Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Serial Killer Bedtime Stories: Ted Bundy

Tonight's bedtime story is about the Picasso of the serial killer community, Ted Bundy.

The Picasso of the serial killing community. Ted was handsome, charming, intelligent, self-assured, with a brilliant future, and deadlier than a rattlesnake. Using his good looks, he was able to invisibly abduct and kill his victims and continue with his seemingly charmed life. From early 1974 to early 1978, the stranger called "Ted" stalked young women on college campuses, at shopping malls, in apartment buildings and grade schools in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Colorado and finally Florida.

This law student and Young Republican liked to wear an arm sling to appear vulnerable and get women to help him with his groceries. Once he lured his victims to the door of his car he would bludgeon them and take them away to privately enjoy their death. He favored killing pretty, dark-haired cheerleader types. He would attack his prey with blunt objects and was fond of raping and biting them. The bite marks on one of his victims were used as evidence against him at his trial in Florida.

As a teen, Bundy was shy and sensitive. At a Seattle crisis center, he counseled the depressed, the alcoholic, and the suicidal. He graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Washington in 1972, designed a program for dealing with habitual criminals and wrote a pamphlet on rape for the King County crime commission.

Although no one knows for sure how many women Bundy killed, his first victim is believed to be Mary Adams, 18, whose battered body was found in her Seattle bedroom on January 4, 1974. In the next year and a half, police investigated several disappearances and killings of women in the West, some of them since linked to Bundy.

He was arrested in August 1975 and convicted in March 1976 of kidnapping Carol DaRonch in Utah. That fall, he was charged with killing a Michigan nurse in Aspen, Colorado. On December 30, 1977, after a previous failed attempt, Ted escaped from the Denver court house through a window while awaiting trial. He relocated to Tallahassee, Florida, near Florida State University where he perpetrated his blood-soaked "Guernica" of crime. In January 15, 1978, he set forth on a night of butchery and killed two girls, Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy, and wounded two others, Karen Chandler and Kathy Kleiner, in and around the Chi Omega sorority house in Tallahassee.

Two weeks later, on February 9, he stole a van and killed 12-year-old Kimberly Leach who she abducted outside her school in Lake City, Florida, for which, eventually, he was fried. Poor Kimberly's body was found in a pig trough next to a plaid jacket that was not Ted's. She was buried in a cemetery near a Purina plant under a heart-shaped tombstone with her picture on it. Two weeks later, on February 15, Ted was arrested after he was spotted by David Lee, a Pensacola policeman, in the stolen VW van.

Ted defended himself in trials in Utah, Colorado and Florida as the police tried to put together a trail of dead girls leading to him. During his various trials, a very self-possessed Ted Bundy defended himself garnishing praise and a legion of female admirers. After 11 years of trials and appeals, then-Florida Gov. Bob Martinez signed the final death warrant against Bundy on Jan. 17, 1989. Ted Bundy was electrocuted on January 24, 1989 at Florida State Prison.

On the night before his execution, Bundy talked of suicide, recalled Bill Hagmaier, chief of the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes. "We had some discussions about morality and the taking of another life and his concerns about trying to explain to God about his actions," Hagmaier added. For his last meal he had steak, eggs, hash browns and coffee.

On September 20. 1999, Ted Bundy's mom held a news conference to say her son didn't commit his first murder at age 14; but the mother 8-year-old Ann Marie Burr of Tacoma believes he did. "I resent the fact that everybody in Tacoma thinks just because he lived in Tacoma he did that one too, way back when he was 14," said his mother Louise Bundy. However, Burrs and several investigators believe young Bundy stole Ann Burr from her bed on Aug. 31, 1961, and killed her.

Bundy denied involvement in Ann's death up until his execution in Florida in 1989. In 1986, he wrote to the Burrs, saying, "I do not know what happened to your daughter Ann Marie. I had nothing to do with her disappearance. "You said she disappeared Aug. 31, 1961. At the time I was a normal 14-year-old boy. I did not wander the streets late at night. I did not steal cars. I had absolutely no desire to harm anyone. I was just an average kid."

Sweet dreams, and may you forever remain Crazy 4 Crazies.

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