Who was Ted Bundy?

Well, it is time we write one about Ted Bundy serial killer. His name will forever hunt many specialists, still trying to understand what drove this him to do what he did.

Ted Bundy, was actually born as Theodore Robert Cowell on November 24, 1946 and his mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell, never truly revealed the name of the father. Bundy was raised in his grandparents house, knowing that his grandparents are his parents and his mother is his sister. This happened because at that time, it was a shame to give birth out of wedlock. With all the interviews that took place, there are contradictory statements about the life in his grandparents’ house. Ted Bundy himself said it was a loving home and he respected his grandfather; however later by some accounts it seems that his grandfather was actually a bully and violent man.

There are also different statements about when did Bundy find out about the truth regarding his birth. He found out somewhere between his teenage years and college. He initially said he found out from one of his cousins, then later saying he found the birth certificate by himself.

Moving from Philadelphia to Tacoma, Washington

Abruptly, his birth mother changed her name from Cowell to Nelson and moved away from Philadelphia to live with some cousins in Tacoma, Washington, in 1950, taking Ted with her, who at that time still believed his mother was his sister.

Just one year after they moved, in 1951, Louise meets Johnny Culpepper Bundy and in May of that same year, they get married and Johnny adopts Ted, legally changing his name to Ted Bundy. The two, Louise and Johnny had 4 more children and Ted grew somehow attached to his siblings, babysitting them and taking camping trips with his stepfather; however, though Bundy seemed attached to his siblings, he grew emotionally detached from his now father.

ted bundy family photo

Bundy family photo

His Teenage Years

Following his teenage years, Bundy was a good student, even active in the local Methodist church and involved in the local troop of the Boy Scouts.  But all these activities and apparently loving home, Bundy never emotionally connected to anyone, becoming more of a loner and barely having friends.

He once stated that: “He stated once that, “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.”

Even as a loner and socially awkward teenager, Bundy was good at athletic activities, one of them being skiing. He pursued this activity and used stolen equipment, being arrested twice on suspicion of burglary. However, when he reached the age of 18, his records were expunged. According to his own statements, it is during his teenage years that he became interested in pictures of naked women and even violent imagery.

Ted Bundy

His University Years

In 1965, Bundy graduated from Woodrow Wilson High and being awarded a scholarship by the University of Puget Sound, he began that fall taking courses in psychology. After two semesters at UPS, he decided to transfer to Seattle’s University of Washington. There, he started having multiple small jobs like grocery bagger, shelf stocker.

As a young student at University of Washington, he met a girl and began a relationship with her in 1967, and though her true name is not revealed, she is described using a pseudonym: “Stephanie Brooks”. But in 1968, Stephanie ended their relationship, saying she got fed up with Bundy’s immaturity and lack of ambition. This might have been a turning point in his life, as he began feeling unsure of himself and not worthy of his girlfriends love.

Saying he needs time to recover after the breakup, being a painful experience for him, he told his family he needs time away so he took a journey to Colorado and then farther east, visiting relatives in Arkansas and Philadelphia. There, he enrolled for one semester at Temple University. Author Ann Rule said in her book that that’s when he discovered the truth about his birth.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy and Stephanie Brooks

A new girlfriend

He returned to Washington in 1969 and became a more focused and motivated man. He also met another woman, identified by many pseudonyms: Elizabeth Kloepfer, Liz Kendall, Beth Archer, Meg Anders. Their relationship was a stormy one, with Liz being overly in love with Ted, and Ted having multiple other relationships or one night stands.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy and Liz

Bundy re-enrolled at Washington University, this time as a psychology major and became an honor student well regarded by his professors and colleagues. While studying psychology, he even volunteered at Seattle’s Suicide Hotline, doing night shifts. It is there that he met Ann Rule, who would later write a book about his crimes: The Stranger Beside Me (we recommend this book)

A new confident man emerged

We now see a highly motivated and far more confident Ted Bundy. It is not sure  how he transformed himself from the low esteem individual to the confident handsome man he now was. It is somehow believed that the rejection he experienced through his breakup, pushed him to become a successful man and prove his ex wrong. So after graduating in 1972, he started to walk a political path by joining Governor Daniel J. Evans’ re-election campaign and was in charge of “spying” Evans’ opponent. He did this by posing as a college student and even disguise himself, which later became his main way of approaching his victims.

