“Ask a psychopath what love is and he’ll go on and on, but he has never felt it himself…If you catch him lying, he’ll just shift gears and go on as though nothing had happened” (Goleman). Ted Bundy was one of the most famous psychopaths in the history of the country (Nordheimer). People say he was the perfect killer- handsome, intelligent, witty, and charming (Boynton 25). Bundy was the complete opposite of what people thought a serial killer looked like, so his victims did not fear him (“Ted Bundy”).
Robert Keppel, an expert on serial killers, stated, “He taught us that a serial killer can appear to be absolutely normal, the guy next door (“Serial Killers and Mass Murderers”). At one point he was working for a suicide hotline; a friend once said, “Ted Bundy took lives, he also saved lives” (Thompson). Bundy not only thrived on the attention he received from the police and the media (Editors), but loved the thrill of stalking his victims (U*X*L). Not one person Ted Bundy knew would have guessed he was able to do such horrid things.
Theodore Robert Cowell was born in the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont on November 24, 1946. His mother, Louise Cowell, was pregnant with Theodore when she was only twenty-one years old. Louise grew up in a very strict Methodist backround. Because she was not married, having Theodore was an embarrassment to her parents, Sam and Eleanor Cowell. Sam Cowell was known for being ill-tempered and racist. He verbally and physically abused his wife. Because of this, Eleanor suffered from frequent bouts of depression and was always living in fear.
Louise had greatly struggled to even tell her parents about her pregnancy on account of what they might do. After birth, Louise traveled back home to Philadelphia so her parents could decide whether they wanted to keep Theodore or put him up for adoption. When the Cowell family was debating, they left Theodore with strangers in Vermont. Two months later, Louise returned to Vermont and brought the baby back to Philadelphia. As soon as the two arrived back home, the Cowell’s told the town that they had adopted Theodore and that Louise was his older sister to save themselves from the gossip of their neighbors.
Even when Ted was young, there were incidents that showed how he was different than other children. “When his Aunt Julie was fifteen years old, she awoke on more than on morning to find her nephew stealthily lifting her blanket and slipping butcher knives into the bed beside her. He just stood there and grinned. ” These occurrences were happening when Ted was just three years old (Serial Killers 10). In 1950, Louise and Theodore moved to Tacoma, Washington where they lived with welcoming relatives. To save herself from a bad reputation, Louise changed her last name to Nelson and told the town that she was a widow.
She soon found a job as a secretary and started to attend a local Methodist church (Serial Killers 10). Louise met John Culpepper Bundy, a hospital cook. The two married on May 19, 1951 and Ted changed his name for the third time at only five years old (11). Once four more children were added to the Bundy household, Theodore became even more isolated, keeping mostly to himself (“Ted Bundy Biography”). As Theodore grew older and started to attend school, his mother received concerned notes from his teachers telling her that she needed to control his violent temper. When provoked, Ted would get very angry and his teachers were worried.
All throughout high school, Ted knew he was different than all the others. He could not feel or understand natural human emotions like normal teenagers so in order for him to appear normal, he was forced to mimic them. Bundy was not able to be caring or compassionate and failed to develop a conscience. He felt that he was living in a world of objects- things to be used or discarded (Serial Killers 15). Ted’s high school years were when he began his life of crime. He started stealing expensive clothes and ski equipment and he was sneaking out and peeking through women’s windows to watch them undress.
He disabled a woman’s car to make her less mobile and more vulnerable, which satisfied his sexual fantasies. The people who knew Ted would never guess for a second that he was living the life of this sex-obsessed criminal. He received good grades, he regularly attended church, and he was active in Boy Scouts (11). Ted Bundy appeared as an average teenager. He graduated from high school in 1965 and won a scholarship to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, but later transferred to the University of Washington, where he met the girl of his dreams.
Stephanie Brooks had everything, but he loved her for all the wrong reasons: her looks, her money, and her status. Ted tried to do everything he could to make sure she was pleased with him. He followed her to Stanford University in 1967, but she broke up with him soon after. He left Stanford and returned to the University of Washington with a broken heart. His grades suffered tremendously so he had no choice but to drop out (Serial Killers 15). Throughout the year 1968, Ted became obsessed with winning Stephanie back.
