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KILLER SITE OF THE WEEK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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