Law School

Bundy was then hired as an assistant to Ross Davis, Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, who later gave high recommendations to Bundy, which helped him getting accepted into the law school of UPS and the University of Utah. The multiple recommendations he received from his former professors, Evans and Ross, surpassed his low test scores.

It seemed that Ted Bundy was on his way to a successful career and good life. I mean, he was a charming, interesting, motivated and intelligent man. Little did anyone know that inside of him something ugly and evil was developing. The charming man on the outside was an ugly monster on the inside.

Reconnecting with his first love

During a trip to California, Bundy reconnected in the summer of 1973 with his ex girlfriend, Stephanie. Yeah, the one that rejected him because lack of ambition. But this time she got swept away by this newly transformed man, so naturally they reignited their relationship. None of the two women, Stephanie nor Liz, knew about each other; so Bundy continued his relationship with both of them. Stephanie fell for the new Ted and they even discussed marriage, but in 1974, he suddenly cut off all communications with her. It seemed that Bundy got what he long craved for: revenge. In his mind, he proved Stephanie that he has ambitions and is worthy of her love and could have married her if he wanted to. It was as if Ted planned ahead this entire romantic relationship only to prove his point.

How did the killings start?

There is no certain information about when exactly Bundy started killing, because he told different people different stories. He said he started killing in 1971, but then he told psychologist Art Norman that he killed two women in Atlantic City in 1969 while visiting family in Philadelphia. He was kinda like that, unreliable, so sadly there is no possible way to know what really happened.

His earliest documented homicides were committed in 1974 when he was 27 years old. By his own admission, he had mastered the necessary skills to leave minimal incriminating forensic evidence at the crime scene, this of course before DNA testings.

On January 4, 1974, shortly after midnight Bundy entered the basement bedroom of 18-year-old Karen Sparks, a student at UW. He bludgeoned her with a metal rod from her bed frame while she slept and sexually assaulted her with foreign objects. The victim was found the next morning by her roommates lying in a pool of her own blood. She survived the attack but suffered permanent brain damage. No one knows if leaving the victim alive was a mistake or he intended that, what is certain is that from then on, he plunged into a killing spree that horrified the country and “fascinated” every specialist trying to interview him and understand why he did it.

The killing spree

His next victim was on the early hours of February 1, 1974. He broke into the dorm, which was apparently open, went to Ann Healy’s room, knocked her unconscious and carried her away taking some clothing items. She was never to be seen alive. On March 12, 1974 he kidnapped and murdered 19 year old Donna Gail Manson, a student at The Evergreen State College. She was an unpredictable student who like to party, so her disappearance was reported 7 days later.

Then on April 17, 1974, Bundy went on the campus of Central Washington State College in Ellensburg, disguised himself as a student with his arm in a cast and pretended to drop his books. Susan Rancourt is the victim who fell into his trap. She was never to be seen alive again. That night, two more co-eds stated that they saw a man with his arm in a cast, asking for help to carry his books to his Volkswagen Beetle. They were potential victims who had lucky escapes.

By now, local law enforcement started to realize that a pattern of disappearance had emerged, but had little to go on. The murders had a toll also on Bundy’s personal life who started to act differently and his behavior was noticed by his girlfriend, Liz, who became suspicious of his behavior. The disappearances started catching the headlines so Bundy considered it is time to shift his killings to another area: Oregon. 

The killings continue

Kathy Parks became his next known victim on May 6, 1974. She was last seen alive on the campus of Oregon State University in Corvallis. Then followed as a victim Brenda Ball, who was last seen after leaving the Flame Tavern in Burien, on June 1, 1974. She was a college dropout and often frequenting bars, having a drifting lifestyle, so her disappearance was not reported until June 17, 1974.

The victim list continued with Georgeann Hawkins, a popular student at UW. In the early hours of June 11, 1974, she decided to walk home on an alley, after visiting her boyfriend. She saw a man struggling to walk, having a leg cast and she did her final act of good gesture and helped the man carry his briefcase to his car. The man was seen by more than one witness. She was kidnapped, tortured and subjected to sadistic sexual abuse before and after death. His abductions became now noticed both in Washington and Oregon, but he was ‘excited’.

