Updated: Apr 19, 2021
When we last left our deranged serial killer he had committed two vicious murders less than two weeks apart from each other. Brenda Ball and Georgann Hawkins. July of 1974 Ted struck twice. Not just in one month, but in one day. He abducted two girls from Lake Sammamish State Park. It’s not known whether he abducted them seperately or together. It’s thought that he took both women at once and made one watch as he killed the other.
Bundy went to the Lake Sammamish State Park in Washington on July 14. With his arm in a sling he approached many women at the beach that day asking for help. His story was he needed help getting his boat. Women that walked to his car with him thinking it was hitched to the back were told upon arriving at the VW Beetle that the boat was actually at his parent’s house over the hill. Knowing him, probably through the woods too. One of the sweet women willing to help the supposedly injured and charming man was Janice Ott. She’d been born on Valentine’s Day of 1951 and had gotten married to Jim Ott the year before her death. Her remains were found in September of 1974 in Issaquah.
Denise Naslund was the other woman to go missing that day from the park. She was 19-years-old and studying to be a computer programmer before she vanished. She left a picnic to go to the restroom and never returned. Her remains would be found with Janice’s on September 14. The friends and family of neither girl would get answers for fifteen years.
In August of 1974 Ted was accepted to the University of Utah. He would be attending law school there and also participating in extracurricular activities of his own. While the disappearances in the Pacific Northwest had come to a screeching hault, there was a new string of disappearances about to take place. Bundy arrived in Salt Lake City at the end of his summer of brutality. For the first couple of months he seemed to keep his axe to the grind and work hard. He didn’t commit any confirmed murders during this point of transition.
In October of 1974 he would break his good streak of not committing any violent crimes. On October 2 Nancy Wilcox, a 16-year-old cheerleader went out for a pack of gum. She was never seen again. She was born on July 4, 1958. She had a waitressing job at the time of her disappearance and like any other teenage girl, an active social life. Witnesses near the high school she attended and left from just before she vanished thought that they saw her in the passengers seat of a VW Beetle like Bundy’s.
Ted did confess to her murder, but gave vague details. Her remains were never found and to this day she’s listed as endangered/missing. A page for Nancy can be found on The Charley Project’s website.
On October 11, less than two weeks later, he tried again. This victim would escape and survive, though. Then she would keep her story a secret for nearly forty years out of fear of being blamed for the attack and ridiculed for it. Rhonda Stapley was a first year pharmacy student at the University of Utah. She’d been waiting for a bus after having dental surgery when Bundy offered her a ride back to campus. Instead of taking her back to her dorm he took her to Big Cottonwood Canyon to repeatedly raped and strangle her. She took advantage of a moment when he turned his back to escape. She ran away as fast as she possibly could and leapt into a nearby river to escape the clutches of her evil attacker.
It wouldn’t be until 2011 that Rhonda would finally reveal the pain, trauma, and torment she’d been living with for the last thirty-seven years. She recalled later that it didn’t seem like hitchhiking to her. Just a friendly student helping another student. There wasn’t anything odd about that for the time. In a particularly bold move he told her his name was Ted and he was a first year law student at the university. He put her at ease with ”lighthearted” banter. Rhonda didn’t notice anything amiss until after he pulled into an isolated tree grove, turned to face her in his seat, and said, ”You know what? I’m going to kill you.”
For three hours she was strangled and raped outside the murder mobile he’d adapted for his sick needs. She went unconcious for an undetermined amount of time and awoke to him slapping her across the face back and forth. When she was the slightest bit concious again he started repeatedly punching her looking angier than she’d ever seen a person look before. All she could do was cry and beg him for her life, all she got in response was verbal abuse. He said ”You don’t have the right to cry and whine at me. You should be thanking me that you’re even still alive. I can kill you any time I want. You should be thankfukl that you’re even still breathing air.”
When Bundy thought she was dead, she took her chance while he was distracted by something near the car. With his back turned to her, Rhonda ran for her life into the woods. She said when she jumped up to ran she remembered her pants wadded up around her ankles as they tripped her. She tripped a couple of steps and by the grace of God into a fast-moving mountain stream. The water swept her away from Ted and saved her life.
