Bundy at Trial
Theodore "Ted" Bundy was born on November 24, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont, at a home for unwed mothers. His mother, Eleanor Cowell, was a young department store clerk and his father's identity still remains a mystery. For the first nine years of his life, Bundy and his mother lived in Philadelphia with his maternal grandfather who, according to some family members, was mentally unstable and prone to violence. To quiet the potential gossip of "illegitimate child", many neighbors and friends were told that Eleanor's parents had adopted Bundy, and that he was actually Eleanor's younger brother.
Ted Bundy and his mother eventually moved to Tacoma, Washington, where Eleanor's uncle Jack taught music at the University of Puget Sound. Not long thereafter, she married Johnny Culpepper Bundy, a hospital cook from Pasquotank County, North Carolina, whom she met at a church social function.
Ted Bundy was a good student at Woodrow Wilson High School and was active in the local Methodist Church and the Boy Scouts. He remained shy and introverted throughout most of his high school and early college years. He had no natural sense of how to get along with other people. Before he was out of high school, his criminal activities began. He was a compulsive thief, a shoplifter, amateur con artist, and was fascinated by images of sex and violence.
Ted Bundy matured into a handsome and articulate young man. He worked and campaigned for the Washington State Republican Party as an adult. He also worked as a volunteer at a Seattle suicide crisis center, alongside a young crime reporter, Ann Rule. Ironically, at the time Rule was writing articles on some murders that, unbeknownst to her, her young friend was committing.
Ted Bundy had one serious relationship with a college freshman, "Stephanie Brooks" (a pseudonym), but she became fed up with his immaturity and lack of ambition, and ended the relationship. It was at this time that Bundy decided to pay a visit to Burlington, Vermont, the place of his birth. While there, he visited the local records clerk and finally uncovered the truth. His sister was actually his mother. After his discovery, Bundy became a more focused and dominant person. After approximately two years, he came back into "Brooks" life with a new look and attitude as a serious, dedicated professional man who had been accepted to law school. He courted her once more and when he proposed marriage to her, she accepted. A short time later, he dumped her excusing his behavior as proving to himself that he could have her. It was shortly after this final breakup that he began a homicidal rampage which lasted three years. Most of Ted Bundy's victims had long dark hair parted in the middle just like "Brooks" and experts speculate that his stewing resentment towards her was a motivating factor in his string of murders.
It is believed that Bundy may have started killing in his early teens. When he was fourteen or fifteen, an eight-year-old girl from Tacoma, Ann Marie Burr, vanished from her home in Bundy's neighborhood in 1961. However, he denied killing her. His earliest confirmed murders were committed in 1974, when he was twenty-seven.
Shortly after midnight on January 4, 1974, Ted Bundy entered the basement bedroom of an eighteen-year-old student at the University of Washington, "Joni Lenz" (Karen Sparks), and bludgeoned her with a metal rod while she slept. She was found the next morning in a coma, with the speculum rammed deep into her vagina, and lying in a pool of her own blood. She survived the attack but suffered permanent brain damage and had no memory of the attack.
Ted Bundy's next victim was Lynda Ann Healy, a senior at the University of Washington and roommate of a friend of Bundy's. On January 31, 1974, Bundy broke into Healy's basement room, knocked her unconscious, dressed her in jeans and a shirt, wrapped her in a bed sheet, and carried her away. A year would pass before her decapitated remains were found in the mountains east of Seattle.
On March 12, 1974, Bundy kidnapped and murdered nineteen-year-old Evergreen State University student Donna Gail Manson on her way to a jazz concert on campus. 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's next victim was Georgeann Hawkins, a student at the University of Washington and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, an on-campus sorority. In the early morning hours of June 11, 1974, she walked from her boyfriend's dormitory to her sorority house, a distance of approximately 90 feet. She was last seen by one of her boyfriend's fraternity members approximately halfway down the alley that separated the two buildings. Bundy had been waiting in a parking lot behind the sorority house. He was using crutches and approach Hawkins to ask her for her assistance in carrying his briefcase to his car. She agreed. As they approached his Volkswagen Beetle, he knock her unconscious with a crowbar he had laying by a tire. He then handcuffed her, pulled her into his vehicle, and sped away. Hawkins awoke during a drive through the mountains and he knocked her unconscious again before strangling her to death with a piece of cord.
In the first half of 1974, Ted Bundy stalked and killed at least eight young women in Washington State. Bundy's killing spree reached it's peak on July 14 with the abduction, in broad daylight, of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund from Lake Sammamish State Park near Seattle. Later five different women would testify that on that day they were approached by a man wearing a white tennis outfit with his arm in a sling who called himself "Ted" asking each of them for help unloading a sailboat from his car. One went with Bundy as far as his Volkswagen, where there was no sailboat, before refusing to accompany him further. Two more witnesses would testified to seeing this man approach Janice Ott with the story about the sailboat, and seeing her walk away from the beach in his company. This was the last time she was ever seen alive. The remains of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund were discovered months later at a site near the park.
That autumn, Bundy moved to Utah to attend law school in Salt Lake City, where he resumed killing in October. Nancy Wilcox disappeared on October 2. On October 18, Bundy murdered Melissa Smith, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Midvale Police Chief Louis Smith. Bundy raped, sodomized, and strangled Smith. Her body was found nine days later.
Next was Laura Aime, also seventeen, who disappeared when she left a Halloween party in Lehi, Utah, on October 31, 1974. Her remains were found nearly a month later, by hikers on Thanksgiving Day, on the banks of a river in the American Fork Canyon. She was found naked, beaten beyond recognition, sodomized, and strangled with her own sock.