Bundy was out of control

There were now 6 victims and headlines started pouring. However, this didn’t stop Bundy, quite the opposite. He became arrogant and started targeting victims during daylight.

His arrogance culminated on July 14, 1974 when during daylight he abducted Janice Ott and Denise Naslund from Lake Sammamish State Park. This was a place filled with people, where families and tourists were enjoying a warm sunny day. He struck a conversation with Janice Ott and convinced her to help him unload his boat from his Volkswagen Beetle. Janice agreed and that was the last time she was seen alive. But Bundy’s thirst for killing was not satisfied, so the same day at around 4 PM, he returned to the lake and kidnapped Denise Naslung who was with her friends, but she had been caught alone one moment and Bundy made his move by asking her for help to unload his boat. She was never seen alive again.

Witnesses said a young handsome man, with a cast on his arm, was asking for help from multiple young women. They described the young man as having a Volkswagen Beetle and went by the name “Ted”, one of the girls even going with “Ted” to his car, but retreated, probably sensing some danger.

A suspect was described

Police was under pressure while victim numbers were climbing. Now they had a description of the suspect, a car and a name. So fliers went up everywhere, media was constantly talking about it and hundreds of tips came in. Among those tips, there was his girlfriend , who called reporting Bundy as a possible suspect. But law enforcement didn’t have anything to connect him to the murders and he was also a clean law student with no prior problems, so the tip didn’t get priority.

On September 7, 1974 the remains of Ott and Naslund were discovered off Interstate 90, one mile away from the park they disappeared from. An extra femur bone was discovered. It was that of Georgeann Hawkins. The following year, between March 1 and March 3, remains of Healy, Rancourt, Parks and Ball were found on Taylor Mountain, east of Issaquah. The discoveries were horrific, with body parts dismembered, finding only skulls, upper teeth missing and hair detached from the head. The question now was, where were the rest of their remains and why did the killer dump them separately.

Ted Bundy Beetle

Ted Bundy’s Car

Utah and Colorado

With the media frenzy around the disappearances, Bundy decided it is time to move, so he started attending University of Utah law school in Salt Lake City. Bundy moved to Salt Lake City alone, leaving Liz in Seattle. Changing location, he started killing again on October 2, 1974, abducting 16 year old Nancy Wilcox who was last seen riding a Volkswagen Beetle. Her remains were never found.

Bundy continued his murders and on October 18, 1974 he took the life of 17 year old Melissa Smith, the daughter of a local police chief, Louis Smith. The victim was raped, tortured and sodomized. The remains were discovered nine days later. The murders continued with the disappearance of 17 year old Laura Aime, on October 31, 1974. after leaving a Halloween party in Lehi, Utah. Some weeks later, her naked body was discovered on the banks of a river in American Fork Canyon. It is believed that Bundy took his time with the last two victims, dressing them up and washing them until he dumped their bodies.

The failed kidnapping

Carol DaRonch, was at the Fashion Place Mall on November 8, 1974 when Bundy, impersonating a police officer told her to get into his car to accompany him to the police because someone tried to brake into her car. She did just that, but after some time driving, Bundy tried to handcuff her. DaRonch struggled and fight it off also defending herself from a blow with a crowbar. Somehow she managed to open the car door and ran away. DaRonch became one of the few victims who lived to tell the story.

Carol DaRonch

Carol DaRonch

Bundy, extremely frustrated with his victim getting away, was in search for another one so he stopped at Viewmont High School, the same evening, where he remembered from a flier that a drama play was happening. He approached a teacher and a student asking them to go outside to check on a car, but both refused. Bundy’s frustration was growing, and he struck again, kidnapping 17 year old Debby Kent. She was never seen again. In the parking lot, police found a key that was matching the handcuffs on the arm of Carol DaRonch.