When she got out of the water she walked ten miles through the woods to get home in fear of Ted out looking for her. Like a badass she recalls being angry because it was cold and she was ”wet, cold, and freezing.” When she returned home to find her roommates were out she just cleaned herself up and vowed to never speak of this encounter to anyone.
This wouldn’t be the last time Rhonda would have to see his face, though. Just a year later she would see him on television during a local news report about a man arrested. I bet she was not the least bit surprised by his arrest, just his creepy face on her TV. She said she felt guilty upon seeing the report and realizing she hadn’t been the only woman he’d victimized. She wondered if she should’ve spoken up the year prior when he’d attacked her.
Because her story wasn’t told until nearly four decades later there is no way for police to confirm or deny her story. They do say, along with the FBI and Ann Rule, that her story checks out with Bundy’s MO, description, and timeline of events in 1974. She went on to write a book about her experience with Ted Bundy and the effects that it had on her in the long term. It’s called I survived Ted Bundy: The Attack, Escape, and PTSD That Changed My Life. She made an appearance on Dr. Phil and shared the story on a podcast that released last year.
Today she lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and has been happily married for forty-one years. While Ted’s rotting in Hell, Rhonda spent last year suffering through the Covid-19 pandemic, strong as ever. She shares a close relationship with her mother and was going through great pangs to stay in as close of contact as they could.
October 18 Bundy would claim another victim, this one and many others wouldn’t be so lucky. Melissa Smith was born July 4, 1957 and was the daughter Midvale’s police chief. It’s said he always tried to warn his 17-year-old daughter of the dangers of the world. Melissa walked to a pizza parlor that evening to cosole a friend that had been fighting with her boyfriend. When she left it was with plans to go home and grab some things for a slumber party at another friend’s house. She never made it home or to the party that night. The teenage girl that everyone would describe as cautious was found nine days later, on October 27. She was naked and battered, perhaps with a crowbar.
The girl had been beaten, strangled, raped, and sodomized before her death. Even with her father’s position as police chief, her family would also wait fifteen years to find out who murdered Melissa. Bundy would slip away and go on to commit more heinous crimes.
Halloween night of 1974 he took another beautiful soul from her family and friends. Laura Aime was born August 21, 1957, she was also seventeen at the time of her death. It’s said in a news report that she was staying with friends the month before she vanished. On October 31 she left a Halloween party with the intention of hitching a ride to the city of Lehi, where she was from. She was never seen alive again. It’s believed that, unfortunately, Bundy was the one to find her thumbing for a ride. Her body would be found the day before Thanksgiving, almost a month after her disappearance. She was found beaten, strangled with a nylon stocking, raped, and sodomized, like Melissa and the others.
It was on November 8, 1974 that Carol DeRonch would be taken, escape, and give details to the police that would greatly aid in catching him later. He approached her while she was shopping at the mall, pretending to be a police detective. He told her there had been an attempted theft of her car and she needed to come with him to the poilce station to file a report. Through her misgivings, she followed the man to his tan VW bug, that’s also been described in witness reports as being yellow. She got into the car and he put handcuffs on one of her wrists successfully and pulled a gun after riding about a half-mile. She quickly reacted and fought back, escaping the man before he could cause her any serious harm, but a fight insued outside the car. A passing car pulled up and she was able to jump in and escape. She filed a police report that night, but it wasn’t against a factitious would-be car thief, it was against an unknown assailant that tried to handcuff and kidnap her.
Carol, in her bravery would go on to pick Bundy out of a lineup. She would also point him out in court as the man that had pulled a gun on her and handcuffed her while trying to strike her with a crowbar. She identified his tan Volkswagon Bug as the car used in the attempted abduction. He would be found guilty, but not until March of 1976, leaving him plenty of time to prowl and find more hunting grounds.
Today Carol still lives in Salt Lake City with her partner of more than fifteen years, Micheal. She graduated college with a degree in business managment and has worked in telecommunications ever since. She says she never let Bundy disrupt her life or her thoughts after the attack any further than the occasional court appearance. She’s told her story in the news and on the Netflix docuseries Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. It was actually her thirty-year-old son, Levi that convinced her to do the Netflix special. She says she just lives a normal life, just minutes away from all the best ski resorts in the area. She enjoys golfing on a nice day and does so often she also loves the mountains and lakes around her hometown.
