly LeachBundy contacted Keppel again in 1988. At that point, his appeals were exhausted. Bundy had beaten previous death warrants for March 4, 1986, July 2, 1986, and November 18, 1986. With execution imminent, Bundy confessed to eight official unsolved murders in Washington State for which he was the prime suspect. Bundy told Keppel that there were actually five bodies left on Taylor Mountain, not four as they had originally thought. Bundy confessed in detail to the murder of Georgeann Hawkins, describing how he lured her to his car, clubbed her with a tire iron that he had stashed on the ground under his car, drove away with her in the car with him, and later raped and strangled her.
After the interview, Keppel reported that he had been shocked in speaking with Bundy, and that he was the kind of man who was “born to kill.” Keppel stated:
He described the Issaquah crime scene (where Janice Ott, Denise Naslund, and Georgeann Hawkins had been left) and it was almost like he was just there. Like he was seeing everything. He was infatuated with the idea because he spent so much time there. He is just totally consumed with murder all the time.
Bundy had hoped that he could use the revelations and partial confessions to get another stay of execution or possibly commute his sentence to life imprisonment. At one point, a legal advocate working for Bundy asked many of the families of the victims to fax letters to Florida Governor Robert Martinez and ask for mercy for Bundy in order to find out where the remains of their loved ones were. All of the families refused. Keppel and others reported that Bundy gave scant detail about his crimes during his confessions, and promised to reveal more and other body dump sites if he were given “more time.” The ploy failed and Bundy was executed on schedule.
The night before Bundy was executed, he gave a television interview to James Dobson, head of the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family. During the interview, Bundy made repeated claims as to the pornographic “roots” of his crimes. He stated that, while pornography did not cause him to commit murder, the consumption of violent pornography helped “shape and mold” his violence into “behavior too terrible to describe.” He alleged that he felt that violence in the media, “particularly sexualized violence,” sent boys “down the road to being Ted Bundys.” In the same interview, Bundy stated:
“You are going to kill me, and that will protect society from me. But out there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that.”
According to Hagmaier, Bundy contemplated suicide in the days leading up to his execution, but eventually decided against it.
At 7:06 a.m. local time on January 24, 1989, Ted Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison in Starke, Florida. His last words were, “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.” Then, more than 2,000 volts were applied across his body for less than two minutes. He was pronounced dead at 7:16 a.m. Several hundred people were gathered outside the prison and cheered when they saw the signal that Bundy had been declared dead.
Modus operandi and victim profiles
Bundy in custody, Leon County, FloridaBundy had a fairly consistent modus operandi. He would approach a potential victim in a public place, even in daylight or in a crowd, as when he abducted Ott and Naslund at Lake Sammamish or when he kidnapped Leach from her school. Bundy had various ways of gaining a victim’s trust. Sometimes, he would feign injury, wearing his arm in a sling or wearing a fake cast, as in the murders of Hawkins, Rancourt, Ott, Naslund, and Cunningham. At other times Bundy would impersonate an authority figure; he pretended to be a policeman when approaching Carol DaRonch. The day before he killed Kimberly Leach, Bundy approached another young Florida girl pretending to be “Richard Burton, Fire Department”, but left hurriedly after her older brother arrived.
Bundy had a remarkable advantage in that his facial features were attractive, yet not especially memorable. In later years, he would often be described as chameleon-like, able to look totally different by making only minor adjustments to his appearance, e.g., growing a beard or changing his hairstyle.
All of Bundy’s victims were white females and most were of middle class background. Almost all were between the ages of 15 and 25. Many were college students. In her book, Rule notes that most of Bundy’s victims had long straight hair parted in the middle—just like Stephanie Brooks, the woman to whom Bundy was engaged in 1973. Rule speculates that Bundy’s resentment towards his first girlfriend was a motivating factor in his string of murders. However, in a 1980 interview, Bundy dismissed this hypothesis: “[t]hey…just fit the general criteria of being young and attractive…Too many people have bought this crap that all the girls were similar — hair about the same color, parted in the middle…but if you look at it, almost everything was dissimilar…physically, they were almost all different.”
After luring a victim to his car, Bundy would hit her in the head with a crowbar he had placed underneath his Volkswagen or hidden inside it. Every recovered skull, except for that of Kimberly Leach, showed signs of blunt force trauma. Every recovered body, except for that of Leach, showed signs of strangulation.
Many of Bundy’s victims were transported a considerable distance from where they disappeared, as in the case of Kathy Parks, whom he drove more than 260 miles from Oregon to Washington. Bundy often would drink alcohol prior to finding a victim; Carol DaRonch testified to smelling alcohol on his breath.
Hagmaier stated that Bundy considered himself to be an amateur and impulsive killer in his early years, and then moved into what he considered to be his “prime” or “predator” phase. Bundy stated that this phase began around the time of the Lynda Healy murder, when he began seeking victims he considered to be equal to his skill as a murderer.
On death row, Bundy admitted to decapitating at least a dozen of his victims with a hacksaw. He kept the severed heads later found on Taylor Mountain (Rancourt, Parks, Ball, Healy) in his room or apartment for some time before finally disposing of them. He confessed to cremating Donna Manson’s head in his girlfriend’s fireplace. Some of the skulls of Bundy’s victims were found with the front teeth broken out. Bundy also confessed to visiting his victims’ bodies over and over again at the Taylor Mountain body dump site. He stated that he would lie with them for hours, applying makeup to their corpses and having sex with their decomposing bodies until putrefaction forced him to abandon the remains. Not long before his death, Bundy admitted to returning to the corpse of Georgeann Hawkins for purposes of necrophilia.
Bundy confessed to keeping other souvenirs of his crimes. The Utah police who searched Bundy’s apartment in 1975 missed a collection of photographs that Bundy had hidden in the utility room, photos that Bundy destroyed when he returned home after being released on bail. His girlfriend Elizabeth once found a bag in his room filled with women’s clothing.
When Bundy was confronted by law enforcement officers who stated that they believed the number of individuals he had murdered was 36, Bundy told them that they should “add one digit to that, and you’ll have it.” Rule speculated that this meant Bundy might have killed over 100 women. Speaking to his lawyer Polly Nelson in 1988, however, Bundy dismissed the 100+ victims speculation and said that the more common estimate of approximately 35 victims was accurate.
In December 1987, Bundy was examined for seven hours by Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a professor from New York University Medical Center. Lewis diagnosed Bundy as a manic depressive whose crimes usually occurred during his depressive episodes. To Lewis, Bundy described his childhood, especially his relationship with his maternal grandparents, Samuel and Eleanor Cowell.
According to Bundy, grandfather Samuel Cowell was a deacon in his church. Along with the already established description of his grandfather as a tyrannical bully, Bundy described him as a bigot who hated blacks, Italians, Catholics, and Jews. He further stated that his grandfather tortured animals, beating the family dog and swinging neighborhood cats by their tails. He also told Lewis how his grandfather kept a large collection of pornography in his greenhouse where, according to relatives, Bundy and a cousin would sneak to look at it for hours.
Family members expressed skepticism over Louise’s “Jack Worthington” story of Bundy’s parentage and noted that Samuel Cowell once flew into a violent rage when the subject of the boy’s father came up. Bundy described his grandmother as a timid and obedient wife, who was sporadically taken to hospitals to undergo shock treatment for depression. Toward the end of her life, Bundy said, she became agoraphobic.
Louise Bundy’s younger sister Julia recalled a disturbing incident with her young nephew. After lying down in the Cowells’ home for a nap, Julia woke to find herself surrounded by knives from the Cowell kitchen. Three-year-old Ted was standing by the bed, smiling at her.
Bundy used stolen credit cards to purchase more than 30 pairs of socks while on the run in Florida; he was a self-described foot fetishist.
In the Dobson interview before his execution, Bundy said that violent pornography played a major role in his sex crimes. According to Bundy, as a young boy he found “outside the home again, in the local grocery store, in a local drug store, the soft core pornography that people called soft core…And from time to time we would come across pornographic books of a harder nature….”
Bundy said, “It happened in stages, gradually. My experience with pornography generally, but with pornography that deals on a violent level with sexuality, is once you become addicted to it — and I look at this as a kind of addiction like other kinds of addiction — I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Until you reach a point where the pornography only goes so far, you reach that jumping off point where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give that which is beyond just reading it or looking at it.”
In a letter written shortly before his escape from the Glenwood Springs jail, Bundy said “I have known people who…radiate vulnerability. Their facial expressions say ‘I am afraid of you.’ These people invite abuse… By expecting to be hurt, do they subtly encourage it?”
In a 1980 interview, speaking of a serial killer’s justification of his actions, Bundy said “So what’s one less? What’s one less person on the face of the planet?” When Florida detectives asked Bundy to tell them where he had left Kimberly Leach’s body for her family’s solace, Bundy allegedly said, “But I’m the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet.”
Below is a chronological list of Ted Bundy’s known victims. Bundy never made a comprehensive confession of his crimes and his true total is not known, but before his execution, he confessed to Hagmaier to having committed 30 murders. Many of his victims remain unknown. All the women listed were killed, unless otherwise noted.
May 1973: Unknown hitchhiker, Tumwater, Washington area. Confessed to Bob Keppel before Bundy’s execution. No remains found.
January 4: Joni Lenz (pseudonym) (18, survived). University of Washington first-year student who was bludgeoned in her bed and impaled with a speculum as she slept.
February 1: Lynda Ann Healy (21). Bludgeoned while asleep and abducted from the house she shared with other University of Washington co-eds.
March 12: Donna Gail Manson (19). Abducted while walking to a jazz concert on the Evergreen State College campus, Olympia, Washington. Bundy confessed to her murder, but her body was never found.
April 17: Susan Elaine Rancourt (18). Disappeared as she walked across Ellensburg’s Central Washington State College campus at night.
May 6: Roberta Kathleen “Kathy” Parks (22). Vanished from Oregon State University in Corvallis while walking to another dorm hall to have coffee with friends.
June 1: Brenda Carol Ball (22). Disappeared from the Flame Tavern in Burien, Washington.
June 11: Georgeann Hawkins (18). Disappeared from behind her sorority house, Kappa Alpha Theta, at the University of Washington.
July 14: Janice Ann Ott (23) and Denise Marie Naslund (19). Abducted several hours apart from Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Washington.
September 2: Unknown teenage hitchhiker. Idaho. Confessed before his execution. No remains found.
October 2: Nancy Wilcox (16). Disappeared in Holladay, Utah. Her body was never found.
October 18: Melissa Smith (17). Vanished from Midvale, Utah, after leaving a pizza parlor.
October 31: Laura Aime (17). Disappeared from a Halloween party at Lehi, Utah.
November 8: Carol DaRonch (survived). Escaped from Bundy by jumping out from his car in Murray, Utah.
November 8: Debra “Debi” Kent (17). Vanished from the parking lot of a school in Bountiful, Utah, hours after DaRonch escaped from Bundy. Shortly before his execution, Bundy confessed to investigators that he dumped Kent at a site near Fairview, Utah. An intense search of the site produced one human bone — a knee cap — which matched the profile for someone of Kent’s age and size. DNA testing has not been attempted.
Bundy is a suspect in the murder of Carol Valenzuela, who disappeared from Vancouver, Washington, on August 2, 1974. Her remains were discovered two months later south of Olympia, Washington, along with those of an unidentified female.
January 12: Caryn Campbell (23). Campbell, a Michigan nurse, vanished between her hotel lounge and room while on a ski trip with her fiancé in Snowmass, Colorado.
March 15: Julie Cunningham (26). Disappeared while on her way to a nearby tavern in Vail, Colorado. Bundy confessed to investigators that he buried Cunningham’s body near Rifle, Garfield County, Colorado, but a search did not produce remains.
April 6: Denise Oliverson (25). Abducted while bicycling to visit her parents in Grand Junction, Colorado. Bundy provided details of her murder, but her body was never found.
May 6: Lynette Culver (13). Snatched from a school playground at Alameda Junior High School in Pocatello, Idaho. Her body was never found.
June 28: Susan Curtis (15). Disappeared while walking alone to the dormitories during a youth conference at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Her body was never found.
Bundy is a suspect in the murder of Melanie Suzanne “Suzy” Cooley, who disappeared April 15, 1975, after leaving Nederland High School in Nederland, Colorado. Her bludgeoned and strangled corpse was discovered by road maintenance workers on May 2, 1975, in nearby Coal Creek Canyon. Gas receipts place Bundy in nearby Golden, the day of the Cooley abduction. The Jefferson County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office has classified the Melanie Cooley murder as a cold
January 15: Lisa Levy (20), Margaret Bowman (21), Karen Chandler (survived), Kathy Kleiner Deshields (survived). The Chi Omega killings, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
January 15: Cheryl Thomas (survived). Bludgeoned in her bed, eight blocks away from the Chi Omega Sorority house.
February 9: Kimberly Leach (12), kidnapped from her junior high school in Lake City, Florida. She was raped, murdered and discarded in Suwannee River State Park in Florida.
Three TV movies and one feature film have been produced about Bundy and his crimes.
The Deliberate Stranger, a two-part TV movie, aired on NBC in 1986 and starred Mark Harmon as Bundy.
Ted Bundy, released in 2002, was directed by Matthew Bright. Michael Reilly Burke starred as Bundy.
The Stranger Beside Me aired on the USA Network in 2003, and starred Billy Campbell as Bundy and Barbara Hershey as Ann Rule.
In 2004, the A&E Network produced an adaptation of Robert Keppel’s book The Riverman, which starred Cary Elwes as Bundy and Bruce Greenwood as Keppel.
The Depths of Depravity
Savvy Sociopath Changes Police Methods
By By Kevin Heldman – APB Online
NEW YORK (APBnews.com) — Ted Bundy was a young Republican, law student, avid skier, crisis hotline volunteer and the boy next door. He was also a cannibal, necrophiliac, charismatic sociopath and the man whose name came to define the term “serial killer” for the 20th century. Though there were at least 57 documented cases of serial killings in America since 1900, Bundy changed the landscape. The man who admitted to killing at least 30 women between 1973 and 1978 — some experts believe he killed more than a hundred — was a remarkable criminal in several ways.
“In 1974 when we had our first [Bundy] crime that we knew of, the phenomena just wasn’t very well known,” said Robert Keppel, a former homicide detective and author of The Riverman, an account of his search for Washington’s Green River Killer and his attempt to enlist Ted Bundy’s assistance. “What makes him unique from a lot of others is the range and the span with which he committed his murders across state lines, across the whole country,” Keppel said. Bundy killed in as many as 10 states, more than any serial killer in American history.
University of Louisville criminology professor Ronald M. Holmes, who spent two years corresponding with Bundy as well as interviewing him in prison, said Bundy’s propensity for travel corresponded with the advent of the nation’s interstate system and the increased reliability of transportation. Prior to Bundy, most serial killers murdered in their own backyards.
Bundy was the first to deviate significantly from that pattern, establishing the model for the modern-day multiple murderer. A new breed of killer – Bundy was a type of killer police hadn’t encountered before. They weren’t yet equipped to deal with him. “His case had a great effect on the way law enforcement collects information about killers,” Keppel said. “There was no central repository of murder information anywhere in the United States at that time.”