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 lured DaRonch into his car where he then attempted to handcuff her. Fortunately for DaRonch, he only got one wrist. She managed to open the door with her other hand, rolled out of the car onto the highway and escaped with contusions to the head given to her by a blunt instrument that Bundy had taped underneath the car seat.
Frustrated in his attempt to kill DaRonch, Bundy snatched Debbie Kent, who was attending a school play in Bountiful, Utah, mere hours later. Kent, seventeen, disappeared after leaving the school play. She had left early and alone to pick up her brother, but her car never left the parking lot. Residents nearby reported hearing screams from the area of the lot, and a handcuff key that fit the cuffs left on DaRonch's wrist was later found on the ground nearby. Bundy had been clearly seen lurking in the back of the auditorium where the play was held and had boldly appeared backstage, confronting a drama teacher with the demand that she accompany him to the parking lot to allegedly identify a vehicle—the same ruse Bundy had tried earlier in the day with DaRonch. Kent's body has never been found.
In 1975, while still attending law school at the University of Utah, Bundy shifted his crimes to Colorado. Caryn Campbell disappeared from the Wildwood Inn at Snowmass, Colorado, on January 12 where she had been vacationing with her husband. Her body was found on February 17. Julie Cunningham disappeared on March 15 on her way to a nearby tavern in Vail. On April 6 Denise Oliverson was abducted while bicycling to visit her parents in Grand Junction. Lynette Culver was snatched from a school playground in Pocatello, Idaho, on May 6. Back in Utah, Susan Curtis vanished on June 28 while walking alone to the dormitories during a youth conference at Brigham Young University on June 28. The bodies of Cunningham and Oliverson have never been recovered.
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, and other items that were thought by the police to be burglary tools. Bundy was arrested for this charge on August 21. Utah police connected Bundy and his Volkswagen with the DaRonch kidnapping and with the murdered and missing women in Utah and Colorado. Following a week-long trial, Bundy was convicted of DaRonch's kidnapping on March 1, 1976. He was sentenced to 15 years in Utah State Prison. In the meantime, Colorado authorities were pursuing their murder cases.
On June 7, 1977, in preparation for a hearing in the Caryn Campbell murder trial, Bundy was transported to the Pitkin County courthouse. During a court recess, he was allowed to visit the courthouse's law library. Bundy then jumped out of the building from a second-story window and escaped. The two-story fall injured Bundy's ankle, which caused him to remain in the area, and he was recaptured a week later. Back in jail awaiting the start of his trial, Bundy escaped again. He somehow acquired a hacksaw and, over time, sawed a square hole in the ceiling of his cell in the Glenwood Springs, Colorado. On the night of December 30, 1977, Bundy climbed out of the hole, managed to walk right out of the jail's front door and reach the main hallway. Bundy stole a car in the parking lot and drove off.
With around $500 in cash given to him by his friends during jail visits, Bundy bought a one-way plane ticket and flew from Denver to Chicago the night he escaped. He then caught an Amtrak train to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and stole a car that he abandoned in Atlanta before boarding a bus for Tallahassee, Florida. There, he rented a room at a boarding house. During this time, he was using the aliases of "Chris Hagen" and Florida State University graduate "Ken Misner". In spite of the fact he had been determined to not so much as jaywalk while on the lam from prison, he committed numerous petty crimes including shoplifting, purse snatching, and auto theft And he could no longer control his desire to rape and kill again.
On January 15, 1978, after being in Tallahassee only six days, 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. Levy's right collarbone had been broken by a tremendous blow. There was a double bite mark on her left buttock where her killer had torn at her with his teeth, leaving four distinct sets of marks where his teeth had sunk in. These bite marks would be used as evidence against Bundy during his 1979 trial. Bowman had been struck repeatedly on the right side of her head so viciously that broken pieces of her skull were driven into her brain. Neither girl had any damage to their hands or nails, indicating that they had not been able to defend themselves in any way.
After he finished with Levy and Bowman, he seriously wounded Karen Chandler and Kathy Kleiner inside their Florida State University Chi Omega sorority house. He then clubbed and severely injured another young woman, Cheryl Thomas, in her home a few blocks away.
On February 9, 1978, Bundy traveled to Lake City, Florida. While there, he abducted, raped and murdered twelve-year-old Kimberly Leach, throwing her body under a small shed. She would be his final victim. Shortly after 1 a.m. on February 15, Bundy was stopped by a Pensacola police officer. When the officer called in a check of Bundy's license plate, the orange VW he was driving came up as stolen. Bundy then scuffled with the officer before he was finally subdued. Before long, Bundy was identified and taken to Miami to stand trial for the Chi Omega murders.
Bundy's trial for the Chi Omega murders was held from June 25 to July 31, 1979. Despite his five court-appointed defense lawyers, Bundy represented himself as his own legal counsel, even cross-examining witnesses. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced to death.
After the Chi Omega trial, Bundy was tried for the Kimberly Leach murder in 1980. He was again convicted on all counts and sentenced to death. During his trial for the Kimberly Leach murder, while Bundy was acting as his own attorney, he married Carole Ann Boone in the courtroom as the trial was being conducted. Following numerous conjugal visits between Bundy and his new wife, Boone gave birth to a daughter in October 1982. Eventually Boone moved away, divorced Bundy, and changed her and her daughter's last name. Both of their whereabouts are unknown.
At 7:06 a.m. on January 24, 1989, 42-year-old Ted Bundy was executed in the electric chair, "Old Sparky" a.k.a. "Yellow Mama", by the State of Florida for the murder of Kimberly Leach. His last words were, "I'd like you to give my love to my family and friends." Then, more than 2,000 volts were sent through his body for less than two minutes. He was pronounced dead at 7:16 a.m.