It was on the very same day, November 8, that Bundy got bold and tried and second time. Debra Kent, or Debi as she was affectionately called was taken from her high school’s parking lot that night. She was a sweet and generous person who had thoughts of becoming a social worker one day after high school. Her mother described her as being the type of person that would just slip quarters into strangers parking meters walking down the street. Her mother would comment that she would go broke doing that, but Debi didn’t care. She always had more to give, even if it was the last of what she had.
A member of the high school drama club, she had taken her parents to see a production they were putting on. Her little brother didn’t attend the play, but opted to go skating with his friends instead. After the play he needed a ride, so Debi went to get him while her parents waited back at the school. She never came back. Initially the parents were going to walk to a nearby friend’s house for a ride home, but had a bad feeling so they investigated the parking lot. Her car was still parked where she had left it and her purse was still inside. Debi had never even made it to her car that night. Her parents went to the police station to be told their daughter was probably a runaway and they could file a missing persons report until she’d been gone for twenty-four hours.
When the police report was filed the following day a cursory search of the parking lot was conducted. The family’s Mormon Church also organized a search quickly that night. There was no sign of a struggle but a tiny key to a set of handcuffs were found near the auditorium by police. It was discovered quickly afterward that this key fit the handcuffs that had been dangling from Carol DeRonch’s wrist the night before when she entered the station telling a horrifying story. Debi’s body was never found, but a patella, or kneebone, was discovered and later determined in 2015 to be that of Debi Kent.
Ted would seem to go into a cooling off period after his rampage for two months. Then, on January 12, 1975 he resumed his reign of terror, but this time in Colorado. Caryn Campbell was twenty-three when she disappeared from The Wildwood Inn in Aspen. She was on vacation with her fiance and his children enjoying a skiing trip. She left her fiance on the first floor to retrieve a magazine from their second floor room. She disappeared somewhere between the elevator and her room. The registered nurse would be found naked next to a dirt road right by the resort.
It would be another two months before Bundy struck again. On March 15, 1975 he would grab Julie Cunningham. The 26-year-old woman would disappear off the face of the planet seemingly after leaving her apartment in the Apollo Park neighborhood on her way to a nearby tavern. She worked as a ski instructor at a local ski school in her area in Vail part time, but she also worked a second part time job as a cashier at a sporting goods store. She was born January 10, 1949 and was a friendly and outgoing woman with plenty of friends. She had recently gone through a break-up that had her depressed in early March of that year. She didn’t let it hold her back completely, though as she loved to stay active. She lived in the perfect place for that, too.
Julie called her mother that night to vent her feelings about her recent break-up. After hanging up she decided to join her roommate at the tavern for some drinks. She dressed in jeans, a brown suede jacket, boots, and a ski cap before leaving. She never made it to the tavern that night and her remains were never recovered. Bundy later confessed to the crime and his confession does fit his timeline of events.
Denise Oliverson would be next to disappear on April 6, 1975. She was born August 10, 1950 and was known to be a kind woman and a great person. She married Joe Oliverson in 1970 and at the time of her abduction they were going through a rough patch in the marriage. The afternoon she vanished Denise had been in a fight with her husband that there was no coming to an understanding on. Needing to clear her head, she took her yellow ten-speed bike and rode away, presumably to her parent’s house as that was where she would usually go after a fight with her husband. She was wearing a green long sleeve shirt, jeans, and sandals when she left the home. It was the following day that Denise was reported missing.
Her husband called the home of Denise’s parents to see if she was planning on coming home. They told Joe that she had never come to their house the afternoon before. Police were immidiately contacted and a search was conducted of the route she likely took to her parent’s. On that route, found underneath a viaduct only a block from her home was her bicycle. Beside it they also found her sandals. Unfortunately, this would be the only clues to her disappearance. The case quickly went cold and it wasn’t until 1989 when Bundy confessed to Denise’s murder.
Her remains would never be found, but Bundy’s confession does line up with his timeline. Gas receipts of Ted’s from the time of Denise’s disappearance put him in the Grand Junction area that she lived in and vanished from. He said in his confession that he got her into his car and strangled her to death. He then drove her five miles west, near the Utah border. Denise’s body was placed in the Colorado River and carried away by the swift currents. This was unusal for him as he normally dumped victims in the wilderness or burried them. He was always trying to keep his trail scattered and hard for police to follow, though.