Although some experts disagree, Keppel said the Bundy case was instrumental in the development of VICAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program), an FBI database designed to collect and link information on serial homicides. The FBI began using VICAP in 1985.
Bundy’s geographical range left investigators with the laborious task of phoning individual police departments across the United States and combing through piles of disparate murder records. It was Bundy, by proxy, who taught the FBI the value of a central murder database. “It took my partner and I a year-and-a-half to collect information on over 90 murders in Western states,” said Keppel. “If everybody cooperated in the VICAP program and submitted their crimes, it would have been a matter of seconds.”
The media’s darling – Bundy, with a hand from the media, changed the face of the serial killer as well. According to Holmes, who has profiled more than 375 murder and rape cases, the public image of the serial killer before Bundy was the psychotic, demented freak with gross physical impairments.
“Then Bundy comes along and says, ‘Hey, I’m just like the guy next door — I’m the stranger beside you,’ ” he said, referring to the title of crime writer Ann Rule’s book about Bundy. Holmes said there were serial killers before Bundy who were just as charismatic, just as all-American, but they didn’t get the media representation Bundy did. “We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere,” Bundy is quoted in Harold Schechter’s book, The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. A Ph.D. in serial killing – Bundy called upon a potpourri of serial killer traits and a vast reserve of deviance. According to various accounts, he stored severed heads in his home, and was a loner who was simultaneously engaged to two women while he was killing.
He incinerated skulls in his fireplace and vacuumed up the ashes. He re-dressed dead victims, ate their flesh, feigned lameness to lure victims and faked accents. He kept one of his victims in his possession for nine days. He twice escaped from custody, was an experienced cat burglar and insisted on strangling his victims while he looked directly into their eyes.
Bundy looked upon serial killing as a macabre mixture of sport, craft and intellectual pursuit. A 1992 investigative report stated that Bundy went on dry runs, “picking up a woman and releasing her unharmed to test his skills.” In interviews, he compared killing to learning how to be a better repairman or cook. He told interviewers he had a Ph.D. in serial killing. Killed only the best victims – Perhaps Bundy’s most significant impact on the public consciousness was the breadth of his killing and the identities of his victims. Bundy didn’t kill prostitutes or drug dealers. He killed the police chief’s daughter. He killed pretty young college girls. His crimes caused outrage and led to nationwide media coverage. “He was killing the best and most attractive of the youth,” said Holmes. “He was killing college girls that were the future of America. They were very valuable victims.”
Serving as his own defense attorney, Bundy dragged out his execution for almost 11 years. Snippets of his televised trial in Miami came into people’s homes on the news each night. By the time he was executed in 1989 at age 42, Bundy was so widely despised that, according to Schechter’s book, people gathered outside the prison where he was to be electrocuted to toast his death with champagne. Across the state of Washington, Keppel said taverns in every city put up billboards celebrating his impending execution: “Drink one to Bundy.”
Ted Bundy Quotations
Theodore Robert Bundy is trying to TELL you Something:
“It is not an easy matter to isolate things. I mean, incidents which themselves could cause pressure or stress, be unpleasant to one degree or another or have a disorienting effect. You have to see it in its unique effect on the unique individual. There are no broad generalizations or predictions you can make. You just can’t predict behavior like that. Society wants to believe it can identify evil people … it’s not practical … If someone does something antisocial and deviant, that is a manifestation of something that is going on inside. Once they do something, then they can be labeled. Predictions can’t be made until that point is reached.”
“I think that you could say that the influence of the person’s family history was positive. But not positive enough — not enduring, perhaps not strong enough to overcome the urges or compulsions that resulted … in this instance, the influence of the family and the environment in which this person grew up were positive, but not so positive as to prepare this individual … ” “You take the individual we are talking about … and then you subject him to stress. Stress happens to come randomly, but its effect on the personality is not random; it’s specific. That results in a certain amount of chaos, confusion, and frustration. That person begins to seek out a target for his frustrations. The continued nature of this stress this person was under — the nature of the flaw or weakness in his personality, together with other elements in the environment that offer him a logical target for his frustrations or escapes from reality — yields the situation we’re discussing … There is no trigger, it is truly more sophisticated than that.”
“I hate to use labels that are psychological or psychiatric because there are no stereotypes, and when you start to use those labels, you stop looking at the facts.” “This condition is not immediately seen by the individual or identified as a serious problem. It sort of manifests itself in an interest concerning sexual behavior, as sexual images … But this interest, for some unknown reason, becomes geared toward matters of a sexual nature that involves violence. I cannot emphasize enough the gradual development of this. It is not short term … This is on a different level than this individual would deal with women every day, and not in the context of sexual condition, because that is over here someplace, like collecting stamps. He doesn’t retain the taste of glue, so to speak, all day long. But in a broader, more abstract way, it begins to preoccupy him.”
“He has no hatred for women; there is nothing in his background that happened that would indicate he has been abused by any females … there is some kind of weakness that gives rise to this individual’s interest in the kind of sexual activity involving violence that would gradually begin to absorb some of his fantasy … he was not imagining himself actually doing these things, but he found gratification from reading about others so engaged. Eventually the interest would become so demanding toward new material that it could only be catered to by what he could find in the dirty book stores.”
[Bundy described the part of “this personality” that found gratification in the thoughts, and later acts, of sexual violence as “the entity,” “the disordered self,” and “the malignancy.” The schemes or ruses used for isolating and abducting his victims, were a result of fantasy, and attributed to the “Ted,” or dominant part of the personality. The following are statements made by Ted in which he discusses the progressive pattern of sexual violence prior to the commission of murder.]
“Say he was walking down the street on one occasion, one evening, and just totally, by chance … looked up into the window of a house and saw a woman undressing … And he began, with some regularity, with increasing regularity, to, uh, canvass, as it were, the community he lived in. By peeping in windows, as it were, and watching a woman undress, or watching whatever could be seen, you know, during the evening, and approaching it almost like a project, throwing himself into it, literally for years … These occasions when he when he would, uh, travel about the neighborhoods that adjoined his and search out candidates for … search out places where … he could see what he wanted to see … more or less these occasions were dictated … still being dictated by this person’s normal life. So he wouldn’t break a date or postpone an important, uh, event … wouldn’t rearrange his life … to accommodate this, uh, indulgence in voyeuristic behavior … He gained … a great amount of gratification from it. And he became increasingly adept at it — as anyone becomes adept at anything they do over and over and over again … What began to happen was that … important matters were not being rearranged or otherwise interfered with by this voyeuristic behavior, but with increasing regularity, things were postponed or otherwise rescheduled, to, uh, work around, uh, hours and hours spent on the street, at night and during the early morning hours.”
” … what’s happening is that we’re building up the condition … and what may have been a predisposition for violence becomes a disposition. And as the condition develops and its purposes or its characteristics become more well defined, it begins to demand more time of the individual … There’s a certain amount of tension, uh, struggle, between the normal personality and this, this, uh, psychopathological, uh, entity … The tension between normal individual, uh, normal consciousness of this individual and those demands being submitted to him via this competing … this condition inside him seems to be competing for more attention … And it’s not an independent thing. One doesn’t switch on and the other doesn’t switch off. They’re more or less active at the same time. Sometimes one is more active … ”
” … a point would be reached where we’d had all of this, this reservoir of tension building. Building and building. Finally, inevitably, this force — this entity — would make a breakthrough … Maybe not a major breakthrough, but a significant breakthrough would be achieved — where the tension would be too great and the demands and expectations of this entity would reach a point where they just could not be controlled. And where the consequences would really be seen for the first time.” ” I think you could make a little more sense of it if you take into account the effect of alcohol. It’s important … When this person drank a good deal, his inhibitions were significantly diminished. He would find that his urge to engage in voyeuristic behavior on trips to the book store would become more prevalent, more urgent. On every occasion when he engaged in such behavior, he was intoxicated.”
” … On one particular evening, when he had been drinking a great deal … and he was passing a bar, he saw a woman leaving the bar and walk up a fairly dark side street. And we’d say that for no … the urge to do something to that person seized him — in a way he’d never been affected before … And it seized him strongly. And to the point where, uh, without giving a great deal of thought, he searched around for some instrumentality to uh, uh, attack this woman with. He found a piece of a two-by-four in a lot somewhere and proceeded to follow and track this girl … and he reached the point where he was, uh, almost driven to do something — there was really no control at this point … the sort of revelation of that experience and the frenzied desire that seized him, uh, really seemed to usher in a new dimension to the, that part of himself that was obsessed with … violence and women and sexual activity — a composite kind of thing. Not terribly well defined, but more well defined as time went on.”
“On succeeding evenings he began to, uh, scurry around this same neighborhood, obsessed with the image he’d seen on the evening before … and on one particular occasion, he saw a woman park her car and walk up to her front door and fumble with her keys. He walked up behind her and struck her with a … piece of wood that he was carrying. And she fell down and began screaming, and he panicked and ran. What he had done had … purely terrified him … The sobering effect of that was to … for some time … close up the cracks again. And not do anything. For the first time, he sat back and swore to himself that he wouldn’t do something like that again … or anything that would lead to it … And he did everything he should have done. He stayed away from … he did not go out at night. And when he was drinking, he stayed around friends. For a period of months, the enormity of what he did stuck with him, and he watched his behavior and reinforced the desire to overcome what he had begun to perceive were some problems that were probably more severe than he would have liked to believe they were … within a matter of months … the impact of this event lost its … deterrent value. And within months he was back … peeping in windows again and slipping into that old routine … the repulsion began to recede … something did stick with him. That was the incredible danger: by allowing himself to fall into spontaneous, unplanned acts of violence … It took six months or so, until he back thinking of alternative means of engaging in similar activities, but not … something that would be likely to result in apprehension.”
“Then on another night he saw a woman walking home … he followed her home … Eventually, he created a plan where he would attack her in, in the house … early one morning, uh, he sneaked into her house … he jumped on the woman’s bed and attempted to restrain her… all he succeeded in doing was waking her up, and, uh, causing her to panic and scream. He left very rapidly … And then he was seized with the same kind of disgust, repulsion, and fear and wonder at why he was allowing himself to attempt such extraordinary violence … But the significance … was that while he did the same thing he did before — stayed off the streets, vowed he’d never do it again and recognized the horror of what he’d done, and certainly was frightened by what he saw happening — it only took him three months to get over it this time … and then the next incident, he was over it in a month — until it didn’t take him any time at all to recover… ”
“We are talking about anonymous, abstracted, living and breathing people … but they were not known. To a point they were symbols, uh, but once a certain point in the encounter had been crossed, they ceased being individuals and became, uh, well you could say problems … that’s not the word either… that’s when the rational self — the normal self — would surface and, and, react with fear and horror … But, recognizing the state of affairs, would sort of conspire with this other part of himself to conceal the act. The survival took precedence over remorse … the normal individual, began to condition mentally, out guilt out guilt; using a variety of mechanisms. Saying it was justifiable, it was, uh, acceptable, it was necessary, and on and on.”
“He received no pleasure from harming or causing pain to the person he attacked. He received absolutely no gratification from causing pain and did everything possible, within reason — considering the unreasonableness of the situation — not to torture these individuals, at least not physically.”
[The following are statements made by Ted concerning the abduction and murder of twenty-one year old college co-ed Lynda Healy, which occurred on January 31, 1974. Healy was vanish ed from the basement bedroom the home which she shared with several other students. More than year had passed before her remains were discovered, as were those of three other young women, scattered on the hillside of Taylor Mountain.]
” … he checked out the house and found that the front door was open. He thought about it. What kind of opportunity that offered. And returned to the house later and entered the house … Then he went around the house and found a particular door and opened — really hit and miss. Not knowing who or what, not looking or anyone in particular … that would be the opportunity. This was late at night. And presumably everyone would be asleep … we know that sometime later the remains were found somewhere in the Cascades. So obviously she transported up there … some place that was quiet and private. His home or some secluded area … He would have the girl undress and then, with that part of himself gratified, he found himself in a position where he realized then he couldn’t let the girl go. And at that point he would kill her and leave her body where he had taken her.”
“As far as remorse over the act, that would last for a period of time. But it could all be justified. The person would attempt to justify it by saying, “Well, listen you, you fucked up this time, but you’re never going to do it again. So let’s just stay together, and it won’t ever happen again.” Why sacrifice this person’s whole life … But this did not last for very long. A matter of weeks. We go first into a state of semi-dormancy, and then it would sort of regenerate itself, in one form or another … Once the condition began to reassert its force, it didn’t look back. It looked forward. Didn’t want to dwell on the preceding event, but begin to plan, anticipate, contemplate the next … things would be learned. Experience teaches in overt and subtle ways. And over a period of time, there would be less panic, there would be less confusion, there would be less fear and apprehension. There would be a faster regeneration period.”
The following statements are made by Ted concerning the abduction and murder of twenty-two year old Kathy Parks. Kathy was last seen on May 6, 1974 at Oregon State University. Her remains were discovered approximately a year later on the hillside of Taylor Mountain.]
“It was established quite early in the case that her body had been ravished by wildlife … a whole variety of wild animals … feed on the carcasses … This might give us one as clue as to why this person returned to that site on at least several occasions . Perhaps it was discovered that when a body was left there, and later when the individual would return to check out the situation, he would find that it was no longer there!”
The following statements made by Ted are not relative to any one crime in particular.]
“Once he’d made his contact — and it appeared he was going to be able to carry it through — he became very calm and analytical about the situation he was in … a period of relaxation … until it came time for him to kill the victim … he would become torn apart as to the correctness of his conduct … he’d still have the overriding need to dispose of the victim, and, of course, once it was done, he would usually go into a state of panic. Suddenly it would seem as if the dominant, or formerly dominant … the predominant, normal self came back into control in a horrifying way. Or one that is presented with … conceived with panic and confusion … Fear of being captured or discovered … I would envision a continuation of this kind of collaboration … between that one part of this person’s self. Which demands certain gratification, and the more dominant, law-abiding, more ethical, rational, normal self — which was sort of forced to become a party to this kind of conduct. Basically you might say there was a shared division of responsibility. This came as much from evolution as from conscious choice.”
” … this activity is just a small, small portion of what was predominantly a normal existence … which continued to be a normal existence … This person could still be very much in favor of law and order and the police … and be very genuinely shocked by crime in the newspaper. And very much moved by people who suffered the death of a loved one. Complete, genuine responding in a normal fashion. Willing and able to help police. He would have a real feeling in those regards. Not out of a desire to protect or hide. These were just normal responses … The uniqueness of the whole situation is how this condition pertained to such a narrow spectrum of activity. The inhibitions that would normally prevent a person from acting that way were specifically excised, removed, diminished, repressed … in such a way as to not affect all the other inhibitions — or to result in the deterioration off the entire personality. But only in that tiny, tiny slice!”
“We would expect that after the passing of a period of time, this psychological condition, or part of that individual’s self … would reach a state of maturity … its growth would greatly diminish … the normal self had a pretty good understanding of this condition. Learned, uh, how to tolerate it..And perhaps, as a symptom of this matured state of development of the condition … we’d expect this individual wouldn’t need to drink to over come his inhibitions.”