Liz contacts the police

Between all these murders, Bundy kept in touch with his girlfriend, reassuring her that everything was ok; somehow and for some reason keeping that relationship “alive”, driving her attention away from his behavior, as she called King County police for the second time, raising her concerns about her boyfriend. She was already suspecting him as being the serial killer the media was talking about. In December, she again contacted police about her suspicions, but there was not much connecting him to the disappearances. By now both Utah and Washington state feared the unknown serial killer that left a trail of vicious murders behind him. Little did they know, both states were looking for the same killer. Bundy then returned to Seattle to spend a week with Liz, his girlfriend, after which he returned to Salt lake City and decided to move his killings to Colorado, as Utah became risky.

On January 12, 1975 Caryn Campbell was vacationing with her fiance and his children at Wildwood Inn at Snowmass. She disappeared and her body was discovered one month later on February 17, 1975, naked and frozen and having extensive injuries on her head and neck consistent with being struck with a blunt instrument.


The killing spree continued with Bundy traveling from Utah and heading to Colorado. There he spotted Julie Cunningham on March 15, 1975, while walking from her apartment to a dinner date with a friend. He approached her pretending to be in crutches and in need of help carrying his ski equipment to his car. Bundy later admitted that he returned to the body days later and committed necrophilia. Next victim was Denise Oliverson on April 6, 1975. She was riding her bicycle heading home. He dumped her body in the river and was never recovered.

By now, four states were combining information and a clear pattern of the murders started to emerge. It was becoming more and more clear that a single person committed all the murders.

A child murderer

12 year old Lynette Culver became his next victim on May 6, 1975. She went missing in Pocatello, Idaho from her junior high school. For unknown reason, she got into the car with Bundy, who took her back to his hotel, drowned her and then sexually assaulted her. He then dumped her body in a nearby river. He now wasn’t just a killer, he was also a pedophile and child murderer.

Somewhere around mid May 1975, Bundy had some visitors in salt Lake City from 3 former coworkers, including his former coworker Carole Ann Boone with whom he had an ongoing relationship. Then in June, Bundy spent a week in Seattle with Liz and they talked about marriage. She was unaware of his relationship with Carole.

This was a man who somehow between the killings managed to have not one, but two relationships with two different women; one of which was already suspicious of his behavior. It is important to realize just how disconnected Bundy was from the reality of his murders. Still pretending to be a normal and charismatic person.

Bundy targets a child again

By the end of June, Bundy craved to kill again; similarly to his previous murder, he picked another young girl and on June 28, 1975, 15 year old Susan Curtis vanished forever. He confessed killing Curtis, just minutes before his execution and sadly the remains of Cunningham, Culver, Oliverson and Curtis were never to be found.

Police in Washington was under pressure investigating the mysterious murders and were going through the suspect list, comparing different suspects and see which one turned up on more than one list. It is then when thy noticed the name of Theodore Robert Bundy, along with 25 other names. He was becoming a prime suspect. Then, a call came from Utah: Bundy was under arrest.

First arrest and trial

On August 16, 1975 in Salt lake City, a Utah Highway Patrol officer tried to pull over Bundy’s car for cruising a residential area in the pre-dawn hours. He refused to stop. He was chased and caught and the officer searched his car, noticing some peculiar items. First of all, the front seat was removed; then the officer found a ski mask, a crowbar, some handcuffs, trash bags, an ice pick, rope and another mask fashioned out of a pantyhose and some other items.

ted bundy

items found in ted bundy’s car

Bundy explained that he loves skiing and that is why he has the mask and the handcuffs was just something he found in a dumpster; and the rest of the items were just common household items.

His apartment is searched

However, his car didn’t go unnoticed, as Detective Jerry Thompson remembered that in November 1974 DaRonch kidnapping, the same car model was reported as being used. This, with the fact that his name was already reported by no one other than his actual fiance, back in 1974, put Ted right on the suspect list for the kidnapping. A search was made in Bundy’s apartment. What was found was a brochure with the Viewmont High School Play, where Debby Kent went missing and a guide to Colorado ski resorts with a mark on the Wildwood Inn, where Caryn Campbell disappeared and later found dead.

Bundy gets 24 hours surveillance

Sadly, this was not enough to detain Bundy, so he was released. He later said that iduring the search, the police missed some Polaroid pictures of the victims, which he later destroyed. We can’t tell if that is true, as Bundy said many things after his arrest. He was placed under 24 hour surveillance. Finally, Bundy started to feel like the hunted instead of the hunter. But he didn’t seem too concerned, in his psychopathic mind believing probably that he is untouchable and the same way he used his charm and charisma to lie through his life, he can “charm” the police posing as an innocent man.