It was another month to the day before he killed again. This time, it would be a 12-year-old little girl to recieve his wrath for no good reason at all. Lynette Culver was born July 31, 1962 and lived in Pocatello, Idaho. Her older sister, Nancy would say at the unveiling of a stone bench at Lynette’s favorite swimming pool that she was a ”loveable pest of a little sister.” She had left of her accord from her school, Alameda Junior High on May 6, 1975 never to be seen or heard from again. Her remains were never found, but Ted did confess to her murder along with his others. He said he took the girl to a Holliday Inn hotel and drowned her in the bathtub after raping her. While this would fit in his timeline and he did have another young victim towards the end of it, it’s also believed that Lynette was the victim of another killer in the area at the time taking young girls around Lynette’s age.
Starting on July 2, 1978 four girls would go missing. The final abduction wouldn’t take place until 1981. Also in 1981 the bodies of all four girls would start being discovered. The first two girls to disappear together would turn up first. The last girl to be taken would be found at a different location a year later. The third girl abducted wouldn’t be found until years later, but only her skull was found. It’s possible that this unknown maniac was responsible for Lynette’s death.
Bundy’s confession didn’t line up with the rest of his victims. He had strangled the rest of the women and girls he targeted, not drowned them. He had to be aware of this variation whether he committed the crime or not. If he hadn’t, I’ve wondered if the variation in his confession was a wink to police that this particular confession was false. Although, it’s just as possible he did kill the poor young girl out of convenience if he couldn’t find someone closer to the age he preferred. After his last prison break he did abduct and kill another 12-year-old girl not long after escaping. I guess we’ll really never know, a true tragedy for her family.
Susan Curtis was his next victim on June 27, 1975. She was only fifteen when he says he took her from Brigham Young University in Provo. Susan lived in Bountiful, Utah, but had made the fifty mile journey on her bicycle to attend a two-day conference. After a formal banquet she left her friends to go back to her dorm and brush her teeth. When she never returned a search was conducted on her room. Her toothbrush was dry, indicating that she likely never made it back to the dorm room.
A professor at the school said he saw Susan in the back of his classroom just four days later trying to sell a textbook. He identified her from a picture police had and that was that. There were no further sightings of Susan Curtis and her remains would never be located. Bundy confessed to her murder and claims to have buried her along a highway near Prince, Utah. Susan had been an independant young woman that enjoyed participating her high school’s track and basketball teams. Unfortunately for her family and friends that have grieved her they wouldn’t get a confession for fourteen years and would never be able to lay her to rest.
For two months Ted would seeming cool off again, typical for a serial killer. In August of 1975 he would be pulled over by police for a routine traffic stop. Officers became a little suspicous when Ted turned off his headlights and sped off through stop signs trying to evade them. When he finally stopped his creepy tan murder mobile VW Bug was searched. Police were reasonable surprised to find handcuffs, an ice pick, a crowbar, pantyhose with eyes holes cut out of them, and other questionable items in the car. He was arrested on the spot on suspicion of burglary and taken into custody. Police would soon find out that had not caught a burglar, but the man four states were already looking for in connection with numerous deaths and disappearances.
It was on October 2 Carol DeRonch identified him in a lineup as the man that had attacked her and tried to abduct her. In February of 1976, after a year in jail Bundy stood trial for the attempted kidnapping of Carol DeRonch. At the time, this was the only crime law enforcment in Utah knew for sure he’d committed. He was found guilty and sentenced to a 1-15 year term to be served at Utah State Prison. While in jail awaiting trial for Carol DeRonch’s attempted kidnapping Colorado officials in Aspen connected him with the death of Caryn Campbell. Upon being charged and sentenced in that state of Utah he was extradited to Colorado to face charges for Caryn’s murder.
Once Ted arrived in Colorado he opted to act as his own attorny at trial. The judge agreed to it and he was then granted access to the prison’s and the courthouse’s law libraries to prepare his case. He had this all planned out from the start, knowing he’d have more access if he acted as his own council and would able to enter and wander court more freely without shackles. Once transported to the courthouse for a hearing he asked if he might attend the library briefly before court to fully prepare his case. His request was granted and a guard escorted him to the second story law library. It was from here he would wander behind a bookcase under the guise of finding a book, then turn and jump out of the second story window.