He changed his whole outer appearance and was more determined than ever to impress her. Transforming himself into a totally different man, he was becoming someone who Brooks would want. Bundy chose politics as his chosen road towards status; he was active in the Washington State Republican party (Serial Killers 15). Toward the end of 1968, he was unemployed after the Republican candidate he was working for lost an election. The following year Ted attended Temple University for a few months (16). Theodore was becoming the ideal citizen (Serial Killers 15).
He wrote a rape prevention pamphlet for women (Boynton 25), won a commendation from the Seattle Police Department for running down a purse snatcher, saved a drowning toddler from a lake (Serial Killers 15), and was an assistant director of the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Committee (Boynton 25). Ted reenrolled in the University of Washington in 1971 (Serial Killers 15). To earn a little pocket change, Bundy volunteered at Seattle’s Crisis Clinic where he met Ann Rule. Sharing secrets and sorrows, Bundy and Rule became very close- Ann almost acted as Bundy’s replacement mother.
Rule says, “Bundy was considered one of the most skilled counselors, adroit at persuading desperate voices that the night would pass and dawn would come” (Thompson). Ted finally graduated from the University of Washington in 1972 (Serial Killers 16) with a degree in psychology (Boynton 25). After graduation, he applied to law schools, but was rejected on account of his low entrance test scores. A year later, in 1973, he applied to the law school of the University of Utah and was accepted, but did not enroll until the fall of 1974.
During the summer of 1973, Bundy felt confident enough to reunite with Stephanie Brooks again, now being twenty six years old. While on a business trip to California, he took Brooks out to an expensive dinner and won her over. She loved the man Bundy had become and the two got engaged soon after (Serial Killers 16). Brooks thought they were going to get married, but Bundy abruptly cut off all ways of contact with her. This was his revenge for what she did to him years ago (“Ted Bundy Biography”), and Bundy later said, “I just wanted to prove to myself that I could have married her” (Serial Killers 16).
However, this revenge brought Bundy little comfort and began a series of attacks on innocent women (“Ted Bundy Biography”). All his victims were slender, white, and wore their hair parted down the middle and all disappeared in the late afternoon or evening (Boynton 25). Bundy’s prey oddly resembled Stephanie Brooks. Bundy’s first of many attacks was on January 4, 1974 in Seattle near the University of Washington campus. Joni Lentz, eighteen years old, was viciously attacked while sleeping in the house she shared with her roommates (Boynton 25). That morning Lentz did not show up for breakfast like she normally did.
Her roommates did not think anything out of the ordinary; they assumed she slept in late. But by noon, they were starting to worry. Knocking on the door, the roommates heard no response, so they pushed the door upon. To their disbelief, Joni was laying on her bed with her hair and face covered with dried blood. They noticed a metal rod was missing from her bed, and when they lifted the covers, the soon found out what had happened with the rod. The object was harshly shoved in her vagina. Lentz spent several months after the attack in a coma and fortunately, Joni survived and did not recall the incident at all (Serial Killers 16).
Twenty-seven days later on a Thursday night, twenty-one year old Lynda Ann Healy was abducted from her bedroom in the Seattle’s University District. Healy was a law student at the University of Washington and part-time weather reporter (Boynton 25). Her work as a weather reporter required her to wake up at 5:30 a. m. each morning and each night she went to bed early. Oddly, she did not show up to work and did not attend her classes later that day. Friday night Healy’s parents called the police hoping they were worrying for no reason- that their daughter was safe.
Detectives Wayne Dorman and Ted Fonis arrived on the scene and discovered Lynda no where to be found. Dried blood covered the pillow and soaked through the sheets, onto the mattress. The pillowcase was missing and never has been recovered. As the detectives were searching through her room for clues, they opened the closet and found Healy’s nightgown stuffed in the back with a neckline covered in dried blood (Serial Killers 16). Six weeks after Healy disappeared, Donna Manson, a nineteen year old student at Evergreen State College, left her dormitory to attend a jazz concert. Manson never arrived.