“It’s like trying to examine what’s in the medical cabinet by, in great detail, examining what’s in the mirror … he wasn’t seeing through perhaps, the morass of justifications and obfuscations that he’d created and indulged in — and what he was closely examining was the reflection in the mirror, not what was behind it. Not what was really going on … on the one hand he thought he’d looked at the problem and dealt with it.”
TB: How does a person . . . how does a soldier deal with war?
HA: Well, he has the justification built in, you see, there.
TB: So does the mass murderer.
Psychiatric Evaluation of Ted Bundy
(Deposition of Dr. Emanuel Tanay)
The following is a deposition taken by Polly Nelson, who represented Bundy throughout the collateral appeal process. It was only at this stage that the question of Ted Bundy’s sanity was raised, though not in relation to the crimes. Nelson was hoping prove to the court that Bundy was not, at the time, comepetent to stand trial, therefore invalidating his conviction on three counts of murder. Dr. Emauel Tanay, who evaluated Bundy in 1979, is testifying as to what his findings were at that time.
Saturday, December 12, 1987.
Polly Nelson: What were your impressions of Mr. Bundy when you examined him on May eighteenth, 1979?
Dr. Emanuel Tanay: My impressions were that he was an individual who was indeed rather intelligent – who was well informed about a variety of matters – but, just as I indicated in my preliminary report, based on documents only, namely April twenty-seventh, 1979, he showed a typical picture of someone who suffers from a lifelong personality disorder. Someone who was, what we would call in psychiatry, an impulse-ridden indivdual, prone to acting out and more involved with immediate gratification than any long-term concerns. He was what in the literature has been described in the past as a typical psychopathic type of personality. This is an old term that is no longer used outside of textbooks, but nevertheless I found it quite descriptive of Mr. Bundy.
Nelson: What do you mean by the term “impulse-ridden?”
Tanay: Someone who has no control, or at least impaired control, over his or her impulses. Most people might perceive a certain type of impulse to act in a certain fashion, because it might gratify some kind of need, but they will reflect about it and make choices. Impulse-ridden individuals don’t have that ability. They are driven to gratify their impulse without subjecting it to reflection.
Nelson: Turning to page four of Exhibit Fifteen, you state that “in the nearly three hours which I spent with Mr. Bundy I found him to be in a cheerful, even jovial, mood. He was witty but not flippant; he spoke freely; however, meaningful communication was never established. He was asked about his apparent lack of concern so out of keeping with the charges facing him. He acknowledged that he was facing a possible death sentence. However, he said, ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.’ ” Do you recall that impression?
Tanay: Yes, I do.
Nelson: Could you describe more fully what Mr. Bundy’s mood and affect was like at that time?
Tanay: Mr. Bundy was more involved with impressing me with his brilliance and his wit than to use the services that had been arranged for him of an expert. He was informed that I was someone of national reputation and that he was to avail himself of these services – Mr. Minerva and other members of the defense team had so informed me – but that did not take place. Mr. Bundy dealt with me as if I was a reporter for Time magazine or some other publication. He certainly didn’t deal with me as if I was a psychiatrist retained by the defense to assist in defending him when he was facing a death sentence. He played a similar game with me as he played with the investigators.
Nelson: In what way?
Tanay: You see, I pointed out to him that a person who committed these type of sadistic homicides may be someone who may have available to him the defense of insanity, and I clearly indicated to him that it may be useful for him to discuss that with me; and just like he did with the investigators, he was confessing that he did – and I say “confessing” in quotes, because it wasn’t an official confession, but he was leading me to believe that he indeed committed these acts. Just like he told the investigators, to use their own words, that he was telling them that he did it, and yet he wasn’t. So he was creating a situation where he was pursuading people that he committed these acts and yet making it impossible for a psychiatrist, like myself, to review this in a manner that could convceivably assist his lawyer in formulating a defense, and he played it, ya know, he talked to me but never really talked to me about the situation directly. He never acknowledged that he committed the acts, therefore we could never discuss them, and yet he was indicating, in a manner that I can’t really describe to you, just as he did with the police officers, that he was the one who did it.
Nelson: What was your impression of the reason that Mr. Bundy was acting in that way?
Tanay: My impression was that it was typical behavior of a psychopath who likes to defy authority, who has a need, who is driven to defy authority – and that includes lawyers, psychiatrists, law enforcement, judges – and that was more important to him than saving his own life. He was typically responding to a gratification of the moment.
Nelson: You wrote here on page five of Exhibit Fifteen that “Mr. Bundy rationalized away every piece of evidence which linked him to the crime,” and a little further down, “Mr. Bundy has an incapacity to recognize the significance of the evidence held against him. It would be simplistic to characterize this as merely lying, in as much as he acts as if his perception of the evidence was reality – he makes decisions based upon these distorted perceptions of reality.” Do those statements accurately reflect your opinions concerning Mr. Bundy?
Tanay: Yes. On the same page I am describing, or making reference to what I knew at the time the evidence was against him, which certainly I was told by his attorneys was persuasive. By confronting him with the interview I tried to find out if he would respond to my pointing out to him the reality that he was facing, which he did. He simply rejected it.
Nelson: At the bottom of the same page you state, “It is my opinion, based on a variety of data, that his dealings with the criminal justice system are dominated by psychopathology.” Are you referring there merely to the alleged crimes or to Mr. Bundy’s other behaviors?
Tanay: Both. He was doing the same thing, he was being the same psychopath when he dealt with his victims that he tortured and killed as when he was dealing with lawyers who were helping him, or investigators who were trying to solve the crime. He was behaving in the same manner – psychiatrically it was the same, even though the consequences were obviously not as tragic, since he couldn’t harm anybody in the manner that he harmed his victims. He was harming other people. He was destructive to himself. He was destructive to his lawyers. My observations were that he was manipulating people around him, including his lawyers, even though it was destructive to him. Ultimately he was the victim of it all, but he was victimizing other people even while he was in jail.
Nelson: In your opinion, was this behavior of Mr Bundy’s under his conscious control?
Tanay: No, it was not. This was part and parcel of his maladaptive personality structure. He was doing what was dictated by his personality disorder.
Nelson: This psychopathology that you note, with which he deals with the criminal justice system, was that a temporary phenomena or was it a chronic condition?
Tanay: It was a lifelong pattern. It was not a temporary phenomena. It was an expression of his basic persoanlity structure.
Nelson: Would you describe Exhibit One?
Tanay: The real background of it is the fact that I told Mr. Minerva that I did not believe that Mr. Bundy would do what he was told to do, and my recollection was that Mr. Minerva was writing this to confirm that I was right, because I did – I recall Mr. Minerva expressing to some degree, I would have to say, admiration, for the fact that I had anticipated what would occur – I did not think that Mr. Bundy would cooperate.
Nelson: Cooperate in what manner?
Tanay: With the advice of his lawyers – including even Mr. Farmer, who supposedly Mr. Bundy greatly respected and admired – and that he would take the guilty plea, because it was my view that he would not, because that would terminate the show, his ability to be the celebrity would come to an end, he would be just someone who was spared from the death sentence, and the show would be over. Whereas, his need was to have the proceedings go on and on in order to gratify his pathological needs.
Nelson: If Mr.Bundy made the decision to reject the plea bargain, in your opinion would that have been a rational decision?
Tanay: No. It was, in my opinion, clearly an irrational decision, even though I anticipated it, not because it was rational but because it was consistent with the psychopathology, the mental disorder from which he suffered. In fact, had he done what his lawyers advised him to do, that would have been rational, since it was forseeable that he would be convicted and face the death penalty.
Nelson: Was Mr. Bundy’s behavior with his attorney and his actions in terms of self-representation and other defense matters, was that an integral part of his psychopathology?
Tanay: Very definitely so. He behaved like a typical psychopath with his lawyers, and, for that matter, with me.
Nelson: You testified at the competency hearing of June eleventh, 1979. At that hearing, did Mr. Bundy’s competency counsel, Mr. Hayes, explore your opinion to develop facts on which to make a decision as to Mr. Bundy’s competency?
Tanay: No one did that. To be very simplistic about it, my feeling of that hearing was like someone who dressed up for the party and arrived and they canceled the party. I was asked very few questions, and very little information about my knowledge of Mr. Bundy or the case was placed on the record.
Nelson: In your experience as an expert witness, was this proceeding unique?
Tanay: I have testified – I belive the first time was thrity years ago, and I have testified on many occasions since – but this is the only case like that, where I have been declared an adverse witness to both parties, and where information that I had was really not developed by the means of an adversary proceeding. Normally, one side pulls in one direction, the other side pulls in the other direction, and considerable information is elicited. I always consider cross-examination to be essential to develop a point of view that I am presenting.
Nelson: Did you feel that your opinion was adequately presented in this hearing?
Tanay: Not at all. Not at all. There was no exploration – that was my impression, I made some notes of it – that was my impression of what happened, and when I read it now that just confirms that my considerable work invested in the case was not utilized in that hearing. I mean, I did not develop my opinion and explain my opinion in this case. An expert witness, unlike a lecturer in a classroom, cannot function on his or her own. He or she is completely, say, at the mercy of whoever takes the testimony.
Nelson: Did you have an opinion at the time of the hearing on June eleventh whether or not Mr. Bundy was able to assist his counsel?
Tanay: Considering the nature of the functions that he was to perform as a defendant claiming innocence, it was my opinion that he was not able to stand trial. When you say assist his counsel, he was his own counsel.
Nelson: Was he capable of changin g that behavior and not becoming his own counsel?
Tanay: In my opinion, he was not. He was predictably unpredictable. What I mean by that is that one could anticipate that he would be guided more by showmanship than prudence.
Nelson: Was Mr. Bundy able meaningfully to assit his counsel at that time?
Tanay: He was not.
Nelson: Referring to the first factor in the Florida rules of criminal procedure governing competency to stand trial, do you have an opinion as to whether Mr. Bundy was able to appreciate the charges?
Tanay: Yes, I do have an opinion that he was able to appreciate the charges intellectually.
Nelson: When you say “intellectually,” do you mean that there was some way in which he was not able to appreciate the charges?
Tanay: That’s true. I’m of the opinion that he did not appreciate the seriousness of the charges. He could intellectually tell you what the charges were, but he just dismissed them as real insignificant – based on his rich imagination of law enforcement – which was not the case. Clearly the charges were based upon solid evidence, but that was not his view.
Nelson: Dr. Tanay, when you say that Mr. Bundy dismissed the weight of the evidence against him, was that merely carelessness on his part or was that due to an emotional or mental factor?
Tanay: It was part of the illness, his attitude was the product, the outcome, of the nature of the illness.
Nelson: Looking to the second factor of the Florida standards, was Mr. Bundy able to appreciate the range and the nature of the possible penalty?
Tanay: Again, intellectually he was. As I pointed out in my report, he said that he would cross that bridge when he came to it, when I was asking him, Do you know that you are facing th death snetence? He could intellectually acknowledge it, but he sure didn’t act like a man who was facing a death sentence. He was acting like a man who did not have a care in the world. I think I commented upon it in my report, that he was cheerful and acted more like a man who was not in jail but was onstage.
Nelson: Was that fact psychiatrically significant?
Tanay: Yes. It’s consistent with the diagnosis that I have previously described, of someone who is typical psychopath or suffers from a personality disorder.
Nelson: Dr. Tanay, did you ever observe Mr. Bundy with Mr. Minerva?
Tanay: Yes. As I indicated in my report, Mr. Bundy was acting as if Mr. Minerva was his third assistant and not a lawyer representing him.
Nelson: Did you in June of 1979 have an opinion as to Mr. Bundy’s ability to assist his attorneys in planning his defense?
Tanay: I did have an opinion.
Nelson: And what was that opinion?
Tanay: That he was unable to assist in planning his defense. To the contrary, he was interfering with whatever meaningful plans the defense made. He sabotaged pretty consitently what the defense lawyers had worked out. His conduct was symptomatic of his illness, and it was outside his control.
Nelson: What was your opinion as to Mr. Bundy’s motivation to help himself in the legal process?
Tanay: He was not motivated by a need to help himself. He was motivated by the need to be the star of the show, as I pointed out in my report. He was the producer of a play in which he was playing a big role. The defense and his future were of secondary importance to him. Tanay: Definitely not. I have absolutely no doubt that he was a disaster as cocounsel or chief counsel of his own defense and that was certainly forseeable.
Decade After Ted Bundy’s Execution, Survivors Still Quiver, Mourn
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – The heavy footsteps of emergency medical technicians and the crackling of police radios awakened Susan Denton from a deep sleep to a scene of horror and blood. In the hallway of Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University in Tallahassee, her friend Karen Chandler was being loaded onto a gurney. Another sorority sister, Kathy Kleiner, sat dazed on her bed down the hall, blood pouring down her face. Two others had been strangled: Margaret Bowman’s body lay in her room, and Lisa Levy died on the way to the hospital.
“When you realize how close it occurred, you think why was it their room and not our room? You go through all that,” said Ms. Denton in an interview recently. She still quivers at the memory of the January 1978 attacks and of the sinister stranger with the engaging smile and magnetic appeal who was finally convicted of the rampage, Theodore Robert Bundy. It has been 10 years since Ted Bundy was executed in Florida’s electric chair. “There probably wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think of Lisa and Margaret,” said Ms. Denton, who for 14 years worked to make Florida’s victim rights laws more sensitive to crime victims.
From early 1974 to early 1978, the stranger called “Ted” stalked young women on college campuses, at shopping malls, in apartment buildings and grade schools in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Colorado and finally Florida. “He was the kind of charmer that you would take home to your sister,” said David Lee, now with the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. Two decades ago, on Feb. 15, 1978, as a Pensacola policeman he had spotted a stolen Volkswagen and signaled the driver to pull over.
During questioning, the driver kicked Lee’s legs out from under him and ran. Lee fired a warning shot, then a second round at the fleeing man. Lee thought he had wounded the man but soon found himself in a struggle over his gun. He finally subdued and arrested the man. It turned out that Lee had apprehended one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted. The man was a suspect in the murders of the two Chi Omega sisters and Kimberly Leach, a 12-year-old abducted from outside her school in Lake City on Feb. 9, 1978, brutalized and left dead in a deserted hog shed. He was Ted Bundy.
As a teen, Bundy was shy and sensitive. At a Seattle crisis center, he counseled the depressed, the alcoholic, the suicidal. He graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Washington in 1972, designed a program for dealing with habitual criminals and wrote a pamphlet on rape for the King County crime commission. Although no one knows for sure how many women Bundy killed, his first victim is believed to be Mary Adams, 18, whose battered body was found in her Seattle bedroom on Jan. 4, 1974.
In the next year and a half, police investigated several disappearances and killings of women in the West, some of them since linked to Bundy. He was arrested in August 1975 and convicted in March 1976 of kidnapping Carol DaRonch in Utah. That fall, he was charged with killing a Michigan nurse in Aspen, Colo. But he escaped from custody twice, the last time in December 1977. And once again, the murders started mounting.