The initail fall broke his ankle, but not his determination. He ran for it, broken ankle be damned and he escaped into the woods. Ted would evade capture for six days before being caught. There are no reported murders during these six days, but he did steal a car and break into a camper for supplies.
Now, this is where it should end, right? He’s tried for Caryn’s death and his escape and later for the other murders as they start getting linked to him. He rots and everybody’s happy but him cause screw that guy, right? Well, you would be wrong if you thought this monster was going to stay confined to a cage for long. In his next feat, that’s seemingly out of an old prison movie, he stops eating, loses a bunch of weight quickly, and shimmies through an unsecure grate that was in his ceiling. Really, who looks at a tiny hole in their prison cell and thinks, ”I bet I can get skinny enough to fit through that.” Somehow, he was strong enough after starving himself like an anorexic to escape and get away for a second time.
I also would like to mention that through all of this going on, Carol DeRonch is not phased. Remember, she never let him invade her life, her thoughts, or to inconvenince her in any way. While most of us would be terrified that the man that tried to kidnap you had escaped custody twice, she wasn’t phased by it at all. While most of these poor victims just wound up being footnotes in his story, he became a footnote in her’s.
After losing around 20-25lbs to fit through this grate in the ceiling, he arranged books in the bed so during cursory checks it would appear somebody was laying there. Like an escape from Alcatraz, he cut the hole just a little wider and slipped right through. It was the night before New Year’s Eve in 1977 that he crawled down into a jailer’s apartment and changed into some of his clothes. From there, he disappeared into the night and his escape wouldn’t be discovered until morning. He had ample time from the time he walked out of the prison’s door to board a flight heading to Chicago. From there he bought a train ticket to Ann Arbor, Michigan before driving all the way down to Atlanta. Then, he got on a bus to Tallahassee, Florida to commit the worst crimes of all.
At this point, Ted was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He was also boiling over with the urge to kill after two and a half years since taking his last victim. On January 15, 1978 he would enter the normally safe Florida State University campus and walk into the Chi Omega sorority house between 3-3:15am. He first went to Margret Bowman’s room, where she slept alone. Using a log from outside the house he attacked her, then strangled her to death with a pair of pantyhose. Before exiting the room he pulled the sheets up to her neck to look as though she were only sleeping.
Next, he wandered into Lisa Levy’s room. He would beat, rape, bite, and strangle her and also assault her with a hairspray can. The bite marks would be the first piece of pysical evidence that would tie him to a crime. He then walked into the room of Kathy Kleiner and Karen Chandler. Kathy would survive the attack with her jaw broken in three places from one hit to the face with the log. Karen would also survive, thanks to another sorority sister, Nita Neary, arriving home. When her boyfriend’s headlights flooded the small room the girls shared Kathy called it ”God’s light.” Bundy saw it and probably thought ”Oh shit.”
He ran from the room to escape detection, but in fact was seen by Nita. She had already entered the home and was standing in the living room when he came bounding down the stairs. In his rush to get away before someone called police and he was caught again, he didn’t attack Nita. Instead Ted ran out of the house through the front entrance and Nita saw Karen stumbling out of her room afterward while telling another sorority sister what she had seen. Karen was covered in blood staggering from the room. When the two sisters ran in to investigate they found Kathy sitting upright on her bed holding her bloody jaw in her hands while rocking back and forth. She would find out later that she had in fact been shot in the face, but she had only remembered Ted coming down on her with the log before going unconscious.
Kathy would overcome her injuries, for months only eating what she could sip through a straw. She said her dreams at night were not of her attacker, but of eating hotdogs and popcorn again. Her boyfriend at the time proposed to her shortly after the attack and they were married in June of that year. Kathy started working as a bank teller soon after that and was promptly robbed at gunpoint by an attractive stranger. She took the afternoon off and returned to work the following morning. She would testify against Bundy at trial as he stared her down. She wouldn’t be broken or silenced, though.