Susan Rancourt, a freshman at Central Washington State College disappeared a month after Manson. Rancourt was on her way to a campus movie and was never seen alive again (Serial Killers 17). After students became aware of what happened to Rancourt, they came forward and told of incidents similar to Rancourt’s. They told of encounters with a tall, handsome man with an arm in a sling. The mysterious man asked for their help to bring his books or packages to his car. Kathy Parks disappeared from Oregon State University and Brenda Ball was last seen in the parking lot of a tavern in Burier, Washington.
She was seen talking to a handsome, brown-haired man who had one arm in a sling. Georgeann Hawkins disappeared from her sorority house just north of the University of Washington (Boynton 28). She was last seen leaving the Beta fraternity house. Witnesses reported seeing a tall, good looking man on crutches near where Hawkins was last seen (29). Ball, Parks, and Hawkins disappeared in a matter of two months. Police had no leads on who this psychopath could be- Bundy covered his tracks perfectly. Janice Ott and Denise Naslund were kidnapped on July 14, 1974 at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, Washington (Boynton 25).
Janice Ott, twenty three, was a probation-office worker. On July 14th, Ott was laying on her blanket at around noon trying to catch a tan. Witnesses say they saw her and a man named Ted, who had his arm in sling, chat for a little bit. After chatting, Ott left with the mysterious man- this was the last time anyone has seen her alive. Denise Naslund was a tad younger at only eighteen years old. She worked as a secretary while studying to become a computer programmer. At 4:30 in the afternoon on the 14th, Naslund had just woken up from a nap. She went to the bathroom and never returned (Serial Killers 19).
The abductions from Lake Sammamish were under the control of the King County Major Crimes Unit, where Detective Robert Keppe worked. He was the first to connect the two abductions of Ott and Naslund to the attacks on Lentz and Healy. During this time, Bundy was working at the Washington State Department of Emergency Services in Olympia. His fellow coworkers told him he creepily resembled the “Ted” in the police sketches and Bundy just smiled and shrugged it off. His own girlfriend, Beth Archer, and four other people called the police and suggested him as a suspect. Beth debated on calling in for days.
No matter how much she wanted to deny her love being a killer, there were coincidences that could not be ignored. Bundy was always interested in the newspaper’s descriptions of the suspect and the car the police described was oddly similar to Ted’s. Her lover was safe for now though on account of there being no concrete evidence of murder; the victim’s bodies had not been found (Serial Killers 20). The policemen’s prayers had been answered on September 7, 1974. Elzie Hammons, a hunter, set up four miles from Lake Sammamish. While walking on a rugged, dirt path, he saw a skeleton. Nearby he discovered a human skull.
The search was led by Detective Bob Keppel of the King County police. By the end of the search, the men found a total of one skull, a lower jaw, a rib cage, a spinal column, five thigh bones, assorted smaller bones, and eight locks of hair. The remains were positively identified as Janice Ott and Denise Naslund. The third victim is said to be Georgann Hawkins, but that is not for certain (Serial Killers 20). After discovering these findings, the killings seemed to have stopped. However, this was not the case. Bundy began attending the University of Utah in 1974 and with him also came his destruction.
Soon enough, the disappearances started to happen again. On October 2, 1974, Nancy Wilcox vanished from her neighborhood south of Salt Lake City. The sixteen year old was last seen in a light color Volkswagon bug (Serial Killers 21). Just sixteen days later, Melissa Smith, a seventeen year old, disappeared from a local pizza parlor. Seventeen year old Laura Aime vanished after a Halloween party thirteen days after Smith was kidnapped. About a month after Melissa was taken police found her body in a canyon in the Wasatch Range, east of Salt Lake City.
A month after this finding, police located Aime’s body by a trail in the same mountains as Smith. Both of the victims’ skulls were crushed by being hit viciously in the head. Strangled and raped, Smith and Aime’s bodies were found nude and beaten (Serial Killers 21). On November 8, 1974 Bundy attempted to kidnap Carol DaRonch. While shopping at the mall, DaRonch was approached by a policeman asking her to go to the parking lot with him (Nordheimer). The officer called himself Officer Roseland and told Carol that someone had broken into her car (Serial Killers 9).