Bob Keppel, chief investigator of the Washington state attorney general’s office, spent Bundy’s final days trying to tie him to unsolved crimes. “There was no human remains found. We were able to feel he was the one who committed all the murders. He confessed to more than 30 of them,” said Keppel, author of “The River Man” about Bundy’s murderous odyssey.
Mike Minerva, who defended Bundy in the Chi Omega murders, said prosecutors offered a deal to spare his life if he pleaded guilty to the three Florida slayings in exchange for 75 years in prison. Bundy backed out at the last minute. “It made him realize he was going to have to stand up in front of the whole world and say he was guilty. He just couldn’t do it,” said Minerva, who works in the public defender’s office in Tallahassee. After 11 years of trials and appeals, then-Florida Gov. Bob Martinez signed the final death warrant against Bundy on Jan. 17, 1989.
On the night before his execution, Bundy talked of suicide, recalled Bill Hagmaier, chief of the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes. “We had some discussions about morality and the taking of another life and his concerns about trying to explain to God about his actions,” Hagmaier added.
After drafting a will and letters to his mother, wife and daughter, there was one more thing the killer wanted. “He wanted to rehearse his execution,” Hagmaier said. “I talked him through it, the mechanics of it.” “I’m afraid to die,” Bundy told him.
The sun was peeking over the horizon on Jan. 24, 1989, when a black-hooded executioner turned a switch that sent 2,000 volts through Bundy’s body. As witnesses walked into the cold air from the stuffy execution viewing area, fireworks erupted in the cow pasture across the road from Florida State Prison. There, hawkers sold “Burn Bundy Burn” T-shirts and gold electric-chair lapel pins. Dozens cheered when the hearse carrying his body drove by. Assistant State Attorney Bob Dekle helped put Bundy in the electric chair for the murder of little Kimberly Leach. As he watched the execution, his mind replayed vivid images of that April day in 1978 when her body was discovered. “I’m satisfied that it’s over,” he said recently, “but for some people like Kim Leach’s family, it will never be over.”
Theodore Robert Bundy
The Wacky World of Murder
BORN : November 24, 1946
DIED : January 24, 1989
VICTIMS : 23+
Ted Bundy is a striking contrast to the general image of a “homicidal maniac”: attractive, self-assured, politically ambitious, and successful with a wide variety of women. But his private demons drove him to extremes of violence that make the gory worst of modern “slasher” films seem almost petty by comparison. With his chameleon-like ability to blend, his talent for belonging, Bundy posed an ever-present danger to the pretty, dark-haired women he selected as his victims.
Linda Healy was the first fatality. On January 31, 1974, she vanished from her basement lodgings in Seattle, leaving bloody sheets behind, a blood-stained nightgown hanging in her closet. Several blocks away, young Susan Clarke had been assaulted, bludgeoned in her bed a few weeks earlier, but she survived her crushing injuries and would eventually recover. As for Lynda Healy, she was gone without a trace.
Police had no persuasive evidence of any pattern yet, but it would not be long in coming. On March 12, Donna Gail Manson disappeared en route to a concert in Olympia, Washington. On April 17, Susan Rancourt vanished on her way to see a German language film in Ellensburg.
On May 6, Roberta Parks failed to return from a late-night stroll in her Corvallis neighborhood. On June 1, Brenda Ball left Seattle’s Flame Tavern with an unknown man and vanished, as if into thin air. Ten days later, Georgann Hawkins joined the list of missing women, lost somewhere between her boyfriend’s apartment and her own sorority house in Seattle.
Now detectives had their pattern. All the missing women had been young, attractive, with their dark hair worn at shoulder length or longer, parted in the middle. In their photos, laid out side-by-side, they might have passed for sisters, some for twins. Homicide investigators had no corpses yet, but they refused to cherish false illusions of a happy ending to the case. There were so many victims, and the worst was yet to come.
July 14. A crowd assembled on the shores of Lake Sammamish to enjoy the sun and water sports of summer. When the day was over, two more names would be appended to the growing list of missing women: Janice Ott and Denise Naslund had each disappeared within sight of their separate friends, but this time police had a tenuous lead. Passers-by remembered seeing Janice Ott in conversation with a man who carried one arm in a sling; he had been overheard to introduce himself as “Ted.”
With that report in hand, detectives turned up other female witnesses who were themselves approached by “Ted” at Lake Sammamish. In each case, he had asked for help securing a sailboat to his car. The lucky women had declined, but one had followed “Ted” to where his small Volkswagen “bug” was parked; there was no sign of any sailboat, and his explanation – that the boat would have to be retrieved from a house “up the hill” – had aroused her suspicions, prompting her to put the stranger off.
Police now had a fair description of their suspect and his car. The published references to “Ted” inspired a rash of calls reporting “suspects,” one of them in reference to college student Theodore Bundy. The authorities checked out each lead as time allowed, but Bundy was considered “squeaky clean;” a law student and Young Republican active in law-and-order politics, he once had chased a mugger several blocks to make a citizen’s arrest. So many calls reporting suspects had been made from spite or simple overzealousness, and Bundy’s name was filed away with countless others, momentarily forgotten.
On September 7, hunters found a makeshift graveyard on a wooded hillside several miles from Lake Sammamish. Dental records were required to finally identify remains of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund; the skeleton of a third woman, found with the others, could not be identified. Five weeks later, on October 12, another hunter found the bones of two more women in Clark County.
One victim was identified as Carol Valenzuela, missing for two months from Vancouver, Washington, on the Oregon border; again, the second victim would remain unknown, recorded in the files as a “Jane Doe.” Police were optimistic, hopeful that discovery of victims would eventually lead them to the killer, but they had no way of knowing that their man had given them the slip already, moving on in search of safer hunting grounds and other prey.
The terror came to Utah on October 2, 1974, when Nancy Wilcox disappeared in Salt Lake City. On October 18, Melissa Smith vanished in Midvale; her body, raped and beaten, would be unearthed in the Wasatch Mountains nine days later. Laura Aime joined the missing list in Orem, on October 31, while walking home in costume from a Halloween party; a month would pass before her battered, violated body was discovered in a wooded area outside of town. A man attempted to abduct attractive Carol Da Ronch from a Salt Lake City shopping mall November 8, but she was able to escape before he could attach a pair of handcuffs to her wrists. That evening, Debbie Kent was kidnapped from the auditorium at Salt Lake City’s Viewmont High School.
Authorities in Utah kept communications open with police in other states, including Washington. They might have noticed that a suspect from Seattle, one Ted Bundy, was attending school in Utah when the local disappearances occurred, but they were looking for a madman, rather than a sober, well-groomed student of the law who seemed to have political connections in Seattle. Bundy stayed on file, and was again forgotten.
With the new year, Colorado joined the list of hunting grounds for an elusive killer who apparently selected victims by their hairstyles. Caryn Campbell was the first to vanish, from a ski lodge at Snowmass on January 12; her raped and battered body would be found on February 17. On March 15, Julie Cunningham disappeared en route to a tavern in Vail. One month later to the day, Melanie Cooley went missing while riding her bicycle in Nederland; she was discovered eight days later, dead, her skull crushed, with her jeans pulled down around her ankles. On July 1, Shelly Robertson was added to the missing list in Golden; her remains were found on August 23, discarded in a mine shaft near the Berthoud Pass.
A week before the final, grim discovery, Ted Bundy was arrested in Salt Lake City for suspicion of burglary. Erratic driving had attracted the attention of police, and an examination of his car – a small VW – revealed peculiar items such as handcuffs and a pair of panty hose with eyeholes cut to form a stocking mask.
The glove compartment yielded gasoline receipts and maps that linked the suspect with a list of Colorado ski resorts, including Vail and Snowmass. Carol Da Ronch identified Ted Bundy as the man who had attacked her in November, and her testimony was sufficient to convict him on a charge of attempted kidnapping. Other states were waiting for a shot at Bundy now, and in January 1977 he was extradited to Colorado for trial in the murder of Caryn Campbell, at Snowmass.
Faced with prison time already, Bundy had no time to spare for further trials. He fled from custody in June, and was recaptured after eight days on the road. On December 30 he tried again, with more success, escaping all the way to Tallahassee, Florida, where he found lodgings on the outskirts of Florida State University. Suspected in a score of deaths already, Bundy had secured himself another happy hunting ground.
In the small hours of January 15, 1978, he invaded the Chi Omega sorority house, dressed all in black and armed with a heavy wooden club. Before he left, two women had been raped and killed, a third severely injured by the beating he inflicted with his bludgeon. Within the hour, he had slipped inside another house, just blocks away, to club another victim in her bed. She, too, survived. Detectives at the Chi Omega house discovered bite marks on the corpses there, appalling evidence of Bundy’s fervor at the moment of the kill.
On February 6, Ted stole a van and drove to Jacksonville, where he was spotted in the act of trying to abduct a schoolgirl. Three days later, twelve-year-old Kimberly Leach disappeared from a schoolyard nearby; she was found in the first week of April, her body discarded near Suwanee State Park.
Police in Pensacola spotted Bundy’s stolen license plates on February 15, and were forced to run him down as he attempted to escape on foot. Once Bundy was identified, impressions of his teeth were taken to compare with bite marks on the Chi Omega victims, and his fate was sealed. Convicted on two counts of murder in July 1979, he was sentenced to die in Florida’s electric chair. A third conviction and death sentence were subsequently obtained in the case of Kimberly Leach. After ten years of appeals, Bundy was finally executed in February 1989, he confessed to a total of 28 murders.
This bio was taken from “Hunting Humans,” by Michael Newton.
What We Learned from Ted Bundy
By Leilani Corpus – Forerunner.com
STARKE, FL (FR) – He was once an assistant director of the Seattle Crime Prevention advisory committee and even wrote a pamphlet instructing women on rape prevention. A one-time Boy Scout with a promising career in Washington state politics, Ted Bundy appeared to be an example of a good, upstanding citizen. But behind the congenial facade lurked a force which landed him in an electric chair in January of this year.
In the last few hours prior to his widely-publicized execution for the murder of as many as 50 young women and girls from Utah, Washington, Idaho, Colorado and Florida, the serial killer asked Christian psychologist James Dobson to visit him at the Florida State Prison. Bundy had corresponded with Dr. Dobson – a former member of President Reagan’s Commission on Pornography – for two years prior to their meeting. While anxious reporters waited outside, Bundy told Dobson about the influence of pornography on his behavior.
Bundy said he began casually reading soft-core pornography when he was 12 or 13 years old. His friends found pornographic books in the garbage cans in his neighborhood: “(F)rom time to time we would come across pornographic books of a harder nature … a more graphic, explicit nature than we would encounter at the local grocery store,” he told Dobson in the taped interview. “But slowly throughout the years reading pornography began to become a deadly habit. “My experience with pornography … is once you become addicted to it, (and I look at this as a kind of addiction like other kinds of addiction), I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Like an addiction, you keep craving something that is harder, something which gives you a greater sense of excitement. Until you reach a point where the pornography only goes so far, you reach that jumping off point where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give you that which is beyond just reading or looking at it.”
Within a few years, those latent desires fueled by pornography were expressed through his first murder. Although Bundy said he did not blame pornography, he explained that pornographic materials shaped and molded his behavior. He also warned the nation that “the most damaging kinds of pornography … are those that involve violence and sexual violence. Because the wedding of those two forces, as I know only too well, brings out the hatred that is just, just too terrible to describe.”
Bundy said that pornography “snatched me out of my home 20, 30 years ago … and pornography can reach out and snatch a kid out of any house today.” His religious training and morality initially restrained him from acting out his fantasies, but he confessed that finally, “I couldn’t hold back anymore.” Alcohol supposedly broke the restraints for him to commit his first murder. “What alcohol did in conjunction with exposure to pornography is (sic) alcohol reduced my inhibitions at the same time the fantasy life that was fueled by pornography eroded them further.”
While committing the murders, Bundy said he felt as if he was possessed by “something … awful and alien. There is just absolutely no way to describe first the brutal urge to do that kind of thing, and then what happens is once it has been more or less satisfied and recedes, you might say, or spent, that energy level recedes and basically I become myself again.” “But basically I was a normal person. I wasn’t some guy hanging out at bars or a bum. I wasn’t a pervert in the sense that people look at somebody and say, ‘I know there is something wrong with him, you can just tell.’ I was essentially a normal person,” Bundy told Dobson. “The basic humanity and the basic spirit that God gave me was intact, but unfortunately became overwhelmed at times.”
Ted Bundy acknowledged that he deserved the death penalty, even though there were anti-death penalty demonstrators outside his prison cell up until the moment of his execution. “I deserve the most extreme punishment society has,” he said. “But I don’t want to die, I kid you not.” Dobson said that Bundy wept several times during the interview: “He expressed great regret, remorse for what he had done, for the families that were hurting.” He spent his last night in prayer with a minister from Gainesville, Florida.
Bundy’s last words of confession and warning about pornography are an echo of statistics, research, and reports conducted within the last decade about the link between pornography and sexually violent crime. Unfortunately, many of the warnings in those reports still have not been heeded, and pornography has been taken for granted or considered a necessary evil.
According to a study conducted by a group of psychologists, Neil Malamuth of UCLA, Gene Abel of Columbia University, and William Marshall of Kingston Penitentiary, various forms of pornography can elicit fantasies which may lead to crime. Out of a test group of 18 rapists studied who used ‘consenting pornography’ to instigate a sexual offence, seven of them said that it provided a cue to elicit fantasies of forced sex.
A study released by the University of New Hampshire has proven that the states which have the highest readership of pornographic magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse also have the highest rape rates. The Michigan State Police department found that pornography is used or imitated in 41 percent of the sex crimes they have investigated.
The Free Congress Research and Education Foundation discovered that half of all rapists studied used soft core pornography to arouse themselves prior to seeking out a victim. Although researchers and media analysts may ballyhoo the impact of soft core pornography – claiming protection under the free speech provision of the Constitution – mounting evidence seems to be favoring a national crackdown on porn as a necessary means to stop crime.
In recent years, as more of this type of research has been published, significant gains have been made against pornographers as major retailers have removed porn from their shelves. Ted Bundy’s confessions to Dr. James Dobson – a leader of the largest segment of pro-family forces in the U.S. – promises to fuel the nationwide efforts being made on the state and local levels to eliminate the pornography problem.
By Rachael Bell
The Ted Bundy Story – Attack!
Joni Lenz’s roommates had not been particularly worried when they didn’t see her in the morning of January 4, 1974. But when she still wasn’t up and around that afternoon, they went into her basement bedroom to see if she was sick.A horrifying sight confronted them.
Ann Rule in her now famous classic book on the subject, The Stranger Beside Me, wrote that Joni, 18, had been badly beaten. A bed rod had been torn away from the bed and savagely rammed into her vagina. Shortly after the discovery, Joni was transported to the hospital in a comatose state, suffering from damages that would affect her for the rest of her life.
However, she was lucky to be alive. Joni was one of the few victims to survive an attack by Ted Bundy, who reigned terror across the United States between 1974 and 1978. There were an estimated 35 more victims after Joni who were not so fortunate. Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth in The Only Living Witness suggest that perhaps 40 young women may have fallen prey to Bundy, but only Bundy knew for sure. It is a number that Bundy has carried with him to his grave.
