Bundy (Serial Murderer) Case

views updated

Bundy (Serial Murderer) Case

Ted Bundy was responsible for a series of brutal sex murders in the Pacific Northwest, Utah, and Colorado between 1969 and 1975. The law graduate was a handsome, charming young man who did charity work and volunteered for political candidates. In his early years, however, he had been unsettled and insecure. He had a history of repeated petty theft and found it difficult to make friends, suggestive of psychopathic tendencies.

Bundy's trick was to feign injury and ask for help to lure women to his car, an old Volkswagen Beetle. He had already claimed several victims in Seattle when, on November 8, 1974, he approached Carol DaRonch in Salt Lake City, posing as a policeman. He managed to persuade her into his car, despite her suspicions. Bundy then tried to handcuff her and pulled a gun, but she managed to escape. Seventeen-year-old Debbie Kent wasn't so lucky; Bundy killed her later that night.

Eventually, in August 1975, Bundy was caught, but not before he had committed more brutal murders. Carol DaRonch picked him out in an identity parade (line-up) and he was convicted of kidnapping her and jailed for 15 years. The Colorado authorities also wanted him for the murder of Caryn Campbell. However, Bundy escaped from prison twice, once only briefly before recapture. The second time he adopted a false name and lived by theft. On January 15, 1978, in the dead of night, he traveled to Florida, where he broke into the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University. Here Bundy attacked four students, raping Lisa Levy, 20, and then killing her by beating her about the head with a log. Margaret Brown 21, was strangled, but not sexually assaulted. Another student, Nita Neary, saw him fleeing the scene and was later able to identify him.

A month later, Bundy sexually assaulted and strangled his last victim, 12-year-old Kimberley Leach. Bundy was finally caught driving a stolen car, by which time he was wanted for murder in several states. In the car was telling evidencehandcuffs and a crowbar. At the trial, Bundy insisted on conducting his own defense. No fingerprint evidence was found at the scene of the Chi Omega murders. However, there was a bite mark on the buttocks of Lisa Levy and another on the nipple, a common finding in violent rape. The first mark was photographed and a transparent overlay created. Bundy was forced by court order to give a dental impression. Forensic dentist Richard Souviron declared the outline of Bundy's front teeth, which were chipped and misaligned, an exact match to the pattern on the transparent overlay. This proved to be a major piece of evidence for the prosecution.

Bundy was found guilty of the murder of the two Chi Omega students and sentenced to death. He spent ten years on Florida's Death Row, using legal tactics to gain a reprieve. At first he insisted on his innocence. Later, though, he admitted to the murders of up to 50 women. Those who have studied this case suggest he could have been responsible for as many as 100 deaths. The true number will probably never be known. In these confessions, he always referred to himself in the third person, claiming an entity inside drove him to kill.

Bundy admitted to becoming obsessed with hard-core pornography involving sadomasochism, a tendency completely at odds with his clean-cut appearance and demeanor. Psychologists who had examined him during his first stay in prison suggested he was neither psychotic nor a sexual deviant. However, he was very dependent on women and feared humiliation in his relationships. He admitted enjoyment of the power he had over his victims. The primary motive in his crimes was, he said, always rape. He then felt compelled to murder his victims to prevent them giving evidence against him. It is interesting that all the victims bore a striking resemblance to one another, having dark hair parted in the middle. This suggests a female fantasy figure that was central to his sexual crimes. Bundy was finally executed in the electric chair on January 24, 1989.

see also Bite analysis; Odontology; Serial killers.