Once they walked out to the parking lot, Officer Roseland showed DaRonch his identification and asked her to go to the police station with him. She got in his Volkswagon and as soon as they sped off, the “officer” put handcuffs on her wrists. Carol kicked him in the crotch and managed to open the car door. As soon as she jumped out, she stopped an oncoming car for help (Nordheimer). Thankfully, nothing serious had happened to her- she was extremely lucky to be alive. That same night, Bundy drove to Viewmont high school in Bountiful, Utah looking for a new victim to satisfy his appetite since he let his first escape.
On that evening, Viewmont was having a school play. The teacher that was in charge was asked by Bundy to go out to the parking lot and help him identify a car. Thankfully, the teacher declined the handsome man’s offer. However, seventeen year old Debra Kent was not so fortunate. Debra left the play early to pick up her younger brother (Serial Killers 21). Soon after she left, resident from an apartment complex across the street heard two ear piercing screams. Kent’s body would never be found (22). After the attempted kidnapping of DaRonch and the successful abduction of Kent, Bundy stopped killing for about four months.
He then resumed in Colorado where he murdered four more women (26). March 1, 1975 was a comforting day for the families of Brenda Ball, Susan Rancourt, Kathy Parks, and Lynda Healy. Ten miles east of Issaquah, a couple of students that were hiking found a skull near Taylor Mountain. Detective Keppel led a search team of two hundred officers and volunteers. The men and women recovered all of these remains in a matter of eight days (Serial Killers 20). Throughout the year of 1975 Ted Bundy had two dozen police agencies from the states of Washington, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado on alert.
These agencies had no idea that they were all after the same man (22). At two a. m. on August 16, 1975, Sergeant Robert Hayward was on his way home from his shift. When he reached his neighborhood he cruised past a suspicious gray Volkswagon. Hayward put on his brights so he could take a look at the license plate. As soon as he turned his brights on, the driver of the Volkswagon turned off his lights and sped away feverishly. After a pursuit, the Volkswagon pulled in to a beaten down gas station. The driver’s license read Theodore Robert Bundy. Ted said he was lost and that he had just seen a movie at the local theatre.
Just to be cautious, Hayward called for some back up. When detective Daryle Ondrak arrived he asked Bundy if he could look in his car. Oddly, Ted had removed the passenger seat and sitting next to where the seat should be, was a crowbar. The detectives found this strange so they investigated the trunk. There they found an ice pick, ski mask, a mask made out of panty house, pieces of rope, and a pair of handcuffs. Ondrak arrested Bundy right away but he was soon freed (Serial Killers 22). Later on that week, Ondrak attended the usual meeting with the detectives in the area.
As the meeting was coming to a close, Ondrak mentioned Bundy and what had happened a few nights ago. Homicide Detective Jerry Thompson of the Salt lake County Sheriff’s Office pieced all the information together. Thompson had been investigating the murder of Melissa Smith for over a year. He remembered the attempted kidnapping of Carol DaRonch and how she was handcuffed in a Volkswagon. So many pieces were falling together in his mind and he knew that Bundy was the killer. Thompson worked tremendously hard to link Bundy to the DaRonch case (Serial Killers 22).
To make sure this happened, on October 2, 1975, Thompson assembled a police lineup. He brought in Carol DaRonch, the Viewmont drama teacher, and a Viewmont student who also talked to the mysterious stranger on the night of the play. All three women picked Bundy out of the lineup. Bundy was charged with the kidnapping and attempted murder of Carol DaRonch. His bail was set at one hundred thousand dollars and he was being held at the Salt Lake County Jail. After just seven weeks, Bundy’s bail was reduced to fifteen thousand dollars. Johnnie and Louise Bundy scrambled up enough money and on November 26th, Bundy returned to Seattle.
Bundy’s trial on the assault of Carol DaRonch was held on February 23, 1976 in the Salt Lake City Courthouse. The trial dragged on for several days, with DaRonch’s testimony being the crucial factor. Four days later Theodore was found guilty of aggravated kidnapping and was ordered to undergo psychiatric examination before his sentencing (Serial Killers 24). A few months later on June 30th, Ted Bundy was sentenced to one to fifteen years in the Utah State Prison. He boasted that he was a popular inmate and that the conviction, which he called just a minor setback, would be overturned in the near future (Serial Killers 24).