The Early Years
Theodore Robert Cowell was born on November 24, 1946 to Louise Cowell following her stay of three months at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Vermont . Ted’s biological father, who was an Air Force veteran, was unknown to his son throughout his life. Shortly after his birth, Ted and his mother moved back to the home of his grandparents in Philadelphia . While growing up, Ted was led to believe that his grandparents were his parents and his natural mother was his older sister. The charade was created in order to protect his biological mother from harsh criticism and prejudice of being an unwed mother.
At the age of four, Ted and his mother moved to Tacoma , Washington to live with relatives. A year after the move, Louise fell in love with a military cook named Johnnie Culpepper Bundy. In May 1951, the couple was married and Ted assumed his stepfather’s last name, which he would keep for the rest of his life.
Over the years, the Bundy family added four other siblings, who Ted spent much of his time babysitting after school. Ted’s stepfather tried to form a bond between himself and Ted by including him in camping trips and other father-son activities. However, Johnnie’s attempts were unsuccessful and Ted remained emotionally detached from his stepfather. According to Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth’s book Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer , Ted became increasingly uncomfortable around his stepfather and preferred to be alone. This desire to be by himself increased and possibly led to his later inability to socially interact comfortably with others.
As a youth, Ted was terribly shy, self-doubting and uncomfortable in social situations. He was often teased and made the butt of pranks by bullies in his junior high school. Michaud analyzed Ted’s behavior and decided that he was “not like other children, he looked and acted like them, but he was haunted by something else: a fear, a doubt — sometimes only a vague uneasiness-? that inhabited his mind with the subtlety of a cat. He felt it for years, but he didn’t recognize it for what it was until much later.” Regardless of the humiliating experiences he sometimes suffered from being different, he was able to maintain a high grade-point average that would continue throughout high school and later into college.
During his high school years, Ted appeared to blossom into a more gregarious young man. His popularity increased significantly and he was considered to be “well dressed and exceptionally well mannered.” Despite his emerging popularity, Ted seldom dated. His interests lay more in extra-curricular activities such as skiing and politics. In fact, Ted had a particular fascination with politics, an interest that would years later temporarily land him in the political arena.
Following high school, Ted attended college at the University of Puget Sound and the University of Washington . He worked his way through school by taking on several low-level jobs, such as a bus boy and shoe clerk. However, he seldom stayed with one position for very long. His employers considered him to be unreliable.
Although Ted was inconsistent with his work outside of school, he was very focused on his studies and grades. Yet, his focus changed during the spring of 1967 when he began a relationship that would forever change his life.
Ted met a girl that was everything he had ever dreamed of in a woman. She was a beautiful and highly sophisticated woman from a wealthy Californian family. Ted couldn’t believe someone from her “class” would have an interest in someone like him. Although they had many differences, they both loved to ski and it was during their many ski trips together that he fell in love. She was really Ted’s first love, and, according to Ann Rule, possibly the first woman with whom he became involved with sexually. However, she was not as infatuated with Ted as he was with her. In fact, she liked Ted a lot but believed he had no real direction or future goals. Ted tried too hard to impress her, even if that meant lying, something that she didn’t like at all.
Michaud writes that Ted won a summer scholarship to the prestigious Stanford University in California just to impress her, but at Stanford, his immaturity was exposed. He writes, “Ted did not understand why the mask he had been using had failed him. This first tentative foray into the sophisticated world had ended in disaster.”
In 1968, after his girlfriend graduated from the University of Washington, she broke off relations with Ted. She was a practical young woman and seemed to realize that Ted had some serious character flaws that took him out of the running as “husband material.”
Ted never recovered from the break-up. Nothing, including school, seemed to hold any interest for him and he eventually dropped out, dumb-founded and depressed over the break-up. He managed to stay in touch with her by writing after she returned to California, yet she seemed uninterested in getting back together. But Ted became obsessed with this young woman and he couldn’t get her out of his mind. It was an obsession that would span his lifetime and lead to a series of events that would shock the world.
A Time of Change
To make matters worse, in 1969 Bundy learned his true parentage. His “sister” was actually his mother and his “parents,” were actually his grandparents. Not unexpectedly, this late discovery had a rather serious impact on him. Michaud says that his attitude towards his mother did not change much, but he became nasty and surly to Johnnie Bundy.
It’s hard to say whether the knowledge that his mother had deceived him all his life had any impact on his other character flaws which were beginning to blossom. Throughout Ted Bundy’s high school and college years, there was always a cloud over his reputation for honesty. Many people close to him suspected him of petty thievery.
According to Marilyn Bardsley, Crime Library’s serial killer expert, Ted’s psychopathic nature was being revealed, but most of the people that witnessed it did not realize what they were experiencing. Stealing without any sense of guilt and, in fact, a sense of entitlement, is a common trait in a psychopath. Also, psychopaths get a thrill from the the excitement and danger that stealing and shoplifting presents to them. Ted’s dishonesty evolved from stealing small things in work and school situations to shoplifting to burglarizing homes for televisions and other items of value.
He changed from a shy and introverted person to a more focused and dominant character. He was driven, as if to prove himself to the world. He re-enrolled at the University of Washington and studied psychology, a subject in which he excelled. Bundy became an honors student and was well liked by his professors at the university.
It is also at this time when Ted met Elizabeth Kendall (a pseudonym under which she wrote The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy ), a woman with whom he would be involved with for almost five years. Elizabeth worked as a secretary and was a somewhat shy and quiet woman. She was a divorcee who seemed to have found in Ted Bundy the perfect father figure for her daughter. Elizabeth was deeply in love with Ted from the start and wanted to one day marry him. However, Ted said he was not yet ready for marriage because he felt there was still too much for him to accomplish. She knew that Ted didn’t feel as strongly for her as she did him. She felt that on many occasions Ted was meeting with other women. Yet, Elizabeth hoped that time would bring him around to her and he would eventually change his ways. She was unaware of his past relationship with his girlfriend from California and that they still continued to keep in contact and visit each other.
Outwardly, Ted’s life in 1969-1972 seemed to be changing for the better. He was more confident, with high hopes for his future. Ted began sending out applications to various law schools, while at the same time he became active in politics. He worked on a campaign to re-elect a Washington governor, a position that allowed Ted to form bonds with politically powerful people in the Republican Party. Ted also performed volunteer work at a crisis clinic on a work-study program. He was pleased with the path his life was taking at this time, everything seemed to be going in the right direction. He was even commended by the Seattle police for saving the life of a three-year-old boy who was drowning in a lake.
In 1973, during a business trip to California for the Washington Republican Party, Ted met up with his old girlfriend. She was amazed at the transformation in Ted. He was much more confident and mature, not as aimless as he was when they last dated. They met several other times afterwards, unknown to his steady girlfriend, Elizabeth. During Ted’s business trips he romantically courted the lovely young woman from California and she once again fell in love with him.
Marriage was a topic brought up more than once by Ted over their many intimate rendezvous during that fall and winter. Yet, just as suddenly as their romance began, it changed radically. Where once Ted lavished affection upon her, he was suddenly cold and despondent. It seemed as if Ted had lost all interest in her in just a few weeks. She was clearly confused about this “new” Ted. In February 1974, with no warning or explanation, Ted ended all contact with her. His plan of revenge worked. He rejected her as she had once rejected him. She was never to see or hear from Ted again.
A Time of Terror
Lynda Ann Healy was a very accomplished young woman. At age 21, morning radio listeners heard her friendly voice announce the ski conditions for the major ski areas in western Washington. She was a beautiful girl, tall and slim with shiny clean, long brown hair and a ready smile.
The product of a good family and an uppper-middle-class environment, she was an excellent singer and a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in psychology. She loved working with children who were mentally handicapped.
Lynda shared a house near the university with four other young women. On January 31, 1974, she and a few friends went for a few beers after dinner at Dante’s, a tavern that was popular with the university students. They didn’t stay long and Lynda went home to watch television and talk on the phone to her boyfriend. Then Lynda went to bed. The roommate in the room next to Lynda heard no noises coming from Lynda’s room that night.
Lynda had to get up every morning at 5:30 to get to her job at the radio station. The roommmate heard Lynda’s alarm go off at 5:30 as it did customarily. What was unusual was that the alarm kept buzzing. When the roommate finally went in to shut off the alarm, she heard the phone ring. It was the radio station calling to see where Lynda was. The bed in Lynda’s room was made and nothing looked disturbed, so the roommate assumed that Lynda was on her way to work.
When her parents called that afternoon to find out why Lydna had not shown up for dinner as expected, everyone became worried. Nobody had seen her. She seemed to have vanished from the house.
Lynda’s parents called the police. In Lynda’s room, they found that her bed had been made up in a way that Lynda had never made it up before. In fact, Lynda was not normally one to make up her bed. Oddly, a pillowcase and the top sheet were missing on this carefully made-up bed.
A small bloodstain of the same blood type as Lydna’s was found on the pillow and the bottom sheet. Blood was also on her nightgown that was carefully hung in the closet. An outfit of hers was missing.
Another alarming clue was that one of the doors to the house was unlocked when the girls were always vigilant about locking it.
The police were not initially convinced that Lynda had been a victim of foul play, so no fingerprint, hair or fiber evidence was gathered.
Ultimately, police realized that an intruder had somehow gotten into the house, removed her nightgown and hung it in the closet, dressed her in a change of clothes, made up the bed, wrapped Lynda in the top bed sheet and carried her out of the house — very quietly.
During that spring and summer, more women students suddenly and inexplicably vanished. There were striking similarities among many of the cases. For instance, all the girls were white, slender, single, wearing slacks at the time of disappearance, had hair that was long and parted in the middle and they all disappeared in the evening.
Also around the time of the disappearances, police interviewed college students who told them of a strange man who was seen wearing a cast on either his arm or leg. Supposedly, the stranger seemed to be struggling with books and asking young women nearby for assistance. Other eyewitnesses reported a strange man in the campus parking lot who had a cast and asked for assistance with his car, a VW bug that he apparently had difficulty starting. Interestingly, around the same area where two of the girls mysteriously disappeared, there was seen such a man wearing a cast on his arm or leg.
Finally, in August of 1974 in Washington’s Lake Sammamish State Park, the remains of some of the missing girls were found and two were later identified. It was remarkable that police were able to identify two of the bodies considering what was left — strands of various colors of hair, five thigh bones, a couple of skulls and a jaw bone. The girls identified were Janice Ott and Denise Naslund, who disappeared on the same day, July 14th.
The last people to have seen Ott, a couple picnicking near by, remembered a handsome young man approaching the young woman. From what the couple could hear of the conversation between Ott and the young man, his name was Ted and he had difficulty loading his boat onto his car because his arm was in a cast. He asked Ott for assistance and she agreed to help. That was the last time twenty-three-year-old Janice Ott was seen alive.
Denise Naslund was spending the afternoon with her boyfriend and friends when she walked towards the restroom in the park, never to return again. That afternoon, around where she disappeared, a man who wore a cast and asked for help with his boat approached a couple of women. They were unable to assist the attractive young man. However, Denise Naslund was the kind of girl to help someone in need, especially someone with a broken arm–an act of kindness that cost her life. Denise Naslund was not the last woman to disappear and be found dead.
This time the killer would travel to different states.
Midvale, Utah’s, Police Chief Louis Smith had a seventeen-year-old daughter whom he frequently warned about the dangers of the world. He had seen all too much during his career and worried for his daughter’s safety. Yet, his worst fears were to come true on October 18, 1974 when his daughter Melissa disappeared. She had been found 9 days after her disappearance — strangled, sodomized and raped.
Thirteen days later on Halloween, seventeen-year-old Laura Aime disappeared. She was found on Thanksgiving Day in the Wasatch Mountains lying dead by a river. Aime had been beaten about the head and face with a crowbar, raped and sodomized. It was suspected that she was killed someplace other than where she was found due to the lack of blood at the crime scene. Other than her body, there was no physical evidence for the police to use.
The similarities with the Washington State murders caught the attention of local police in Utah , who were frantically searching for the man responsible for the grisly crimes. With each murder, the evidence was slowly mounting. Utah police consulted with Washington State investigators. Almost all agreed that it was highly likely that the same man who committed the crimes in Washington State had also been responsible for the murders in Utah . Thanks to eyewitness accounts of the man in the cast seen near the areas where many of the women had disappeared, they were able to come up with a composite of the could-be-killer who called himself “Ted.”
When a close friend of Elizabeth Kendall saw the account of Melissa Smith’s murder in the paper and the composite of the could-be-killer, she knew that Ted Bundy must be the man. It wasn’t just her intense dislike and mistrust for Elizabeth ‘s boyfriend that led her to believe that Ted was the “man,” but also the fact that he looked so much like the composite picture in the paper.
Deep down, Elizabeth must have known her friend was right. After all, Ted did resemble the sketch, he drove a VW similar to those seen by witnesses and she had seen crutches in his room even though he never injured his leg. According to the book The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy, which was later written by Kendall , she anonymously called the Seattle Police Department in August 1974 and stated that her boyfriend “might be involved” in the recent murder cases. She called again later that fall and gave more pertinent information that might assist the investigators in the case. She also agreed to give recent pictures of Ted, to later be shown to witnesses. However, the witnesses did not make a positive I.D. after viewing the pictures and Elizabeth ‘s report was eventually filed away. The investigators working the case decided to turn their attention towards more likely suspects and Ted Bundy was forgotten until a few years later.
The killer continued to elude investigators, assuming that by operating in different states the police would be unable to compare the cases. His behavior became increasingly bold and risky as he approached women. Those who escaped his advances would later recognize him and provide the police with valuable information.
It was on November 8th, 1974, when police investigators were to get the break in the case for which they had been waiting. That Friday evening, a strange but handsome man in a book store at a Utah mall approached eighteen-year-old Carol DaRonch. The stranger told her that he had seen someone trying to break into her car and asked her to go along with him to the parking lot to see if anything had been stolen.
Carol thought that the man must have been a mall security guard because he seemed so in control of the situation. When they arrived at the car, she checked it and informed the man everything was there. The man, who identified himself as Officer Roseland, was not satisfied and wanted to escort her to police headquarters. He wanted her to ID the supposed criminal and file a complaint. When he led her to a VW bug, she became suspicious and asked for identification. He quickly showed her a gold badge and then escorted her into the car.
He drove off quickly in the opposite direction of the police station and, after a short while, he suddenly stopped the car. Fear had set into Carol DaRonch. The “police officer” suddenly grabbed her and tried to put handcuffs on her. DaRonch screamed for her life. When she screamed, the man pulled out a handgun and threatened to kill her if she didn’t stop. DaRonch found herself falling out of the car and then suddenly pushed up against the side of it by the madman. He had a crowbar in his hand and was ready to hit her head. Terror-struck, she kicked his genitals and managed to break free. DaRonch ran towards the road and caught the attention of a couple driving by. They stopped and DaRonch frantically jumped into their car. She was crying hysterically and told them a man had tried to kill her. They immediately took her to the police.