Detective Thompson went to Seattle and interviewed Liz again. This time she mentioned all the peculiar things she had noticed about her fiance. She mentioned she once found surgical gloves as well as women clothing and crutches. She was also asked about the times Bundy was with her; discovering that Bundy was not there during the nights of the Pacific Northwest victims, nor on the day when Ott and Naslund were kidnapped. Liz was interviews by Seattle police as well and during one of those interviews she discovered that the love of her life actually proposed to another woman while in a relationship with her. The woman was Stephanie Brooks.

The arrest

Pieces of information started to make sense and Bundy seemed close to being caught. On October 2, 1975, Bundy was put in a line up and DaRonch called in to identify him.  She immediately pointed him out as the fake police officer that tried to kidnap her. But there just wasn’t enough evidence to link him to Debby Kent’s disappearance; with no remains discovered and just his presence confirmed at the school, police proceeded with charging him for the aggravated kidnapping of DaRonch and attempted criminal assault. His bail wast set for $15,000 and his parents paid it. Bundy was out again.

Ted Bundy lineup

Ted Bundy in line up

Waiting for his indictment, Bundy stayed with his fiance Liz in Seattle, who suddenly had a change of heart about him. It looks like Bundy’s charm was still working, after all, he did say that he is innocent. The love was strong with this one. (couldn’t help myself making this pun). This was also the moment when Liz stopped cooperating with police.

The Aspen Meeting

Detectives in three different states were desperately trying to gather evidence to connect him to the murders; so in November in an attempt to join forces, Detective Jerry Thompson from Utah, Robert Keppel from Washington and Michael Fisher from Colorado met up in Aspen and exchanged information with detectives from 5 states. They all knew it: Bundy was the murderer, but more bullet proof evidence was needed.

But there was one thing they had. After his arrest for failing to stop for an office back in August, Bundy knew he was already pushing the limits so he decided to sell his car. That was a mistake he did, as law enforcement impounded the car after it was sold and FBI took it over. They had now the possible car used in the kidnappings and while dismantling the car, they found samples of hear and that hair matched the hair obtained from Caryn Campbell’s body. It was something big, but still not enough. They also found hair from DaRonch and Melissa Smith.

The kidnapping trial

The trial for the DaRonch kidnapping started on February 23, 1976 and Bundy waved his right to a jury. After 4 days of trial and 3 days of deliberations, Bundy was found guilty of kidnapping by Judge Stewart Hanson Jr. On June 30, 1976 he was sentenced to serve a minimum of one year to a maximum of 15 years in the Utah State Prison. But the Colorado police was ready to charge him with murder so a couple of months later, in October the Colorado police pursued his extradition to face trial for the murder of Caryn Campbell. Bundy was transferred to Aspen in January 1977, after he gave up fighting the extradition order.

Ted Bundy

The Bundy in court

The escape

Bundy was now being caught up with his crimes. He was already sentenced for kidnapping in Utah and was facing a murder trial in Colorado state. In june 7, 1977, Bundy was taken from Garfield County jail in Glenwood to Pitkin County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing. However, Bundy was arrogant and already had his own plans carefully crafted in his mind.

He decided to be his own lawyer, knowing that this way, he will get certain privileges. One of them being the removal of handcuffs and leg shackles; another privilege was the permission to visit the courthouse library, as he needed to document himself on his defense, right? Well that was all he needed to pursue his real plan. He jumped the window from the second floor of the courthouse and made his way through his escape, managing to pass the roadblock being instated.

Fugitive Bundy gets caught

He hiked onto Aspen Mountain and broke into several cabins to steal food, clothing and a weapon. Somehow Bundy got lost in the forest going back and forward towards Aspen. He then stole a car to use it in his escape, but was caught by police and arrested again after 6 days on the run.

ted bundy

Ted Bundy fugitive

The taste of freedom

Managing to elude police for 6 days while on the run, Bundy had the taste of freedom clearly shaped in his mind. Hi might have failed in his first escape, but that didn’t stop him as he already started planning another one.