In January of 1977, Bundy was transferred to Colorado for the trial of the Caryn Cambell murder. For two months, he was held in the small Pitkin County Jail located in Aspen. There, Ted took pleasure in unlimited telephone privileges and made friends with ease. Throughout the trial, he did not get along with his team of lawyers so he fired them and coordinated his own defense. Bundy knew what he was doing- prisoners who are their own lawyer are permitted freedom of movement. He was allowed access to law books and such which are held in the library (25). Bundy took matters into his own hands; On June 7, 1977 Ted escaped.
Because Ted was in the courtroom, his handcuffs and leg irons were removed. The deputy in charge of him was guarding the courtroom door, so all Bundy had to do was slip out the back of the attached library. From that point, he jumped out the window, which was on second story, twenty five feet below. He left a four-inch imprint in the ground beneath him. A woman outside the courthouse saw Bundy jump, ran inside the courthouse, and asked an officer if people normally jumped out of windows here. The officer ran outside, but the fugitive was long gone. The police knew that Bundy was a psychopath and that they had to catch him soon (Boynton 27).
Police advised Aspen residents to lock their doors, put their cars in the garage, and hide their children. Bundy’s own mother, Louise Bundy, appeared on a news broadcast in Tacoma, Washington begging for Ted to turn himself in (Serial Killers 27). Ted never did turn himself in because he was captured eight days after he fled from jail (Boynton 27). When he returned to jail, he was forced to handcuffs and leg irons each time he left his cell (Serial Killers 27) and was moved to the Garfield County Jail because the police wanted him to be in a jail that had more security (25).
The murder trial moved from Aspen to Colorado Springs on December 23, 1977. In Colorado Springs the death penalty is handed out more freely than in Aspen. Prosecutors and police knew that the Caryn Cambell murder was weak. Bundy, however, thought that the verdict was not going to lean his way and did not want to end up prison for the rest of his life. His second escape occurred on December 30th. Bundy starved himself so he would be skinny enough to squeeze out through a hole in the ceiling of his cell. He crept through a crawl space and climbed down into the closet of his jailer’s apartment.
After waiting patiently, he walked on the front door of the jail and no suspected anything. No one realized he had escaped until fifteen hours later. Bundy traveled to Ann Harbor, Michigan, and then Chicago. His last stop was Florida (Boynton 27). After Bundy’s second escape, in January 1978, he rented an apartment close to Florida State University. Ted grew a beard and went by the name “Chris Hagen”, but for the most part he was the same Ted Bundy, just a little altered. While in Florida, he killed three women.
On January 14th, he attacked Margaret Bowman, Lisa Levy, Karen Chandler, and Kathy Kleiner who were members of the Chi Omega Sorority at Florida State University. Chandler and Kleiner were the lucky ones- they survived. Bowman and Levy were, however, strangled to death by Bundy (Boynton 26). These killings proved that Ted no longer showed the finesse like he used to in he past. He slaughtered as fast and as furious as possible (Serial Killers 34). The day after the Chi Omega killings, Bundy was visiting the Oaks, which is a lodge for snow boarders.
Boarders who were also staying there were discussing what had happened the day before and a man named Chris Hagen informed them that the murderer was smart for beating the victims with a log because that does not show DNA. He told his new buddies that he could easily get away with murder because he knew how to find the way around the law. Bundy no longer could appear normal- his impulses were taking over (35). Bundy’s final victim was twelve year old Kimberly Leach. Leach left her purse when she went from her homeroom to her gym class. As she was walking back to retrieve it, rain began to pour. She never had the chance to grab her purse.
Two months later the police found her body with her clothes folded in a neat stack right beside her (Serial Killers 35). The trial for the Chi Omega attacks was the most complicated and bizarre trial in legal history. At one point during the trial, Bundy was doing three roles at once: defendant, defense attorney, and witness for the defense (Serial Killers 37). During the proceedings Ted even had a fan group of girls who called themselves “Ted’s Groupies”. The Bundy lovers packed the courthouse to support their favorite serial killer. Throughout the trial, he would occasionally turn and flash them that million dollar smile (39).
Another reason why this trial was one of the strangest in history was because while Bundy’s girlfriend, Carole Ann Boone, was getting questioned by him Ted asked her to marry him (42). One day in court, he brought in an envelop that included his confessions to the Chi Omega and Kimberly Leach killings. There was an agreement that said he would have to face life in prison, but not the death penalty. Instead of just accepting the deal nonchalantly, Bundy made a big corruption in the courthouse. He attacked his own lawyer, Mike Minerva, by telling the judge that he was inept and defeatist.