Sobbing, with the handcuffs still dangling from her wrists, she told the police what one of their men had done. But there was no man with the name of Roseland that worked there. Immediately police were dispatched to the place where DaRonch had struggled for her life just an hour earlier but the madman was long gone. However, the police were able to get a description of the man and his car and a few days later, from off the girl’s coat, a blood type. The blood was type O, the same as Ted Bundy’s, as police were later to learn.
That same evening, the director of a play at Viewmont High School was approached by a handsome man who asked for her assistance in identifying a car. Yet, she was far too busy and refused him. Again, he later approached her and asked for her assistance, and again she refused him. Something seemed odd, almost scary about the man, but she ignored it and kept on with the work at hand. It disturbed her to see the man again in the back of the auditorium and she wondered what it was he really wanted.
Debby Kent, who was watching the evening performance along with her parents, left early to pick up her brother at the bowling alley. She told her parents that she’d be back to pick them up shortly, but she never did. In fact, she never made it to the car, which stood empty in the school parking lot. Debby Kent was nowhere to be found. What police did find in the parking lot was a small handcuff key. Later, when police tried to fit the key that they found into the handcuffs worn by DaRonch earlier that night, it was a perfect match. Almost a month later, a man would call police to tell them that he had seen a tan VW bug speed away from the high school parking lot the night of Kent’s disappearance.
On January 12, 1975, Caryn Campbell; her fiancé, Dr. Raymond Gadowski; and his two children took a trip to Colorado. Caryn hoped she could enjoy the break away from work and spend more time with the children, while her fiancé attended a seminar. While relaxing in the lounge of her hotel with Gadowski and his son and daughter one night, she realized she had forgotten a magazine and returned to her room to retrieve it. Her fiancé and the children waited for her return in vain. He knew she was a bit ill that night and went back to the room to see if she needed help. Caryn was nowhere in sight. In fact, she had never made it to the room. By mid-morning, confused and worried, Gadowski informed the police of her disappearance. They searched every room in the hotel but they found no trace of Caryn.
Almost a month later and a few miles from where she had disappeared, a recreational worker found Caryn’s nude body lying a short distance from the road. Animals had ravaged her body, which made it difficult to determine the precise cause of death. However, it was evident that she received crushing fractures that could have been fatal.
Like many of the victims found in Utah and Washington , she had suffered from repeated blows to the head possibly made by a sharp instrument. According to Richard Larsen’s book Bundy: The Deliberate Stranger, the blows were so violent that one of her teeth was actually separated from the gum line in her mouth. There was also evidence that she had been raped. It was believed that she was murdered just hours after she disappeared. Apart from Caryn’s brutalized remains, there was little evidence to be found at the scene.
A few months after Caryn Campbell’s body was discovered, the remains of another person were found ten miles from where the bodies of Naslund and Ott were located. It was Brenda Ball, one of the seven women who had disappeared earlier that summer. The cause of her death was blows to the head with a blunt object.
Police searched the Taylor Mountains where the bodies were found. It would be only a couple days later when another body would be discovered. The body was that of Susan Rancourt, who had also disappeared earlier that summer. The Taylor Mountains had become the burial sight for the madman known as “Ted.” Two more bodies were found that month; one of them was Lynda Ann Healy. All of the victims suffered from severe head contusions from a blunt instrument, possibly a crowbar.
Police continued unsuccessfully to look for the killer. Five more women were found dead in Colorado under similar circumstances. They were not the last to fall victim to Ted’s killing spree.
On August 16, 1975, Sergeant Bob Hayward was patrolling an area just outside of Salt Lake County when he spotted a suspicious tan VW bug driving past him. He knew the neighborhood well and almost all the residents that lived there and he couldn’t remember seeing the tan VW there before. When he put on his lights to get a better view of the VW’s license plate, the driver of the bug turned off his lights and began speeding away.
Immediately, Sergeant Hayward began to chase the vehicle. The car sped through two stop signs before it eventually pulled over into a nearby gas station. Hayward pulled up behind the reckless driver and watched as the occupant got out of his car and approached the police car. Hayward asked the young man for his registration and license, which was issued to Theodore Robert Bundy. Just then, two other troopers pulled up behind the tan VW. Hayward noticed that the passenger seat in Bundy’s car was missing. With mounting suspicion and Bundy’s permission, the three officers inspected the VW. The officers found a crowbar, ski mask, rope, handcuffs, wire and an ice pick. Bundy was immediately placed under arrest for suspicion of burglary.
Soon after Bundy’s arrest, police began to find connections between him and the man who attacked Carol DaRonch. The handcuffs that were found in Bundy’s car were the same make and brand that her attacker had used and the car he drove was similar to the one she had described. Furthermore, the crowbar found in Bundy’s car was similar to the weapon that had been used to threaten Carol earlier that November. They also suspected that Bundy was the man responsible for the kidnapping of Melissa Smith, Laura Aime and Debby Kent. There were just too many similarities among the cases for police to ignore. However, they knew they needed much more evidence to support the case against Bundy.
On October 2nd, 1975, Carol DaRonch along with the director of the Viewmont High School play and a friend of Debby Kent were asked to attend a line-up of seven men, one of whom was Bundy, at a Utah police station. Investigators were not surprised when Carol picked Ted from the line-up as the man who had attacked her. The play director and friend of Debby Kent also picked Ted from the line-up as the man they had seen wandering around the auditorium the night Debby Kent had disappeared. Although Ted repeatedly professed his innocence, police were almost positive they had their man. Soon after he was picked out of the line-up, investigators launched a full-blown investigation into the man they knew as Theodore Robert Bundy.
During the fall of 1975, police investigators approached Elizabeth Kendall for whatever information she was able to give about Ted. They believed Elizabeth would most likely hold the key to Bundy’s whereabouts, habits and personality. What investigators learned would later help link Ted Bundy to the murder victims.
On September 16th, 1975, Elizabeth was called into the King County Police Major Crime Unit building in Washington State and interviewed by Detectives Jerry Thompson, Dennis Couch and Ira Beal. She was visibly stressed and nervous, but willing to offer the police any information necessary to help the case. When asked about Ted, she stated that on the nights of the murders, she could not account for him. Elizabeth also told police that he would often sleep during the day and go out at night, exactly where she didn’t know. She said that his interest in sex had waned during the last year. When he did show interest, he pressured her into bondage. When she told Bundy that she no longer wanted to participate in his bondage fantasies, he was very upset with her.
In a later interview with Elizabeth, investigators learned that Ted had plaster of Paris to make casts in his room, which she had noticed when they first began dating. She also noticed on a later occasion that in his car, Ted had a hatchet. But there was something else important to the case that Elizabeth would remember. She recalled that Ted had visited Lake Sammamish Park in July, where he had supposedly gone water skiing. A week after Ted had gone to Lake Sammamish Park, Janice Ott and Denise Naslund were reported missing.
After long hours of interviews with Elizabeth, investigators decided to shift their focus to Ted’s former girlfriend in California. When police contacted her, she told them of how he had abruptly changed his manner towards her from loving and affectionate to cruel and insensitive. Upon further questioning, police learned that Bundy’s relationship with his California girlfriend had overlapped with his relationship with Elizabeth and neither of them knew of the other woman. Ted seemed to be living a double life, filled with lies and betrayal. There was more to Ted than what investigators had initially expected.
Further investigation yielded more evidence that would later link him to other victims. Lynda Ann Healy was linked to Bundy through a cousin of his; more eyewitnesses would recognize him from Lake Sammamish Park during the time Ott and Naslund disappeared; an old friend of Bundy’s came forward saying he had seen pantyhose in the glove compartment of his car; plus Ted had spent a lot of time in the Taylor Mountains where the bodies of victims had been found. Bundy’s credibility was further dented when police discovered he purchased gas on credit cards in the towns where some of the victims had disappeared. Furthermore, a friend had seen him with his arm in a cast when there was no record of him ever having a broken arm. The evidence against Ted Bundy was building up, yet he still continued to profess his innocence.
On February 23, 1976 Ted was put on trial for the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch. Bundy sat in a relaxed manner in the courtroom, confident that he would be found innocent of the charges against him. He believed that there was no hard evidence to convict him, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. When Carol DaRonch took the stand, she told of her ordeal that she suffered sixteen months earlier. When asked if she were able to recognize the person who attacked her, she began to cry as she lifted her hand and pointed a finger to the man who had called himself “Officer Roseland.” The people in the courtroom turned their attention to Ted Bundy, who stared at DaRonch coldly as she pointed at him. Later in the trial, Ted had said he had never seen the defendant but he had no alibi to confirm his whereabouts the day of the attack.
The judge spent the weekend reviewing the case before he handed down a verdict. Two days later he would find Bundy guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of aggravated kidnapping. Ted Bundy was later sentenced on June 30th to one to fifteen years in prison with the possibility of parole.
While in prison, Bundy was subjected to a psychological evaluation that the court had previously requested. In Anne Rule’s book The Stranger Beside Me , she stated that psychologists found Bundy to be neither “psychotic, neurotic, the victim of organic brain disease, alcoholic, addicted to drugs, suffering from a character disorder or amnesia, and was not a sexual deviate.” The psychologists concluded that he had a “strong dependency on women, and deduced that that dependency was suspect.” Upon further evaluation, they concluded that Ted had a “fear of being humiliated in his relationships with women.”
While Bundy remained incarcerated in Utah State Prison, investigators began a search for evidence connecting him to the murders of Caryn Campbell and Melissa Smith. What Bundy did not realize was that his legal problems would soon escalate. Detectives discovered in Bundy’s VW hairs that were examined by the FBI and found to be characteristically alike to Campbell’s and Smith’s hair. Further examination of Caryn Campbell’s remains showed that her skull bore impressions made by a blunt instrument, and those impressions matched the crowbar that had been discovered in Bundy’s car a year earlier. Colorado police filed charges against Bundy on October 22, 1976, for the murder of Caryn Campbell.
In April of 1977, Ted was transferred to Garfield County Jail in Colorado to await trial for the murder of Caryn Campbell. During preparation of his case, Bundy became increasingly unhappy with his representation. He believed his lawyer to be inept and incapable and eventually he fired him. Bundy, experienced in law, believed he could do the job better and he began to take up his own defense in the case. He felt confident that he would succeed at the trial scheduled for November 14, 1977. Bundy had a lot of work ahead of him. He was granted permission to leave the confines of the jail on occasion and utilize the courthouse library in Aspen, to conduct research. What police didn’t know was that he was planning an escape.
The Great Escape
On June 7th, during one of his trips to the library at the courthouse, Bundy managed to jump from an open window, injuring his ankle in the process, and escaped to freedom. He was not wearing any leg irons or handcuffs, so he did not stand out among the ordinary citizens in the town of Aspen. It was an escape that had been planned by Ted for a while. Aspen Police were quick to set up roadblocks surrounding the town, yet Ted knew to stay within the city limits for the time being and lay low. Police launched a massive land search, using scent tracking bloodhounds and 150 searchers in the hopes of catching Ted. However, Ted was able to elude them for days.
While on the run, Bundy managed to live off the food he stole from local cabins and nearby campers, occasionally sleeping in ones that were abandoned. Yet, Bundy knew that what he really needed was a car, which would better enable him to pass through police barriers. He couldn’t hide in Aspen forever. Ted believed that he was destined to be free. According to an interview with Michaud and Aynesworth, he felt as if he were invincible and claimed that, “nothing went wrong. If something did go wrong, the next thing that happened was so good it compensated. It was even better”. Sure enough, Bundy found his ticket out of town when he discovered a car with the keys left in it. But, his luck would not last long. While trying to flee Aspen in the stolen vehicle, he was spotted.
From then on, he was ordered to wear handcuffs and leg irons while conducting his research at the library in Aspen. However, Bundy was not the type of man who liked to be tied down.
Almost seven months later, Bundy again attempted an escape, but this time he was more successful. On December 30th, he crawled up into the ceiling of the Garfield County Jail and made his way to another part of the building. He managed to find another opening in the ceiling that led down into the closet of a jailer’s apartment. He sat and waited until he knew the apartment was empty, then casually walked out of the front door to his freedom. His escape would go undiscovered until the following afternoon, more than fifteen hours later.
By the time police learned of his escape, Bundy was well on his way to Chicago. Chicago was one of the few stops that Bundy would make along the route to his final destination, sunny Florida. By mid January of 1978 Ted Bundy, using his newly acquired name Chris Hagen, had settled comfortably into a one-room apartment in Tallahassee, Florida.
Ted Bundy enjoyed his new found freedom in a place that knew little if nothing about him or his past. Bundy was stimulated by intelligence and youth and felt comfortable in his new environment nearby Florida State University. He spent much of his free time walking around F.S.U.’s campus, occasionally ducking into classes unnoticed and listening in on lectures. When he was not wandering around campus, he would spend his time in his apartment watching the television he had stolen. Theft became second nature to Bundy. Almost everything in his apartment was stolen merchandise. Even the food he ate was purchased from stolen credit cards. Under the circumstances, Bundy seemed to have enough material things to make him content. What he didn’t have and what he missed the most was companionship.
Murder On The Run
On Saturday night, January 14th, few of the sorority sisters could be found at the Chi Omega House. Most were out dancing or at keg parties on campus. It wasn’t unusual for the sisters to stay out late, since there was no curfew. In fact, it was pretty normal for the girls to return in the early morning hours. However, none of the sisters was prepared to confront the horror that awaited them back at their sorority house later that night.
At 3 AM, Nita Neary was dropped off at the sorority house by her boyfriend after attending a keg party on campus. Upon reaching the door to the house, she noticed it standing wide open. Soon after she had entered the building, she heard some movement, as if someone was running in the rooms above her. Suddenly, she heard the footsteps approaching the staircase near her and she hid in a doorway, out of view. She watched as a man with a knit blue cap pulled over his eyes, holding a log with cloth around it, ran down the stairs and out the door.
Nita’s first thought was that the sorority house had been burglarized. She immediately ran up the stairs to wake her roommate, Nancy. Nita told her of the strange man she saw leaving the building. Unsure of what to do, the girls made their way to the housemother’s room. Yet, before they were able to make it to her room, they saw another roommate, Karen, staggering down the hall. Her entire head was soaked with blood. While Nancy tried to help Karen, Nita woke up the housemother and the two of them went to check on another roommate nearby. They found Kathy in her room alive, but in a horrible state. She was also covered in blood that was seeping from open wounds on her head. Hysterical, Nancy ran to the phone and dialed the police.
Police later found two more girls dead in their rooms lying in their beds. Someone had attacked them while they slept. Lisa Levy was the first girl that officers found dead. Pathologists who later performed the autopsy on her found that she had been beaten on the head with a log, raped and strangled. Upon further examination, they discovered bite marks on her buttocks and on one of her nipples. In fact, Lisa’s nipple had been so severely bitten that it was almost severed from the rest of her breast. She had also been sexually assaulted with a hair spray bottle.
Post mortem reports on Margaret Bowman showed that she suffered similar fatal injuries, although she had not been sexually assaulted and she showed no signs of bite marks. She had been strangled by a pair of panty hose that were later found at the scene of the crime. She had also been beaten on the head, yet so severely that her skull was splintered and a portion of her brain was exposed. Neither she nor Lisa Levy showed signs of a struggle.