He was taken back to jail in Glenwood Springs; Bundy was just smiles becoming more confident as the case against him was falling apart, with pretrial motions being resolved in his favor and some evidence declared inadmissible. But a winnable trial which would have been like a sunny day to any other man standing a murder trail in Colorado, was not enough for Ted. You see, standing trial would take some time. Time that Bundy didn’t want to spend waiting for a possible acquittal; so against advises from different friends, he decided to move forward with another escape plan.

You see, for Bundy, the longer he stayed in prison, the longer he had to wait until he killed again. He was craving to kill, for him this was the most important thing. Another woman to posses in the only way he knew how: raping, torturing and killing.

Second escape

Bundy somehow acquired a plan of the jail, a hacksaw blade and 500 dollars, smuggled in probably during visit hours, by Carol Ann Boone, his lover…the other one. This was a very determined man who couldn’t just let go of that ugly feeling inside of him. Carefully every evening while inmates were showering, he sawed a hole about one foot between the steel bars in his cell’s ceiling. You might say one foot is like..not that big for a man of the Bundy’s size. Well it wasn’t, because Bundy was an ambitious man so he lost the necessary weight. Now all was left to do was to wait the right moment to make the move.

By the end of 1977, Bundy filed a motion for a change of venue from Aspen to Denver. He was granted the request, but to Colorado Springs. This was not good for Bundy so on December 30, 1977, he put his plan in motion. He escaped through the hole he sowed and he was discovered missing only the following day at noon. By then, Bundy was far away, ready to kill again.

ted bundy

police preparing road blocks

Bundy was out again

Out from prison, he made his way to Chicago, by stealing a car, taking the bus and even a flight. From there he went to Tallahassee, Florida, where he tried to stay low by changing slightly his appearance and surviving on petty crimes like shoplifting. He did try to get a legitimate job, but had to give up when he was asked for a driving license. So he returned at doing theft. Maybe he did try to stay very low thinking that he can avoid police forever, but this was Ted Bundy. A serial killer. And not the kind that wants to stop assaulting women and killing them.

A vicious murder spree

Like an addict craving for his dose, the same way Bundy felt about his vicious desires. So on January 15, 1978, just after one week of trying to stay low, he entered a Florida State University sorority house at around 2:45 AM. With a savage thirst, he bludgeoned 21 year old Margaret Bowman, while she was still asleep, then suffocated her with some nylon stocking. Then he continued his violence entering the bedroom of 20 year old Lisa Levy. He beat her, strangled her, bit her and sodomized her by sexually assaulting her with a foreign object. But this was not enough. Not for Bundy who couldn’t do what he wanted for almost two years; so he moved to the next bedroom where he attacked Kathy Kleiner and Karen Chandler. Both suffered a broken jaw, loss of teeth, crushed bones.

15 minutes

15 minutes. That is all the time he needed to attack 4 different women. 15 min. Can you even imagine that? Less than 5 minutes per victim. He was finally getting his fix and he was “euphoric”, impossible to stop and already looking for the next victim. After leaving the sorority house and breaking into a basement apartment eight blocks away, he attacked Florida State University student, Cheryl Thomas. Same marks left behind: broken jaw, broken skull. He left the victim alive, but with a permanent hearing damage. He also left behind evidence like a pantyhose mask and hair.

Another child

Three weeks later, on February 8, 1978 he stole a van and headed east to Jacksonville. He approached 14 year old Leslie Parmenter by impersonating “Richard Burton, Fire Department”, but his plan failed when the girl’s brother showed up. He failed and was in need for another victim. The next morning he had found her. She was 12 year old Kimberly Diane Leach, who never returned to her class at Lake City Junior High School. Almost two month later, her remains were discovered in a pig farrowing, 35 miles from where she went missing.

His final arrest

Left with insufficient money and unable to pay his rent (because hey, his priority was kill first pay rent later), Bundy stole another car and left Tallahassee. Three days later, Pensacola police officer David Lee stopped him near the Alabama state line. The car he was driving car was reported stolen so he was under arrest. Upon hearing this, Bundy thought, hell no and he kicked the officer and ran away. The officer tackled him and put him under arrest. When checking his car, the ID’s of female students at Florida State University were found, together with stolen credit cards and some items he used to disguise himself as “Richard Burton, Fire Department”. While being taken to jail, Bundy was heard saying “”I wish you had killed me.”

