Theodore Robert Bundy (born Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer who, beginning in the 1970s and maybe earlier, abducted, raped, and killed a number of young women and girls. He finally admitted to 30 killings carried out in seven states between 1974 and 1978 after more than a decade of denials. His actual victim count is unknown but almost certainly far higher.
Bundy took use of his reputation for charisma and good looks to gain the trust of both his victims and society at large. Typically, he would approach his victims in public settings, pretending to have a physical impediment like an injury or to be an authority figure, before striking them until they were unconscious and transporting them to additional sites where they would be raped and strangled.
Bundy frequently returned to his victims, grooming them and engaging in sexual activity with the bodies until rotting and destruction by wild animals prevented any further contact. At least twelve victims had their heads removed, and he kept the heads in his room as a keepsake. He occasionally broke into people’s homes at night and beat them as they slept.
In 1975, Bundy was detained and imprisoned in Utah for attempted criminal assault and aggravated kidnapping. He then started to appear as a suspect in a growing number of unsolved homicides in several states. Bundy, who was facing murder charges in Colorado, staged two spectacular escapes and carried out additional assaults—including three murders—in Florida before being finally apprehended in 1978. He was given three death sentences in two trials for the murders in Florida. On January 24, 1989, Bundy was put to death at Florida State Prison in Raiford.
He was characterised by his biographer Ann Rule as “a sadistic sociopath who enjoyed another person’s suffering and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death and even after.”
The “most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet,” as Bundy once referred to himself a comment that Polly Nelson, an attorney who was a part of his previous defence team, concurred with. Ted was the epitome of uncaring wickedness, she claimed in her essay.
Execution, confessions, and the death row
Supporters of Bundy began arguing for the last available alternative, executive clemency, when it became evident that no additional stays would be granted by the courts. Families of a number of Colorado and Utah victims were urged to petition Florida Governor Bob Martinez for a postponement so that Bundy may have more time to provide information by Diana Weiner, a young Florida lawyer and the last person Bundy was rumoured to have been in a relationship with.
All declined. Nelson stated that the victims’ relatives “already thought the victims were dead and that Ted had killed them.” They didn’t require his admission, Martinez made it clear that he would in no way consent to more delays. He assured reporters that “we are not going to have the system corrupted.” “It is terrible for him to be bartering for his life over the bodies of victims.”
Bundy’s admission that he was guilty in fact “seriously betrayed” Boone, who had fought for Bundy’s innocence throughout all of his trials. On the morning of his execution, she and her daughter relocated back to Washington and she turned down his call. According to Nelson, “she was devastated by his abrupt wholesale revelations in his last days and heartbroken by his friendship with Diana [Weiner].”
Hagmaier was there when Bundy spoke with the police one last time. He discussed suicide on the day before his execution. He didn’t want to let the state enjoy watching him die, according to Hagmaier.
On Tuesday, January 24, 1989, at 7:16 a.m. E.T., Bundy was put to death in the Raiford electric chair. “Jim and Fred, I’d like you to express my love to my family and friends,” he said with his dying breath, addressing his lawyer Jim Coleman and Methodist clergyman Fred Lawrence.
Hundreds of people celebrated as the white hearse carrying Bundy’s body left the prison after hundreds of them sung, danced, and let off fireworks in a pasture across from the prison as the execution was carried out. In accordance with his wishes, he was cremated in Gainesville and his ashes were dispersed in the Washington State Cascade Range at an unspecified site.