Investigators who interviewed the survivors learned nothing. None of the girls had any memory of the events of that fatal night. Like Levy and Bowman, they too had been asleep when they were attacked. The only witness was Nita Neary, who was able to catch a profile of the killer as he fled. However, the assailant would not travel far before claiming another victim that night.
Less than a mile from the Chi Omega House, a young woman was awakened by loud banging noises coming from the apartment next to hers. She wondered what her friend in the adjoining apartment was doing to make so much noise at four in the morning. As the banging noises persisted, she became suspicious and woke her roommate. As they listened, they heard Cheryl next door moaning. Frightened, they called over to her house to see if she was all right. When no one picked up the phone, they immediately called the police.
The police came quickly. After all, they were just blocks away at the Chi Omega House tending to the crime scene there. They entered Cheryl’s apartment and walked to her bedroom, where they found her sitting on the bed. Her face was just beginning to swell from the bludgeoning to her head. She was still somewhat conscious and half nude, but lucky to be alive. Police discovered a mask at the foot of her bed. According to Anne Rule in The Stranger Beside Me the mask that was found “resembled almost exactly the mask taken from Ted Bundy’s car when he’d been arrested in Utah in August of 1975.”
Police investigators worked diligently on the evidence that was left behind. They were able to get a blood type from the assailant, sperm samples and fingerprint smudges. Unfortunately, most of the evidence that was tested proved to be inconclusive. The only firm evidence investigators were able to obtain were the hairs found in the mask, teeth impressions from the bite marks on the victims and an eyewitness account from Nita Neary. Investigators did not have a suspect and Ted Bundy was unknown to them.
On February 9th, 1978, Lake City police received a phone call from the distressed parents of twelve-year-old Kimberly Leach. They were hysterical and said that their daughter had disappeared that day. Police launched a massive search to find the missing girl, who disappeared from her school grounds. The person who last saw her was her friend Priscilla who saw Kimberly get into the car of a stranger the day she disappeared. Unfortunately, she was unable to accurately remember the car or the driver. They found Kimberly’s body eight weeks later in a state park in Suwannee County, Florida. The young girl’s body yielded little information due to advanced decomposition. However, police were to later find the evidence they needed in a van driven by Ted Bundy.
A few days before Kimberly Leach had disappeared, a strange man in a white van approached a fourteen-year-old girl as she waited for her brother to pick her up. The man had claimed he was from the fire department and asked her if she attended the school nearby. She found it strange that an on-duty fireman was wearing plaid pants and a navy jacket. She began to feel uncomfortable. She had been warned on many occasions by her father, who was the Chief of Detectives for the Jacksonville Police Department, not to talk with strangers. She was relieved when her brother drove up. Suspicious of the man, her brother ordered her into the car, followed the man and wrote down his license plate to give it to his father.
Upon hearing of the stranger in the white van, Detective James Parmenter had the license plate checked out. He learned it belonged to a man named Randall Ragen, and he decided to pay him a visit. Ragen informed the detective that his plates had been stolen and he had already been issued new ones. The detective later found out that the van his children had seen was also stolen and he had an idea who it might have been. He decided to take his children to the police station to show them a stack of mug shots, Bundy’s picture being among them. He hadn’t realized how close he had been to losing his own daughter. Both of his children recognized the man in the van as Ted Bundy.
The van long since discarded, Bundy set out towards Pensacola, Florida in a new stolen car. This time he managed to find a vehicle he was more comfortable driving, a VW bug. Officer David Lee was patrolling an area in West Pensacola when he saw an orange VW at 10 p.m. on February 15th. He knew the area well and most of the residents, yet he had never before seen the car. Officer Lee decided to run a check on the license plates and soon found out that they were stolen. Immediately, he turned on his lights and began to follow the VW.
Once again, as had happened in Utah several years earlier, Bundy started to flee. Suddenly, Bundy pulled over and stopped. Officer Lee ordered him out of his car and told Bundy to lay down with his hands in front. To Lee’s surprise, as he had begun to handcuff Bundy, he rolled over and began to fight the officer. Bundy managed to fight his way free and run. Just as soon as he did, Lee fired his weapon at him. Bundy dropped to the ground, pretending to have been shot. As the officer approached him lying on the ground, he was again attacked by Bundy. However, the officer was able to overpower him. He was handcuffed and taken to the police station. Bundy had finally been caught.
Over the months following Bundy’s arrest, investigators were able to compile critical evidence to be used against Bundy in the Leach case. The white van that had been stolen by Bundy was found and they had three eyewitnesses that had seen him driving it the afternoon Kimberly had disappeared. Forensic tests conducted on the van yielded fibers of material that had come from Bundy’s clothes.
Tests also revealed Kimberly Leach’s blood type on the van’s carpet and semen and Ted’s blood type on her underwear. Further evidence was Ted’s shoe impressions in the soil located next to the place Kimberly was found. Police felt confident with the information they had tying Bundy to the Leach case and on July 31, 1978, Ted Bundy was charged with the girl’s murder. Soon after, he would also be charged with the Chi Omega murders. Facing the death penalty, Ted would later plead in his own defense that he was not guilty of the murders.
Theodore Robert Bundy faced two murder trials, both spaced within three years. His first trial date was set for June 25, 1979 , in Miami , Florida . The court case centered on the brutal attacks on the Chi Omega sorority sisters. The second trial was to take place in January 1980 in Orlando , Florida , where Ted was to be tried for the murder of Kimberly Leach. Both trials would result in less-than-favorable outcomes for Ted, however it would be the Chi Omega murder case that would seal his fate forever.
Florida v. Theodore Robert Bundy
The opening of the Chi Omega murder trial sparked immense public interest and a media frenzy. After all, Ted had been suspected of at least thirty-six murders in four states and his name elicited nightmarish images to thousands, perhaps even millions around the world. He was considered by many to be evil reincarnate, a monster, the devil and his murders initiated the biggest and most publicized trials of the decade.
During the Chi Omega murder trial, Ted acted as his own defense attorney. He was confident in his abilities and believed he would be given a fair trial. The jury, made up mostly of African-Americans, looked on as he defended himself against the murder charges. It became clear early on in the trial that Ted was fighting a losing battle.
There were two events in the trial that would sway the jury against Ted. The first was Nita Neary’s testimony of what she had seen the night of the murders. While on the stand, she pointed to Ted as the man she had seen fleeing down the stairs and out the door of the Chi Omega House. The second event that swayed the jury during the trial was the testimony of odontologist Dr. Richard Souviron.
While on the stand, Dr. Souviron described the bite mark injuries found on Lisa Levy’s body. As he spoke, the jury was shown full-scale photographs of the bite marks that had been taken the night of the murder. The doctor pointed out the uniqueness of the indentations left behind on the victim and compared them with full-scale pictures of Ted’s teeth. There was no question that Ted had made the bite marks on Lisa Levy’s body. The photos would be the biggest piece of evidence the prosecution had linking Ted to the crime.
On July 23 rd , Ted waited in his cell as the jurors deliberated over his guilt or innocence. After almost seven hours, they returned to the courtroom with a verdict. Showing no emotion, Ted listened as one of the jurors read out “GUILTY.” On all counts of murder, Ted was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the state of Florida , it is customary to have a separate sentencing trial. Ted’s sentencing took place one week later on July 30 th before the same jury that had found him guilty. During the brief hearing, Ted’s mother testified and tearfully pleaded for her son’s life. Ted was also given a chance to address the court and refute the recommendation from the prosecution for the death penalty.
Ted professed his innocence, claiming that the prejudice of the media was responsible for his alleged misrepresentation. He also suggested that the entire proceedings and verdict was nothing short of a farce, which he was unable to accept. According to Larsen, Ted told the hushed courtroom that it was, “absurd to ask for mercy for something he did not do,” yet he would “not share the burden of the guilt.” Judge Cowart, who presided over both trials, handed down his final judgment following Ted’s statement. He affirmed the recommendation and imposed the death penalty twice for the murders of Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy. The method of execution Ted faced was the electric chair.
The Kimberly Leach Trial
After many delays, the Leach trial began in Orlando , Florida at the Orange County Courthouse on January 7, 1980 . This time Ted decided not to represent himself, instead handing over the responsibility to defense attorneys Julius Africano and Lynn Thompson. Their strategy was to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, a plea that was risky but one of the few available options open to the defense.
The plea of insanity might not have been difficult for the seven women, five-man jury to believe. Unlike the other hearings, Ted became increasingly agitated throughout the trial. At one point he even lost control and stood up yelling at a witness with whom he disagreed. Michaud and Aynesworth stated that Ted was just barely able to control himself, “expending huge amounts of energy just to keep from blowing apart.” It appeared that Ted’s facade of confidence was beginning to fade, probably because he realized that he had already lost the war and this legal battle wouldn’t make much difference in determining his fate.
There was no doubt that the outlook for Ted was bleak. Assistant state attorney Bob Dekle presented sixty-five witnesses that had connected Ted either directly or indirectly with Kimberly Leach on the day of her disappearance. One of the star witnesses had seen a man resembling Ted leading an upset little girl, matching Kimberly’s description, into a white van in front of the girl’s school. However, the defense team argued the legitimacy of the testimony because the man was unable to recall the precise day he had seen the man and little girl.
Nevertheless, Dekle continued to press on and present even more convincing evidence. The most damaging was the fiber evidence, which linked Ted’s clothes and the van he had driven that day with the crime scene. Moreover, fibers matching those from Kimberly Leach’s clothes were found in the van and on Ted’s clothing that he had allegedly worn on the day of the crime. The prosecution’s expert witness, who testified about the fiber analysis, stated that she believed that at some point Ted and Kimberly Leach had been in contact around the time of her death. Michaud and Aynesworth claimed that the testimony had been, “literally fatal” to Ted’s case.
Exactly one month following the opening of the trial, Judge Wallace Jopling asked the jury to deliberate. On February 7 th , after less than seven hours of deliberation the jury returned the verdict, “GUILTY.” The verdict was immediately followed by jubilation from the prosecution team and their supporters.
February 9 th marked the second anniversary of Kimberly Leach’s death. It also was the day that the sentencing trial commenced. During the penalty phase of the trial, Ted shocked those in the courtroom while he interviewed defense witness Carole Ann Boone. During his questioning of Carole, the two caught everyone off guard when they exchanged vows. According to Florida law, the verbal promise made under oath was enough to seal the agreement and the two were considered officially married. Shortly thereafter, the groom was sentenced to death in the electric chair for the third time in under a year. He would spend his honeymoon alone on Death Row in Florida State ‘s Raiford Penitentiary.
Appeals and Confessions
Ted refused to give up and believed that he still had a fighting chance to save his own life. In 1982, he enlisted the help of a new lawyer and appealed the Chi Omega murder trial verdict to the Florida Supreme Court. However, his appeal was eventually denied.
Shortly following the court’s denial of a new hearing, Ted decided to appeal the Kimberly Leach trial verdict. In May 1985, his request was again turned down. However, he continued to keep up the fight and in 1986 he enlisted a new lawyer to assist him in escaping the death penalty.
Ted’s execution date was initially scheduled for March 4, 1986 . However, his execution was postponed while his new defense attorney, Polly Nelson, worked on his appeals for his previous murder convictions. Two months later the appeal was denied and another death warrant was issued to Ted by the State of Florida . Still, the appeal process continued. According to Polly Nelson’s book Defending the Devil, the last appeal was made to the U.S. Supreme Court, who eventually denied Ted’s last stay of execution on January 17, 1989 .
In Ted’s eleventh hour, he decided to confess to more crimes to the Washington State Attorney General’s chief investigator for the criminal division, Dr. Bob Keppel. Ted had temporarily assisted Dr. Keppel in his hunt for the ” Green River killer” from Death Row in the mid 1980’s and he trusted him immensely. Keppel went to meet Ted in an interviewing room at the prison, armed with only a tape recorder. What Keppel learned was shocking.
Dr. Keppel had learned that Ted kept some of his victims’ heads at his home as trophies. However, what was even more surprising was that Ted also engaged in necrophilia with some of the remains of his victims. In fact, Keppel later stated in his book The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer that Ted’s behavior could be best described as “compulsive necrophilia and extreme perversion.”
It was a compulsion that led to the deaths of scores of women, many who remained unknown to investigators. Rule and Keppel stated in their books that Ted was likely responsible for the deaths of at least a hundred women, discounting the official count of thirty-six victims. Whatever the figure, the fact is no one will ever know for certain how many victims actually fell victim to Ted.
Finally on January 24, 1989 , at approximately 7 a.m. in the morning Ted’s memory of his atrocities would be burned away forever by the electric chair’s unforgiving currents. Outside the prison walls stood hundreds of on-lookers and scores of news media representatives awaiting the news of Ted’s death. Following the prison spokesman’s announcement that Ted was officially dead, sounds of cheers came from the jubilant crowd and fireworks lit the sky. Shortly thereafter, a white hearse emerged from the prison gates with the remains of one of the countries most notorious serial killers. As the vehicle moved towards the crematorium, the surrounding crowd cheerfully applauded the end of a living nightmare.
The Murder of Kathy Devine
On December 6, 1973, a young couple stumbled across the remains of a 15-year-old girl in McKenny Park, Washington. Kathy Devine was last seen by friends on November 25th hitchhiking from Seattle to Oregon, trying to run away from home. Shortly after she began her journey, pathologists said she met her death. Kathy Devine had been strangled, sodomized and her throat cut.
Everybody believed that Kathy Devine was one of the many victims of Ted Bundy. It took 28 years and DNA evidence to find the truth.
Jim Carlile of The Olympian reported that Sheriff’s Captain Dan Kimball never closed the files on this old case even though Ted Bundy had been executed and would not tell whatever he knew about the young woman that lost her life in Thurston County in 1973.
Kathy’s clothing was shown on a television news program in Seattle and one of Kathy’s sisters recognized an embroidered patch on the pair of jeans shown as belonging to a murder victim.
At the time of the murder, William E. Cosden Jr. had been living in the area and had been seen at the truck stop where he worked with blood on his clothes. Cosden had been released in 1973 from a mental hospital where he was confined after the 1967 murder of a woman.
Carlile quoted police reports in his article:
“Witnesses saw Cosden come in the night of the murder with stains on his clothing. The witnesses called police.
After leaving the truck stop, Cosden’s truck caught fire and was destroyed three miles from the truck stop.
During initial interviews with police, Cosden denied ever seeing Kathy Devine.”
In 1986, based on additional investigative information, a search warrant was obtained for Cosden’s blood, hair and saliva. At that time, Cosden was in prison for rape.
In 2001, these samples from Cosden were subjected to DNA testing. It was evidence which linked Cosden to Kathy Devine. Cosden, 55, did admit to having sex with Kathy, but denied killing her.
“DNA made the case,” said Sheriff Gary Edward. “This came about as a result of technology and a lot of hard work.”
Cosden is already serving a 48-year sentence for first-degree rape. He is not likely to go free again.
“She was beautiful inside and out, but she was a normal troubled teenager,” Sally Ann Devine said of her daughter. “I don’t think she had more troubles than anyone else her age during that time. It is nice to know that this has finally been solved. We’ve been wondering for 28 years. I still feel like it’s a dream and I’m going to wake up and it’ll all be over.”