Though not with the man she married in 1978, she’s married again and very happy. She often grabs books on Ted Bundy off of shelves, flips pages until she finds her name, and tells her husband, “now you find a book with your name in it.” It’s said by those who know her that not much about her changed after that dark night in January of 1978. She did have to get over a reasonable fear of strange men for but, immediately started working as a cashier at a lumberyard to get over that fear. Since that night she’s mostly put it all behind her, but still finds interest in true crime. She also fought and survived stage two breast cancer, as if she wasn’t enough of a survivor.
As for Karen Chandler, she went on to thrive as well. After recovering from a fractured skull, jaw, and arm along with crushed fingers she retreated from the spotlight and lived her life privately. She’s been married for over forty years, has two grown children, and three grandchildren. She just enjoys her life as a wife, mother and grandmother and remembers the girls that lost their lives in the Chi Omega house that night. She tell her story when prompted, but for the most part, Ted Bundy is not discussed among her family.
His rampage wasn’t finished that night. After failing to kill Kathy and Karen he walked a few blocks and broke into the apartment of Cheryl Thomas. Bundy would leave Cheryl with a dislocated shoulder, her jaw broken in two places, and five skull fractures that left her permanently deaf in one ear. Once a promising young dancer with an abundance of talent, her dancing career was cut short. She was taken to the hospital in a coma after neighbors called police a reported beating and crying sounds coming from her apartment. When she woke up in the hospital she had no memory whatsoever of the attack.
Cheryl was yet another one of Ted’s survivors that would not let this insecure man with mommy issues define her life. She left the hospital weeks later with her head held high. She testified against Bundy at his trial and went on to graduate with her Master’s degree in dance anyway. She began working with the hearing impaired so they could learn dance through the difficulties that hearing impairment can have on balance. She’s now happily married with two grown children. Ted Bundy is not brought up around their house. Cheryl prefers to leave the past in the past and not think about the man that almost killed her. While she has given some interviews, she prefers to keep her life private for the most part.
Ted made one last kill before his final capture by Florida officials. Kimberly Leach was only 12-years-old when he took her from her school, Lake City Junior High. She was born October 28, 1965 and had no idea that something terrible had just transpired at Florida State University and the perpetrator was heading her way. After the attacks at Chi Omega and on Cheryl Thomas, Bundy stole a van and began traveling through northern Florida. It’s believed in his apparent blood lust that he just saw Kimberly’s long brown hair parted in the middle and thought little of her age, seeing as how mostly his victims had been college students or juniors or seniors in high school.
Ted was seen in Jacksonville the day before Kimberly’s disappearance. A 14-year-old girl named Leslie Ann Parmenter struck up a conversation with him outside of her school. She later identified him and the white Dodge van he had stolen to police. Luckily for Leslie Ann, her older brother drove up to get her from school and challenged Ted. Of course, he ran away from the teenage boy and Leslie was saved from the man that likely would’ve killed her.
The very next day Kimberly would go missing from Lake City Junior High School in the middle of the school day. Her friend, Lisa Little, went to meet her at a designated spot outside to walk to their next class together. Kim wasn’t there to meet her friend. Other classmates of her’s said that they just knew something was wrong. They said she wouldn’t have left school or skipped class. She was a good kid. Another friend of her’s also commented that she was a very shy girl.
Within a week after the death of Kimberly Leach Bundy was finally apprehended for the third and final time. He was caught driving near Pensacola, Florida in a stolen car. Running low on cash and fearing the authorities on his trail, he stole another car and attempted to leave Florida. Going where, we’ll never know because it was the simpler crime of car theft that got him caught again, not his murders. Ironically, he stole a Volkswagon Beetle to make his escape and was caught near the Alabama state line. He nearly got away from Ol’ Sparky, but not quite.
Officier David Lee pulled Bundy over on a routine traffic stop and ran a ”wants and warrents” check. He found the Bug that Bundy was driving had been reported stolen and went to arrest the car theif. Instead of going quietly Ted chose to trip up the officer and attempt to flee. David fired warning shots, not intending to kill, but maybe he should’ve. He ran in pursuit of Bundy and ended up in a struggle for the gun. Like something out of a movie, Officer David Lee was able to subdue Bundy and take him into custody. As he was being taken in he muttered, ”I wish you would’ve killed me.”
