In the United States there are roughly 2,625 serial killers known to history (Stebbins & Frohlich, 2015). Theodore Robert Bundy was one of them. Theodore Robert Bundy, better known as Ted Bundy, is one of America’s most dangerous serial killers. In this paper we will discuss Ted’s early life, the crimes he committed, and his trial process.
Many serial killer’s issues start as a young child; this may have been the case for Ted. On November 24, 1946 he was born in Burlington Vermont. Ted was born at a home for unwed mothers and he would stay at the home until two months after his birth. Ted’s grandmother was a victim of depression and agoraphobia, a fear of big crowds. Ted’s grandfather was known to have a terrible temper; it is even thought that his grandfather would oftentimes abuse Ted. Ted’s father remained a mystery. When Ted was 3 years old he and his mother moved away from his grandparents in Philadelphia and to Tacoma, Washington. Ted’s mother, Louise, changed his last name to Nelson before the move due to him being illegitimate. The move upset Ted because he did not like the area. During their time in Seattle his mother met Johnnie Bundy and he then became Ted’s stepfather. Ted angered and jealous of the relationship he threw a fit at Sears, peeing himself. Johnnie still decided to adopt Ted even after this incident. Growing up, Ted wanted expensive things but his family could not provide them, which made the relationship between Johnnie and Ted very tense. Adding to the tension, Ted would sometimes feel unloved by his mother because he did not get much attention since she had four other children. When Ted was in school he did not fit in with his classmates very well because he had a speech impediment and could not keep up with some of the boys in Boy Scouts. However, Ted did have a few good friends. Ted tried out for basketball and baseball but did not make the cut. During his high school years Ted only went on one date with a girl. Ted said, 'It wasn’t that I disliked women or were afraid of them, it was just that I didn’t seem to have an inkling as to what to do about them.' Academics was more of Ted’s thing. Although he never was ranked at the top of his class, he still did well in school. Ted would go to church with his family and became Methodist Youth Fellowship's vice president. Although Ted is known today as a serial killer, when he was young he saved a friend’s niece from drowning. However, even at that time Ted was obsessed about reading stories about rape and murder. During school hours he would often sneak into a closet to masturbate; the kids would sometimes catch him doing this and would throw water on him (Kettler, 2019).
Ted did not start committing his crimes as an adult, he started when he was young. At first the crime consisted of stealing. Skiing was something Ted enjoyed but he was unable to afford equipment and lift tickets, so he would steal equipment and forge the lift tickets. Also, as a teen he committed car theft, but he was let off with a warning. Eventually Ted started spying on strangers. In 1974 Ted found his first known victim, although he could have been tied to other crimes. It is suspected that he is responsible for the murder of a young girl named Ann Marie Burr who lived not too far from Ted. Ann went missing from her house on the night of August 31, 1961. When Ted was in prison Ann’s mother wrote to Ted hoping to receive closure but he denied doing so (Kettler, 2019). Ted went after young college women in the states of Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Florida. Ted lured girls to his car with tricks, often times he would pose as someone from a trusted profession, such as a police officer. Also, he would fake a disability so the girls would help him carry his books to the car. Once the girls got to his car he would hit them over the head with a crowbar or pipe. Then he would handcuff them and forcibly put them in his vehicle. In his car, it was very easy to hide the victims because he had taken his passenger seat out and stored it in his trunk so the women would lie on the ground where the seat would have been. Ted would drive somewhere and rape the women then kill them after, often decapitating their bodies. After they were dead he would do disturbing and inhuman things to their bodies. Ted was arrested on August 16, 1975 because he fled a patrol car. When police searched his car they found masks, handcuffs, and rope but there was nothing linking him to crime, so he was released. A few months went by and he was arrested for kidnapping and assaulting one of his victims. After a year of being in custody, on June 7 while he was allowed to research his case in the library, Ted escaped through a library window. After about a week of Ted being free he was caught and put in higher security cell. That did not stop Ted from escaping again, he cut a hole in the ceiling on December 30, 1977. At this point Ted fled to Florida and started killing again (Ted Bundy: Serial Killers: Crime Library. n.d.)
Ted went to trial in three states during his trial process. Ted first underwent trial on February 23, 1976, in Utah for the abduction of Carol Daronch. In this trial, the jury found Ted guilty and sentenced him to a 15 year sentence. Investigators in Colorado found evidence that could tie him to the killing of Caryn Campbell. On October 22, 1976, Colorado filed charges against Ted. In April 1977, Ted was then handed over to Colorado. During his time in Colorado he escaped, fleeing to Florida. On June 25, 1979 Ted had his second trial in Miami, Florida. This trial was for the killing of five sorority girls at Florida University. On July 30, 1979, the jury reached a verdict of guilty and sentenced him to the electric chair. No matter how many trials he had, Ted still claimed innocence. On January 7, 1980 Ted had his third trial for the killing of Kimberly Leach. By the time this trial came around, Ted had lost a lot of lawyers because his case was becoming harder and harder to solve. Once again, Ted was found guilty to the crime (“Ted Bundy,” 2017). On the day of his death sentence many people lined up outside chanting, “Burn, Bundy, Burn.” Ted refused to pick his last meal so steak, eggs, hash browns, and toast was prepared for him but he did not touch the food because of all the nerves he was feeling at the time. There were 42 witnesses that came to watch Ted get his death sentence. Before Ted’s death, he confessed to 30 murders but it is suspected he’s responsible for more. Ted died hungry on January 24, 1989 at 7:16 am with the last words of “I’d like to give my love to my family and friends” (Margaritoff, 2019).
In this paper we discussed Ted’s early life, the crimes he committed, and his trial process. Ted Bundy was and still is one of America’s most dangerous serial killers.