While this was happening, the prosecutors silently told the defense table that the bargain deal was off. “The prosecutors didn’t want to take a chance that Bundy’s confessions would be invalidated on appeal over the issue of his appointed attorney’s competence” (Serial Killers 39). After only six hours of deliberation, Bundy was convicted on two counts of first degree murder of the Chi Omega Killings. He was sentenced to death by electrocution. He received an additional death sentence for Leach’s murder (42). In the beginning of his imprisonment, Carol Ann visited him often and actually became pregnant with his daughter.
Bundy’s daughter was born in October 1982 and met her father multiple times. Four years later, Carol and their daughter left the state to take care of a sick relative. Carol never returned to see Bundy again (Serial Killers 43). While in jail he switched to Hinduism. He started to become very afraid of dying and he was doing everything he could to prolong his life. Bundy told the details of his victim’s death. The victim’s families were given the choice to say a good word about Bundy in exchange for the truth on what happened to their daughters.
Not one single person agreed to say or do anything that would help Bundy live any longer (Serial Killers 44). One of his confessions he stated was that on the day he kidnapped Janice Ott and Denise Naslund from Lake Sammamish, he kept both women alive for a while, meaning one had to watch the one die (Serial Killers 43). He also confessed to eleven murders in Washington, eight in Utah, three in Colorado, three in Florida, two in Oregon, two in Idaho, and one in California. Off the record he indicated of two killings in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but this confession was not official (46).
Ted Bundy was executed on January 4, 1989 in the Florida State Prison (Editors 89) at 7:16 a. m. When Bundy died, Carol DaRonch was thirty three years old. After the execution DaRonch stated, “If they’d have asked me, I probably would have pulled that switch myself” (Serial Killers 46). The death of Ted Bundy was comforting news to the families of the victims. Ted Bundy was one of the most interesting serial killers the legal system has ever seen. He charmed and manipulated not only his victims, but also police offers, investigators, and anyone involved legally. Bundy enjoyed the thrill of taunting the police and baiting the media.
He was obsessed with the attention he received (Editors 91). Throughout his criminal life, the way he abducted and killed changed tremendously. In the beginning he was very organized and killed with finesse, but his last few murders were brutal and sloppy. In an interview with Bundy the day before he died, Ted stated that the reason he killed the way he did was because of the porn he watched when he was younger. Ted Bundy is a psychopath and destructed the lives of so many families. He once said, “What’s one less person on the face of the earth any way? ” (Serial Killers 43).
Ted Bundy was a malicious man who never felt sorry for what he did to those poor women. “The only death he ever wept for was his own” (10). Works Cited Boyton, Gary. “Ted Bundy: The Serial Killer Next Door. ” Crimes and Trials of the Century. Volume Two. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2007. Print. The Editors of Salem Press. “Ted Bundy. ” American Villains. Volume one. Pasadena: Salem Press, Inc. , 2008. Print. Goleman, Daniel. “Brain Defect Tied to Utter Amorality of the Psychopath. ” New York Times, 7 July 1987: C1. ProQuest. Web. 25 Aug. 2011. Nordheimer, Jon. “All-American Boy on Trial. ” New York Times. 10 Dec. 1978: SM24.
ProQuest. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. “Serial Killers and Mass Murderers (1980s). ” American Decades 2003: n. p. Student Resource Center Gold. Web. 31 Aug. 2011. Serial Killers. Richmond: Time-Life Books, 1992. Print. “Serial Killers. ” U*X*L Encyclopedia of U. S. History 2009: n. p. Student Resource Center Gold. Web. 31 Aug. 2011. “Ted Bundy. ” Crimemuseum. org. National Museum of Crime and Punishment, 2008. Web. 4 Sep. 2011. “Ted Bundy Biography. ” Thebiographychannel. co. uk. Bio. , n. d. Web. 5 Sep. 2011. Thompson, Thomas. “The Women Disappeared. ” DISCovering Authors 2003: n. p. Student Resource Center Gold. Web. 31 Aug. 2011.