Ted Bundy’s Florida trial was big time news. His was one of the first trial ever televised for the country to watch. Once again, he represented himself. He was probably hoping for the same chance at escape he got in Colorado in 1977, but found that Florida wasn’t so eager to let him jump out a window. Even facing and questioning his own victims on the stand, he stayed cool and confident. I can’t imagine the hell these poor women went through having to not only relive their attacks, but to do it with their attacker. Having already studied law for a couple of years he knew how to give careful reponses and how to flip them around.
After his capture his longtime live-in girlfriend, Liz Kloepfer, broke off their relationship. He’d convinced her that the whole thing with Carol DeRonch was a misunderstanding. She’d stopped believing that after his first escape. She asked him once if he’d ever considered hurting her. He confessed that he’d thought about it. There was even one occasion where he called her and admitted outright to trying to kill her. He said he’d closed off the chimney and started a fire so the smoke would slowly kill her while she slept. She said she remembered jumping out of bed that night and having to stick her head out the window to catch her breath.
Fortunately for all young woman and girls out there Bundy was found guilty of the double murders at Chi Omega. Witness testimony and his own teeth did him in on that case. Two forensic odontologists were brought in to compare pictures of bite marks left on Lisa Levy’s body with an imprint model of Ted’s teeth. They were a perfect match. After less than seven hours of deliberation the jury came back with their guilty verdict. He was ultimately charged with two counts of murder, three counts of first degree murder, and two counts of burglary. He was sentenced to death by electric chair twice. Once for each of the Chi Omega girls to lose their lives to him.
His days in court wouldn’t end there. He still had to stand trial for Kimberly Leach’s death. While he was in jail awaiting trial for his rampage at Florida State Kimberly’s body was found. It was April 2, two months after she’d disappeared that she was found under a collapsed hog shed in Suwannee River State Park. She had been beaten and raped like his other victims.
An eyewitness at this trial testified to seeing Ted leading Kimberly away from her school on the day she vanished. He saw Ted leading her to the car and was able to identify it and Bundy for the court. Physical evidence in the form of clothing fibers from Ted jacket were also found to be on Leach’s body. He was found guilty once again and sentenced to death, once again. Too bad we couldn’t really kill him three times. If anyone ever deserved it, it’s this guy.
The prosiding Judge Cowart’s statement to Bundy was this, ”The court finds that both of these killings were indeed heinous, atrocious, and cruel And that they were extremely wicked, shockingly evil, vile, and the product of a design to inflict a high degree of pain and utter indifference to human life. Take care of yourself, young man. I say that to you sincerely, take care of yourself. It’s a tragedy for this court to see such a total waste, I think, of humanity that I’ve ever seen in this courtroom. You’re a bright young man. You’d have made a good lawyer and I would’ve loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way partner. I don’t feel any anomosity towards you. I want you to know that. Take care of yourself.”
While on death row Bundy did what he liked best, talk. He gave interviews, he visited with his new wife. He managed to get her pregnant, though congical visits weren’t allowed. Yeah, you heard that right. Bundy not only got married but did it at his trial for Kimberly Leach. He’d started seeing Carol Ann Boone and when she asked her to take the stand on his byhalf he proposed to her then and there. He then declared the marriage official and vaild, strangely, perfectly legal in Florida.
He was taken to Ol’ Sparky and electrocuted on January 24, 1989. It was a Friday and the hundreds of people that flooded the prison’s parking lot to tailgate his execution had signs that read ”Fry-day.” There was no love lost anywhere in the country for the monster that terrorized five states. The day before his execution he confessed to everything after remaining staunch about being innocent of all charges. For many families across the country this was the closure they had waited a very long time for. Ted would also call his mother twice that night to say goodbye.
After he confessed to more murders while in prison his wife, Carol stopped visiting him. It wasn’t long after that she would take their daughter, Rose to Washington and file for divorce. He had no contact with his ex-wife or his daughter before his death.
Ted was offered a meal of his choice as his final meal, but declined. He instead got the standard steak, eggs, hash browns, and toast a little before 5am. He didn’t touch a bite of it and was lead in to his execution at 7am. It’s definitely worth noting that he looked rather startled when being strapped into the electric chair.
Though the hour was early the party still raged outside the prison walls as Ted Bundy was put to death. He was pronounced dead at 7:16am. With that, it was over. His reign of terror. His hold over five seperate states. What would a Florida State student say to you on January 24, 1989? ”Thank God it’s Fry-day!”