Ted Bundy

views updated

Ted Bundy

Government document

By: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date: June 9, 1977

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts. Subject. Ted Bundy." 〈http://foia.fbi.gov/bundy/bundy1a.pdf〉 (accessed February 2, 2006).

About the Author: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), founded in 1908, is the investigative branch of the U.S. Department of Justice. Its mission is to protect the country from terrorist and other foreign threats, investigate major domestic crimes, and provide criminal justice services to agencies and partners at federal, state, municipal and international levels.


Ted Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers the United States has ever seen. He was responsible for a number of brutal murders in the Pacific Northwest, Utah, Colorado, and Florida between 1969 and 1978. Bundy's early years had been unsettled and he had a history of petty theft; but he fooled many people because he was a charming and handsome young man, a law school graduate who did charity work and campaigned for the Republican Party.

Bundy procured his victims by pretending to be injured, then asking women for help so he could drag them into his car. He had already killed several women in Seattle when, on November 8, 1974, he approached Carol DaRonch in Salt Lake City. This was to be his downfall—at least temporarily. He got her into his car, then tried to handcuff her and pulled out a gun. But DaRonch escaped. Bundy went on to kill seventeen-year-old Debbie Kent that same night.

Caught in August 1975, he was identified by DaRonch in a police lineup, convicted of her kidnapping, and sentenced to fifteen years. In April 1977 Colorado indicted him for the January 1975 murder of twenty-three-year-old Caryn Campbell and transferred him to Garfield County jail to await trial. Because he acted as his own attorney, Bundy was allowed to use the courthouse library to prepare his defense. He jumped from a window in June 1977 during one such visit, an escape that is the subject of the police memo below. Bundy was recaptured eight days later.



See primary source image.


Bundy escaped again in December 1977 by cutting a hole in the ceiling of his cell with a hacksaw blade. He remained at large much longer this time, adopting a false name and living by theft. On January 15, 1978, he broke into the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University, where he attacked four students. Lisa Levy was raped and beaten to death; Margaret Brown was strangled. The other two were beaten with a wooden club but survived.

A month later, Bundy sexually assaulted and strangled twelve-year-old Kim Leach, who was to be his final victim. By the time he was caught, driving a stolen car, he was wanted for murder in several states. In June 1979 he went on trial for the Chi Omega murders and again insisted on conducting his own defense. No fingerprint evidence was found at the scene. But the case was significant from a forensic point of view: Lisa Levy had bite marks on her breast and her buttock—a common finding in violent rape. He was forced to give a dental impression, which matched the marks—major evidence for the prosecution.

Bundy was found guilty of the two Chi Omega murders and sentenced to death. After ten years on death row, he finally admitted to the murders of thirty women; some believe he may have killed as many 100. His known victims comprised eight young women in Seattle, four in Salt Lake City, and Caryn Campbell in Aspen, as well as Lisa Levy, Margaret Bowman, and Kim Leach. As his execution date approached, he confessed to still more murders, hoping for a reprieve. He claimed an entity inside him drove him to murder, referring to himself in the third person.

While psychiatrists judged him neither psychotic nor sexually deviant, he was obsessed with hard-core sadomasochistic pornography and had a huge fear of being humiliated by women; he enjoyed the power he wielded over his victims. Rape, he said, was his prime motive. The murder was then carried out to silence his victim.

Bundy was executed in the electric chair on January 24, 1989. While some executions attract demonstrators who protest capital punishment, in this case they were few. People instead set off fireworks and cheered when his death was announced.



Lyle, Douglas P. Forensics for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004.

Jackson, Andrew R.W., and Julie M. Jackson. Forensic Science. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education, 2004.

Web sites

British Broadcasting Corporation. "Crime. Case Closed. Infamous Criminals. "Ted Bundy." 〈http://www.bbc.co.uk/crime/caseclosed/tedbundy1.shtml〉 (accessed February 2, 2006).