Florida Trial

His arrest and capture went nation wide. Bundy went immediately on trial for the sorority house murders and Lake City murder. Arrogant like he usually was, he decided to build his defense as he wants it. He wanted the control, being over confident in his ability to lie and manipulate; or maybe he loved the national attention as the trial became covered by over 200 reporters.

Mike Minerva, a lawyer in his defense team said that a plea was negotiated in which Bundy would plead guilty to killing Levy, Bowman and Leach and get 75 years in prison. Initially Bundy agreed to it, thinking that in time he can reduce his sentence and avoid death penalty. Realizing that he has to say he is guilty out loud for the entire world to hear, he decided to continue with the trial.

First death sentence

During the trial, the evidence against him was overwhelming and after deliberating for 7 hours the jury found him guilty on July 1979, of the murder of Bowman and Levy, three counts of attempted first degree murder on Kleiner, Chandler and Thomas and two counts of burglary. Judge Edward Cowart sentenced him to death for the murder convictions.

ted bundy

Bundy on Florida Trial

After reading his sentence the judge said:

“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.”

This man even impressed the judge.

Orlando Trial

Half of year later, another trial took place in Orlando for the murder of Kimberly Leach. After less than eight hours of jury deliberation, Bundy was once again found guilty. Then, something slightly strange happened. Well, strange for us, but then again, this was Bundy – not a normal guy. Being his own defense lawyer, he took advantage of a law in Florida which stated that a marriage proposal acceptance in a court, in the presence of a judge, becomes a legal marriage; he asked Carole Ann Boone to marry him during her questioning. Then he declared himself legally married. (Great Carol…you got yourself a fancy man, you lucky girl)

ted bundy

Ted Bundy Orlando trial

Second death sentence

On February 10, 1980, Bundy, who was now legally married (not sure what that was about) was sentenced to death again. By electrocution. He was heard screaming “Tell the jury they were wrong”. This was the death sentence that was actually carried out 9 years later. (plenty of time for honeymoon visits, because apparently Carol became pregnant with his daughter and giving birth on October 1982).

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy hearing his conviction

Death Row

Finally the serial killer keeping 5 states in fear was in jail and sentenced to death. Bundy had a lot of stories to tell, many of them confusing and/or false. But nevertheless he did give details about some of his murders. During his death row, many specialists, detectives interviewed Bundy in a desperate attempt to understand what was this man, why would he kill in such manner and why he didn’t stop.

Everyone tried to get to him before his execution. Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth were some of the ones interviewing him. Slowly, Bundy started talking. After all, that was the only way he knew how to retain the attention. He talked about his career as a thief, talking about his desire to posses things. Ultimately this desire to posses was what he was doing to all the victims.

“The ultimate possession was, in fact, the taking of the life……And then … the physical possession of the remains.”

In October 1984, Bundy contacted Robert Keppel and offered to share his self-proclaimed expertise in serial killer psychology; after all, he did study psychology in is university years. He had heard about the task force for The Green River Killer. Green River Task Force detective Dave Reichert interviewed Bundy and later collaborated with Michaud on another examination of the interview material.

The appeals roller coaster

An execution date was set on March 4,  1986 for the sorority house murders, but the Supreme Court issued a stay of the execution and the date was rescheduled in April for July 2. Bundy started to make confessions. He begun confessing the murders to Hagmaier and Nelson, giving descriptive details about what he had done to the victims before and after their death; even admitting that used to revisit the crime scenes and lie with his victims, committing necrophilia with their already decomposing bodies.

He also mentioned that he used makeup for Melissa Smith’s face and washed Laura Aime’s hair. Bundy decapitated more than 10 of his victims with a hacksaw.

Final execution date set

With less than 15 hours before his scheduled execution, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed it and case reviews were demanded, including Bundy’s mental state. A new date for execution was for November 18, 1986; 9 days later the Eleventh Court of Appeals issued another stay. In mid 1988 The Eleventh Court of Appeals ruled against Bundy and the Supreme Court denied Bundy’s motion to review that decision; a new execution date was set: January 24, 1989.

