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Don't be afraid of him because you see the horror behind his eyes...be afraid of him because you would never have seen him coming until it was too late.  The diabolical killer that won your trust with a smile then turned into something barely human: Theodore Robert Bundy.

bundytitle.jpg

 

 

 

Ted Bundy was born November 24, 1946, as Theodore Robert Cowell. His mother, Eleanor, was from Philadelphia, and was pregnant outside of wedlock.  She gave birth to her son in the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont.  Abortion, at the time, was illegal, but Eleanor would not have had one anyway.

The stigma around premarital sex and "bastard" children forced Eleanor to leave Philadelphia and move to family in Tacoma, Washington.  Ted had thusfar been raised to believe that his mother was his sister, and that his grandparents were his parents.  Being separated from the man that he thought was his father was hard on the young boy.

In Washington, Eleanor went by Louise, and Theodore Robert Cowell became Theodore Nelson.  A year later, in 1951, Louise married Johnnie Bundy, and Ted took this third and final last name.

Theodore and his four half-siblings, two sisters, and two brothers, were raised in a strict Christian home.  Ted Bundy attended Woodrow Wilson High School, though his records have vanished.  Classmates remember him well.  Ted's interests in politics began early, and high school was a stepping stone for his work with the republican party.

During his life, Ted worked several low-level positions with the republican groups in his area.  He attended the University of Puget Sound, as well as the University of Washington.  Bundy studied law at the University of Utah.

Friends remember Bundy as witty, kind, and attractive, as well as charming.  These were all to be his assets as a killer.

Ironically, Bundy worked for some time at a crisis clinic, answering phones, and talking people down from suicide.  In 1970, Ted saved a three-and-a-half-year-old from drowning in Green Lake.  As far as most people were concerned, he saved lives, he didnt take them.

 

When young women, many college students, began disappearing, police were left struggling with very little evidence.  Some of the girls vanished without so much as a scream.

Soon people began to report seeing something they had disregarded at the time: on the days of several abductions, a man on crutches with his leg in a cast was seen talking to several women, asking for assistance getting something to his car.  The suspect's car could now be identified as a gold Volkswagen. 

When a composite sketch of the "wounded" man was distributed, not one, but three people reported to authorities that the man terrorizing Washington campuses looked like Ted Bundy.

As with Berkowitz, many women in the greater Seattle area noticed that hair seemed to be a factor in victim selection.  Bloody bedrooms and missy women were often tied to long, dark hair parted down the middle.

Bundy had other tricks than just luring women into his car by faking an injury.  When he tricked a woman at a shopping mall into believing that he was a plainclothes cop who needed her to come with him to the police station, he made a fatal mistake.  In a struggle, he managed to put both ends of his handcuffs onto only one of her wrists, and she escaped the car.  Running down the road, she encountered a shocked couple who picked up the frightened woman.

After Bundy was arrested for kidnapping, authorities began to take an interest in him as the killer they had been chasing. 

In June of 1977, while awaiting trial, Bundy escaped, only to be quickly recaptured.  Six months later, he escaped and fled to Florida, where he killed three more people, including a 12-year-old girl.  Finally, apprehended on a traffic violation, Bundy confessed to over 100 murders, though he latter recanted the confession.

In June of 1977, while awaiting trial, Bundy escaped, only to be quickly recaptured.  Six months later, he escaped and fled to Florida, where he killed three more people, including a 12-year-old girl.  Finally, apprehended on a traffic violation, Bundy confessed to over 100 murders, though he latter recanted the confession.

There were 2,400 suspects filed in Bundys killings, and he was almost caught by chance.

 

In four years, Ted Bundy murdered in five states, killing an estimated 28 people.  He was convicted of 19 murders, and was put to death in Florida's electric chair on January 24, 1989, with a coroner declaring him dead at 7:16am.

Bundy was the 106th prisoner to be executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

Just seven hours before his execution, the US Supreme Court had rejected his last appeal. 

Though killing Bundy eliminated a man who had come to be known as an authority of sorts on serial killers, the support to execute him  was overwhelming.

The day of Ted Bundys execution, more than 300 pro-death penalty demonstrators gathered outside the prison.  A lighted billboard on a couples truck displayed the message "Bundy burn in hell".  T-shirts were for sale with an image of Ted Bundy in the electric chair, with the caption "Burn Bundy Burn".

A poll in Florida after Bundy's trial showed 85% of the population in favor of capital punishment.  Because Ted spent 10 years on death row, outraged citizens prompted efforts to speed-up the appeals process, so death sentences would be carried out faster.

It seemed Bundys only sympathy came from old friends, and the comment of the judge at his trial: "You would have made a good lawyerbut you went another way."

Towards the end, Bundy blamed alcohol and pornography for his actions.  He seemed ready for his execution.  "I deserve, certainly, the most extreme punishment society has, and I think society deserves to be protected from me and others like me."

Theodore Robert Bundy was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State.

 

(one of the resources for the passage and)
Recommended Reading:
 
Rule, Anne. The Stranger Beside Me
    W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., New York, 1980