Ted Bundy: The Poster Boy of Serial Killers
By David Lohr
Mention the term “serial killer” and Ted Bundy’s name is frequently the first to pop into mind. Before he was executed in 1989, he admitted to murdering 40 young women in almost a dozen states during his four-year reign of terror in the mid-’70s. In the process he became one of the most feared and prolific serial killers in U.S. history. But what sets Bundy apart is how different he was from the stereotype of the homicidal madman: He was so mainstream that the Washington State Republican Party hired him, so cunning that he twice escaped from jail, so dashing a figure that women sent marriage proposals to him on death row.
What caused Ted Bundy to snap and murder countless young women and girls as young as 12 years old for no apparent reason? The devil is in the details. Many of his early victims bore a physical resemblance to Bundy’s first girlfriend, who was tall and slender and wore her long brown hair with a part in the middle.
Bundy was born Theodore Robert Cowell on November 24, 1946, in Burlington, Vermont. Bundy’s mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell, was unmarried and just 22-years-old at the time of his birth. Bundy’s father, Lloyd Marshall, apparently wanted nothing to do with him, so he and his mother moved to Philadelphia to live with her parents. In an unusual twist, Eleanor’s parents, out of fear that their daughter would be criticized for having a bastard child, raised Bundy as their own son, leaving him to believe that his mother was his older sister.
In 1950, Eleanor and Bundy moved to Tacoma, Wash., to live with relatives. Once there, Eleanor legally changed their names. Ted Cowell became Theodore Robert Nelson, and Eleanor became Louise Cowell. A year after their move, Eleanor married a military cook by the name of Johnnie Culpepper Bundy. From then on Ted Cowell became known as Ted Bundy.
As time went by Louise and Johnnie had four other children of their own, whom Bundy spent much of his time looking after. Ted never seemed to form a bond with his stepfather. He had his own ideas of how things should have been and considered himself a Cowell rather than a Bundy. In the book The Only Living Witness, by Stephen G. Michaud, Bundy’s adolescent years are described as unhappy ones. As a child, Bundy was shy and often teased by bullies.
Bundy graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1965, and by way of a scholarship began attending the University of Puget Sound. He took courses in psychology and Asian studies, but after attending just two semesters, he transferred to the University of Washington in Seattle.
In 1967, Bundy met a beautiful young woman named Stephanie Brooks. The two hit it off quickly and Bundy was soon head over heals in love. It was the first time in his life that he ever felt close to a woman and also, according to the book The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, the first time he engaged in any form of sexual activity. During the fall of 1968, Bundy once again transferred, enrolling in Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Shortly thereafter, Stephanie graduated from the University of Washington and abruptly ended their relationship. She later explained that she felt like Bundy had no real direction or future goals and that she had not been not ready to commit. Bundy was devastated at loosing his first love and was unable to concentrate on anything. Eventually his grades suffered so badly that he decided to drop out of college.
As Bundy tried to get his life back on track, he began traveling around the country. He eventually decided to visit his birth town in Vermont, where he was dealt yet another damaging blow while looking up the record of his birth: He discovered that his sister was actually his mother, and the woman who had raised him as her son was actually his grandmother.
During the fall of 1969, Bundy re-entered the University of Washington and excelled in all of his classes. He was a man on a mission, hoping to win Stephanie back. Nonetheless, she still had no interest in rekindling their previous romance. Undaunted, Bundy worked harder and became increasingly involved in local politics, working on and off for various campaigns. In his spare time he worked the phones at the Seattle Crisis Clinic, where he soon met and befriended Ann Rule, the woman who years later would write of Bundy’s life and crimes in her best-selling book, The Stranger Beside Me. It was also during this time that Bundy met Meg Anders, a divorcee who worked as a secretary. The two began dating and Meg was soon deeply in love. Bundy treated her well and took on the role of a father figure for her young daughter. Regardless, Bundy was not yet ready to settle down and unbeknownst to her continued to keep in contact with Stephanie through letters and phone calls.
Bundy spent the next two years working on political campaigns and applying to various law schools. At one point during this time he was commended by the Seattle Police as a “hero” for saving the life of a 3-year-old boy whom he rescued from drowning. With his life on track and his future looking up, Bundy graduated from the University of Washington in the summer of 1973, and was quickly accepted into the University of Utah Law School. However, whether it was because of his ongoing relationship with Meg, or his job with the Washington State Republican Party, he chose not to attend until the following school year.
During one of Bundy’s business trips for the Republican Party, he decided to meet up with Stephanie, to reminisce about old times. The new Bundy profoundly impressed Stephanie and sparks began to fly once again. The two began spending as much time together as possible and even talked of marriage. Meg had no idea Bundy was secretly meeting Stephanie, all the while he continued to profess his love to her. Stephanie felt that Bundy was now the man of her dreams and began looking forward to their future together. While neither woman knew about the other, they were also unaware of the transformation Bundy was undergoing. For unknown reasons, he began focusing his energy into a murderous downward spiral, which began just three days after New Years. Each victim was methodically chosen and each evoked Stephanie’s slender build and hairstyle.
On January 4, 1974, 18-year-old Joni Lentz became Bundy’s first victim. Joni shared a large house in Seattle with several roommates. No one suspected anything was wrong when she failed to come down for breakfast. As the day drew on, her friends grew concerned and decided to check on her. Joni appeared to be asleep when her roommates walked in, but upon closer inspection they were horrified when they noticed that she was lying in a pool of blood. When they pulled back the covers, the seriousness of the situation was amplified to that of pure terror – a bed rod had been broken off and rammed deep into her vagina. Joni appeared to still be breathing, so her roommates quickly called paramedics and local police. Joni was in a comatose state when the EMT’s arrived, but she had amazingly survived the attack.
Bundy’s next known victim was Lynda Ann Healy, a 21-year-old weather forecaster and law student at Seattle’s University of Washington Law School. On Jan. 31, 1974, one of Lynda’s roommates received a call from Lynda’s boss saying Lynda had not shown up for work. The roommate went into Lynda’s basement bedroom and saw that her bed was made and her bicycle was sitting in the corner. As day turned to night and no one heard from her, her worried parents called the police and asked them to look into their daughter’s disappearance. As part of their investigation the police performed a routine search of Lynda’s room. When one of the officers decided to pull back her bedcovers, he was shocked to discover that the pillowcase and sheets were soaked in blood. Another officer soon found Lynda’s nightgown, the neckline of which was crusted with dried blood. The investigators were unable to find any evidence pointing to a suspect. As local law enforcement kept busy searching for Lynda, Bundy kept busy going about his everyday life with little concern that he would be discovered.
In February 1974, without warning, and for no apparent reason, Bundy dumped Stephanie Brooks, just as she had him years earlier. Stephanie never saw or heard from Bundy again.
Over the course of the next few months, seven more women mysteriously vanished within the states of Utah, Oregon, and Washington. Each case was remarkably similar: each of the victim’s was a slender Caucasian female, wore her hair parted in the middle, and had disappeared in the evening hours. As the investigation of the disappearances intensified, investigators learned from several witnesses that a handsome man, driving a VW bug, and wearing a cast on either his arm or leg, had been seen during many of the incidents. Several women who had been approached by him recalled him mentioning his name was Ted.
No one knew what happened to the girls until two bodies were found in Washington in August of 1974, just four miles from Lake Sammamish. It appeared to investigators that the victims, Denise Naslund and Janice Ott, had been murdered during a crazed sexual frenzy. There was little evidence at the scene, but the similarities between the Washington and Oregon murders quickly caught the attention of investigators in Utah. The three states began working together and soon agreed that one man was committing the crimes.
Investigators got their first break on Nov. 8, 1974, when a man driving a VW bug attempted to kidnap 18-year-old Carol DaRonch from a mall in Salt Lake City. The young woman managed to escape and was able to give investigators a description of the man and his vehicle. As investigators in Salt Lake City looked for their suspect, authorities in Bountiful, Utah, were notified that a 17-year-old girl, Debby Kent, had disappeared from Viewmont High School. A witness later reported seeing a tan Volkswagen bug speed away from the high school parking lot.
The killings stopped for four months before resuming in Colorado where at least four women mysteriously vanished. Almost a month later, one of those missing women was found just miles from where she had disappeared. Following an autopsy, it was discovered that she had been sexually assaulted and murdered with a blunt instrument. Back In Washington, the Taylor Mountains were becoming well known as the burial site for the killer, as the mountain slowly revealed the remains of several women, one of which was later identified as 21-year-old Lynda Ann Healy.
On Aug. 16, 1975, investigators finally got the break they were hoping for when a highway patrolman in Granger, Utah, noticed an unfamiliar man in a VW bug. When the officer turned on his spotlight to look at the plate, the driver sped away. A chase ensued, but after just a few blocks the VW pulled off to the side of the road. When the officer asked the driver for identification, he was given a driver’s license with the name Theodore Robert Bundy. Suspecting the man was up to no good, the officer searched the vehicle, discovering a pair of handcuffs, a length of rope, a crowbar, a ski mask, an ice pick, and a nylon stocking. Bundy was placed under arrest for suspicion of burglary.
It did not take long for investigators to notice the physical similarities between Bundy and the suspect wanted in the attempted kidnapping of Carol DaRonch. However, they knew that they would need more evidence to support their suspicions. Shortly after Bundy’s arrest, Carol DaRonch and several other witnesses were able to pick Bundy out of a police line up. Although he denied having any knowledge of the attempted kidnapping or murders, police were convinced they had their man and launched an extensive investigation into his background.
Over the course of the next several weeks, several witnesses from Lake Sammamish Park came forward and identified Bundy as the man named Ted that they had seen walking around the area in an arm or leg cast. During a subsequent search of Bundy’s apartment, investigators discovered plaster of Paris, a substance used in the making of casts. It was also learned that Bundy was very familiar with the Taylor Mountains, where several bodies of victims had been found and that he had used his credit card to purchase gas in the towns where some of the victims had initially disappeared. The evidence against Bundy was mounting up, but he continued to claim his innocence.
As Bundy went to trial on February 23, 1976, for the attempted kidnapping of Carol DaRonch, investigators scrambled to link him to the murders. According to the book The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule, the 29-year-old Bundy, always the polite and handsome charmer, made a great impression on the Utah courtroom. He was confident, unnerved, and apparently highly offended by the charges against him. While he denied ever meeting DaRonch, he was unable to provide a solid alibi of his whereabouts the day of the attack. Even though Bundy was confident he would beat the charges, the judge found him guilty of aggravated kidnapping, sentencing him to one to 15 years in prison.
On Oct. 22, 1976, Colorado police charged Bundy with the murder of 23-year-old Caryn Campbell. Her raped and battered body had been found on Feb. 17, 1975, and investigators felt they had sufficient evidence to link him to the crime. During April of 1977, Bundy was extradited to Colorado and placed in the Garfield County Jail in Colorado, to await trial for Campbell’s murder, which was scheduled for Nov. 14, 1977. Faced with prison time already, Bundy had no desire to sit through another trial and began planning his escape. Having been given special privileges to use the Pitkin County Courthouse library in Aspen, Bundy waited until no one was looking and jumped out a second story window on June 7, 1977. He was recaptured eight days later while trying to leave town in a stolen car.
Almost seven months later, on December 30, 1977, Bundy would escape again. In the intervening months he had eaten very little food and had shed 30 pounds, enough to allow him to shimmy through a small light fixture hole in the ceiling of his cell at the Garfield County Jail. Once inside the ceiling, Bundy made his way through a crawl space and into the closet of his jailer’s apartment. He waited until all was quiet and then casually walked out the front door. It took jailers nearly 15 hours to realize he was gone. After making his way to Chicago, Bundy boarded a plane for Florida. Investigators were stumped and had no idea where he had gone.
By January of 1978, Bundy had acquired an apartment near Florida State University. He supported himself by committing petty thefts. He went by the alias Chris Hagen, and grew a beard in order to change his appearance. According to the book The Only Living Witness by Stephen G. Michaud, Bundy was not content with his newfound freedom and was unable to control his murderous impulses. On the night of Saturday Jan. 14, 1978, he entered the Chi Omega House and attacked four sleeping coeds one at a time by sneaking into each victim’s room and knocking the victim unconscious. Two of the young women suffered such severe injuries that they died as a result, while the other two survived the brutal attack. The pathologist who performed the autopsies discovered that one of the coeds had been beaten with a club, raped, and strangled. He also discovered bite marks on her buttocks and nipples. In addition, she had been sexually assaulted with a metal hair spray can. The autopsy on the other victim showed that she had also been beaten with a club and strangled.
Bundy waited less than a month before striking again. On Feb. 9, 12-year-old Kimberly Leach was reported missing by her parents. Even though police were quick to launch an extensive search, they were unable to locate her.
Just six days after Kimberly’s disappearance, a Pensacola police officer, patrolling a residential area, noticed a man who seemed to be casing the neighborhood in an orange VW bug. The officer ran a routine check on the plates and discovered that the plates had been stolen. The officer quickly turned on his lights and moved in. The suspect sped away but after a brief chase, pulled off to the side of the road. The officer ordered the driver out of the car and instructed him to lie down on the ground. As the officer attempted to apply handcuffs, a brief scuffle ensued and the suspect attempted to run off. The officer fired one shot at the suspect and the suspect fell to the ground. As the officer approached, the suspect jumped up and attacked him. Another brief scuffle took place, but this time the officer was able to subdue the man and handcuff him.
Once the Pensacola police were able to identify the suspect as Theodore Robert Bundy, Florida investigators immediately ordered impressions of his teeth, to compare with bite marks on one of the Chi Omega victims. The match was indisputable and would seal Bundy’s fate once and for all.
On July 23, 1980, Bundy was convicted on two counts of murder and sentenced to die in Florida’s electric chair. Subsequently, a third conviction and death sentence was also obtained in the case of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, whose body had been discovered just weeks after his arrest.
Following Bundy’s arrest, authorities in Seattle were convinced that Bundy’s first victim was 15-year-old Kathy Devine, who had disappeared on November 25, 1973, and whose mutilated corpse was found less than a month later. While Bundy freely confessed to every murder prior to his death, he always maintained his innocence in that particular case. Regardless, authorities labeled the girl a “Bundy victim” and gave it little more thought. However, on March 8, 2002, a man named William E. Cosden, Jr., 55, was arrested for the murder after DNA evidence, which had been preserved from Devine’s body, linked him to her murder. Cosden has subsequently been tried and found guilty of the crime.
After nearly 10 years of appeals, Bundy was executed on Jan. 24, 1989. During his final interview, he confessed to a total of 40 murders. One of Bundy’s most famous quotes regarding his crimes can be found in Dr. James Dobson’s book, Life on the Edge: “We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow.”
Following Bundy’s execution, in an unusual twist, his remains were cremated at the request of his family and spread over the mountains in Washington State, where the bodies of several of his victims had been discovered.
The Only Living Witness, by Stephen G. Michaud.
The Stranger Beside Me, by Ann Rule.
Life on the Edge, by Dr. James Dobson.