The 20th century was marked by lots of crimes, murderers, and serial killers who were keeping millions of people in fear. One of such murderers was Theodore Bundy who is still considered one of top ten serial killers of our time. A great number of books and films have been created about this person. He was a well-educated, likeable man who always attracted women’s attention and at the same time was a real monster inside. Ted Bundy is known for more than 30 crimes, but still no one knows the exact number.
November 24, 1946 is the date of Theodore Robert Bundy’s birth. He was born in Burlington. Bundy never knew his dad, but he was always dedicated to his mother. Bundy’s life changed when he moved to the North-west where his mother married and his four siblings were born. Ted’s mother Eleanor and her new husband raised their five children within their lower-middle-class means. Four of their children went either to college or to vocational school, and only Ted committed a felony offence.
At grade school, Ted Bundy was an average boy who played football; he ran track at junior high and cross-track at high school. He was always involved in a number of sports throughout his school years. Once he said that he refused to shower in the presence of other boys. He never had many friends and liked to spend his time alone. Once he said that he did not understand relationships between people and never knew how to make friends. However, those who knew Ted at high school described him as a good-looking, smart, very shy, and sensitive boy. His dark brown hair, blue eyes, and poised attractive physical frame earned him a great deal of attention from either gender. No one could imagine that such a shy boy might become a serial killer. However, he later related to a reporter and biographer Stephen Michaud that he had begun to feel like an alien among humans, faking emotions and fearing missteps in his interactions with others.
Ted’s biographers describe his behavior in Tacoma in different ways. Some of them say that he wandered around the streets digging in trash bins in order to find pictures of naked women. Others say that he always liked to read detective stories and journals and watch documentaries about the crimes that were full of violent scenes, especially videos of dead and mutilated bodies. Some biographers also mention that he drank a lot and wandered around the streets in order to find windows without curtains hoping to see a naked woman.
In 1964, Bundy finished high school and bought his first Volkswagen, the car where many girls were dragged. Later, Ted entered the University of Washington and was involved in a series of academic misadventures during the next 6 years before finally graduating in 1974. While attending the University of Washington, Bundy failed to impress his first girlfriend Stephanie Brooks, a coed at the University of Washington who was Bundy’s first infatuation. The attraction was mutual. Unfortunately, Bundy had a meager set of interpersonal and intimate-relationship skills. His nonsexual relationship with Stephanie faltered when she grew weary of his immature and socially inappropriate behavior, and she dropped him. Afterwards, Bundy reportedly became depressed, left school, and borrowed money from his parents. Then he flew to California, Colorado, and Pennsylvania and went back to Washington.
After his return to Seattle, Bundy got involved with a new friend whom he indicated as the first person who introduced him to the fine arts of theft, burglary, shoplifting, and alcohol. Bundy was a quick study and showed signs of criminal sophistication by preparing for his burglary forays by dressing in a suit and a tie to become invisible to people who would otherwise be suspicious of neighborhood interlopers. However, Bundy did not steal simply to make a living. It entertained him, and it satisfied some of his other needs. More often than not, Bundy stole what he wanted to own. He furnished his apartment with stolen wall hangings, paintings, stereos, cookware, clothing, silverware, and, once, a 10-foot high potted Benjamin (weeping fig) tree. Besides, he could steal not only money, but he was good at abducting young girls. He did it without any noise and very quickly.
Bundy wanted to belong to something larger and more successful than the life he knew. He may have felt frustrated at his inability to succeed and used those frustrations to foment murderous plotting. Ever impulsive, Bundy sold his old Volkswagen, moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he entered the Temple University. While at Temple, Bundy took a number of theater-arts classes, where he learned some devices used in acting, such as disguises, make-up, and playing role. It is thought that those skills helped him to attract attention of his victims.
Ted enriched his career by returning to the University of Washington only then to strive for a degree in Psychology. Later, he began to skip classes, and soon stopped attending them entirely. At that time young women began to disappear in the region where he lived and studied.
No one knows exactly when and where Ted Bundy started to kill women as he always told different stories. He did not want to tell anything about his early crimes, although before his death he told some details of the recent ones. It is known that by the end of 1974, he had made himself the ideal killing machine.
According to one of his versions, he committed the first crime in 1969, when he tried to abduct a girl. According to another one, he murdered two women in 1972 and 1973. Some researches suppose that he started killing women being a teenager. However, it is widely believed that he committed his first crime at the age of 27 in 1974 (Sullivan, 2009).
On January 4, 1974, Terri Caldwell (a pseudonym), a student of the University of Washington, was raped and savagely beaten about the head, and appeared near death, but she survived. Less than a month later, on February 1, 1974, another student of the University, twenty-one-year-old Lynda Ann Healy, was taken from her bed by Ted Bundy at night, raped, and murdered (Dielenberg, 2014).
Those were the first victims of Ted Bundy in Washington, Oregon. Young girls were disappearing every month. Seven other women and girls were murdered there. Most of their skeletal remains were found at Taylor Mountain site or Issaquah site.