The confessions

Well, the arrogant Ted Bundy exhausted all his legal means and there was no way to postpone the inevitable, so he started talking. He called Kepper, the Washington detective and confessed that he was responsible for the 8 murders in Washington and Oregon. Bundy also disclosed that there are 5 more victims, 3 in Washington and 2 on Oregon; but declined to identify them. He added that he left Donna Manson’s body on Taylor Mountain and took her head for incinerating it in Liz’s fireplace.

“Of all the things I did to [Kloepfer],” he told Keppel, “this is probably the one she is least likely to forgive me for. Poor Liz.”

He then continued giving details about how he abducted Georgeann Hawkins, luring her into his car, hit her, handcuff her and strangle her; and how he spent the night with her body, revisiting her remains several times after the murder. Bundy added that the next morning he returned to University of Washington and retrieved her shoe and earring which were left behind at the scene of the abduction.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy on death row

Keppel said: “He described the Issaquah crime scene [where the bones of Ott, Naslund, and Hawkins were found], 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.”

Nelson added: “It was the absolute misogyny of his crimes that stunned me….”his manifest rage against women. He had no compassion at all … he was totally engrossed in the details. His murders were his life’s accomplishments.”

Bundy described killing numerous victims in Idaho, Utah and Colorado; details were left out to influence another stay of execution. “There are other buried remains in Colorado”. But he never gave sufficient details. And many details he gave, didn’t really help law enforcement in discovering more bodies. It looks like Bundy didn’t use his leverage as best as he could or he was simply lying.

His final interview

Victim list

DateYearStateVictim NameAge
January 41974Washington, OregonKaren Sparks18
February 11974Washington, OregonLynda Ann Healy21
March 121974Washington, OregonDonna Gail Manson19
April 171974Washington, OregonSusan Elaine Rancourt18
May 61974Washington, OregonRoberta Kathleen Parks22
June 11974Washington, OregonBrenda Carol Ball22
June 111974Washington, OregonGeorgann Hawkins18
July 141974Washington, OregonJanice Ann Ott23
July 141974Washington, OregonDenise Marie Naslund19
October 21974Utah, Colorado, IdahoNancy Wilcox16
October 181974Utah, Colorado, IdahoMelissa Anne Smith17
October 311974Utah, Colorado, IdahoLaura Ann Aime17
November 81974Utah, Colorado, IdahoCarol DaRonch18
November 81974Utah, Colorado, IdahoDebra Jean Kent17
January 121975Utah, Colorado, IdahoCaryn Eileen Campbell23
March 151975Utah, Colorado, IdahoJulie Cunningham26
April 61975Utah, Colorado, IdahoDenise Lynn Oliverson25
May 61975Utah, Colorado, IdahoLynette Dawn Culver12
June 281975Utah, Colorado, IdahoSusan Curtis15
January 151978Florida
Margaret Elizabeth Bowman
January 151978FloridaLisa Levy20
January 151978FloridaKaren Chandler 21
January 151978FloridaKathy Kleiner21
January 151978FloridaCheryl Thomas21
February 91978FloridaKimberly Diane Leach12


Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy Victims

His execution

Diana Weiner, a young lawyer was trying to petition a stay of the execution. She was also a love interest for Bundy. Upon hearing this, Carol Ann Boone, got (finally) offended and moved away; refusing to take Bundy’s last call, before the execution.

People outside were chearring and waiting for it, finally seeing a monster being put away forever. It was clear that he murdered all those women, and they did not need his confession anymore.

Ted Bundy

Hagmaier and Bundy during their final death row interview on the eve of Bundy’s execution, January 23, 1989

Ted Bundy died in the Raiford electric chair at 7:16 a.m. EST on January 24, 1989; he was 42 years old. The monster died.

24 Jan 1989, Gainesville, Florida, USA — Gainesville, Fla.: The body of Theodore “Ted” Bundy is taken to the Alachua County Medical Examiner’s office following his execution at 7:16 a.m. Bundy was executed for the murder of Kimberly Leach of Lake City. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS





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You can find on this post the FBI documents regarding Ted Bundy.