As one of the most notorious serial killers and rapists in America’s history, Ted Bundy’s story has been the subject of many novels and films. He was born in Burlington, Vermont on November 24, 1946 and was raised as the adopted son of his grandparents, believing that his mother was his sister. He later described his grandfather as a violent man who was prone to rages. As a child Ted Bundy was smart but shy and began to show a keen interest in knives at an early age. His aunt remembers waking up to see that the smiling 3-year-old Ted had surrounded her with knives from their kitchen, while she slept.
During college Bundy started dating a girl with long dark hair, most commonly referred to by the pseudonym Stephanie Brooks, who broke up with him because of his immaturity and lack of ambition. Bundy dropped out of The University of Washington but later returned to study psychology, becoming an honour student who was well regarded by his professors. After this, Bundy was hired as an assistant to Ross Davis, Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party and began attending law school. He started to date Brooks again but broke it off abruptly after she accepted his marriage proposal.
Nobody can pinpoint when Ted Bundy became a murderer, but his earliest documented killings occurred in 1974, after he felt he had ‘mastered the necessary skills to leave minimal incriminating forensic evidence at the scene.’ Early that year, he entered the basement of a dancer and student at University of Washington and bludgeoned her in her sleep, sexually assaulting her after with the rod and causing internal injuries. The girl remained in a coma for 10 days but survived despite permanent disabilities. After this incident, campus students began going missing at an average of one per month. They were all young, attractive, white girls with long hair parted in the middle.
Bundy was arrested in 1976, found guilty of kidnapping and assault and sentenced to between 1 and 15 years in Utah State Prison. While serving his sentence he was extradited to Aspen where he had been charged with murder. He elected to become his own lawyer and escaped, while in the library conducting research, spending six days as a fugitive before being recaptured by the police.
Bundy began to devise a new escape plan, which he worked on for over a six-month period. He put it into effect during the Christmas holidays, going through a crawlspace above the ceiling in his cell and walking through the front door. He had over $500, he had accumulated in cash, with him. Bundy hiked to Denver, where he boarded a flight to Chicago, eventually travelling all the way to Florida. Here he survived by shoplifting and stealing credit cards. He also broke into Florida State University, and severely assaulted five students on and around the campus on January 15, 1978, killing two. In February 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach went missing from her school, and her partially mummified body was found seven weeks later.
While fleeing Florida, on February 12, Bundy was pulled over and arrested because of a stolen vehicle. He went to trial for the murder of three girls in June 1979 and was found guilty of assault, burglary and two murders, and sentenced to death for both. Six months later a second trial took place, and he was found guilty for the kidnapping and murder of Kimberly Leach. On February 10, 1980 Bundy was sentenced to electrocution for the third time. While waiting on death row, he was consulted during the search for The Green River Killer, because of his experience as a serial killer and his background in psychology.
Bundy admitted to killing 30 women, but it is believed that he was responsible for the deaths of closer to 100 victims. On January 24, 1989 Ted Bundy was killed, via electric chair, as a crowd set off fireworks in a pasture across the street from the prison. He was cremated in Gainesville and his ashes scattered in accordance with his will.