According to witnesses, some of the murdered girls were seen with a dark-haired man with a plastered leg or hand. That was Bundy’s main trick to attract women’s attention. He usually asked them to help him with a heavy bag or valise and inveigled them into his car.
All those crimes were reported in newspapers and on TV in Washington and Oregon. People were afraid even of walking alone in the evening. Police did not have enough pieces of evidence, which made investigations complicated. Soon, leaflets with descriptions of Bundy and his car were spread all over Seattle. His identikit was shown on TV and printed in newspapers. Ann Rule, the professor at Washington University identified Bundy, but police did not pay any attention to a student without previous convictions.
Ted knew that police was searching for him, but between October and November, 1974, he assaulted and murdered five girls under the age 16-18 in Utah, Idaho, and Colorado. Between January and June, 1975, five young girls were abducted by Bundy. Only one of five bodies was found in Colorado (Dielenberg, 2014). The most ironic of all those crimes was the disappearance of a 17-year-old daughter of the police chief. Her naked body was found nine days later. An autopsy showed that she may have been alive for seven days after the abduction. Besides, Bundy also described some rituals that he carried out with girls, such as washing their hair with shampoo and applying make-up.
In 1975, Bundy was arrested for the first time because he refused to stop on the order of an officer. Later, some witnesses identified him as a stranger who was often walking around their school. However, there were not enough pieces of evidence to accuse him of those murders. In 1976, he was brought to justice for the abduction of Carol DaRonch and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment (Sullivan, 2009).
Bundy could not believe he was caught, and on June 7, 1977, he escaped after the preliminary court hearing. He decided to defend himself in the trial and was not worn handcuffs. During a break he went to the library and escaped through the window. Although, he was caught later, on December 23, 1977, he escaped again from his ward (Michaud & Aynesworth, 2000).
Once handsome, calculating gentleman was then a fugitive from justice; a man who called himself Chris Hagen, a man who constantly changed his appearance. It was the same Ted Bundy, when on January 15, 1978, bludgeoned several Chi-Omega sorority women in their sleep. A few weeks later on February 8, 1978, Ted Bundy, who called himself Kenneth Misner, abducted and murdered a little twelve year old girl Kimberley Leach (Michaud & Aynesworth, 2000).
While Bundy no doubt thought of himself as a superstar, he was arrested on February 12, 1978, as he was driving in a drunken state. He was subsequently charged with the Chi-Omega murders and assaults, but the judge granted a change of venue to Miami. Again acting as his own attorney, Ted claimed to dislike the presence of the media in the courtroom. However, he constantly grandstanded for the camera while he flirted with the so-called gallery of groupies who strikingly resembled those same young Chi-Omega co-eds whom he so mercilessly killed. Once again, there was the great Ted Bundy, in all his glory, who to some people never seemed to grow older, claiming his innocence as always. Unfortunately for Ted, he committed an error in judgment as he directed the trooper on the witness stand to explicitly explain, with graphic detail, what he saw as he pulled back the sheet covering the body of a Chi-Omega co-ed.
On July 24, 1979, Ted was found guilty and given “two death sentences, and three ninety-year sentences, which would run consecutively.” At the trial for little Kimberley Leach, once again Ted would rise to the occasion of innocence and self-representation. While he cross-examined his long-time friend Carol Boone, he asked her to marry him, and she accepted his offer. Under Florida law Ted and Carol Boone were then husband and wife (Michaud & Aynesworth, 2000). Their daughter was born in 1982. The jury returned the third guilty verdict for Ted Bundy, who erupted with anger as he heard it.
Ted continued to claim his innocence by seeking several appeals only to be repeatedly rejected. He continued to bargain for more time by giving several interviews to journalists and detectives (only while speaking in the third person). He told them about the situations and circumstances in which the victims were abducted and murdered, as well as where bodies were deposited. He promised to tell more if he was given extra time.
On the eve of the execution, Bundy thought about suicide. He did not want to give the government a chance to admire his death. Nevertheless, on the morning of January 24, 1989, Ted Bundy was strapped to an electric chair and executed.
Ted Bundy was different from other serial killers as he is perhaps the best example of personality disorder in the extreme. A handsome and charming man, Bundy was convicted and sentenced to death for the brutal murder of more than 20 women. While he was in prison waiting for execution, Bundy was the subject of study as an example of a psychopath (Dekle, 2011). Bundy was also different from such killers as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein. Unlike Bundy, Dahmer was brought to justice because of murdering men and boys, but not women. He was also accused of cannibalism. Ed Gein differed from both Bundy and Dahmer as the main aim of his crimes was not to get sexual satisfaction, but to collect women’s body parts as trophies (Derry, 2009). Although, what makes them alike is that all these killers were greatly influenced by some events of their childhood.
In conclusion, Ted Bundy is supposed one of the cleverest and extremely organized criminals. He used his knowledge of the methods by which the investigation is conducted to stay out of sight of the authorities. Bundy had a remarkable ability to leave a minimum of physical evidence and no fingerprints. These are the main features that make him one of the top ten serial killers. Unfortunately, the man who could have been a brilliant lawyer will be forever remembered as one of the cruelest serial killers in America.