Ted Bundy’s Trial
The opening of the Chi Omega murder trial sparked immense public interest and a media frenzy. After all, Ted had been suspected of at least thirty-six murders in four states and his name elicited nightmarish images to thousands, perhaps even millions around the world. He was considered by many to be evil reincarnate, a monster, the devil and his murders initiated the biggest and most publicized trials of the decade.
During the Chi Omega murder trial, Ted acted as his own defense attorney. He was confident in his abilities and believed he would be given a fair trial. It became clear early on in the trial that Ted was fighting a losing battle.
There were two events in the trial that would sway the jury against Ted. The first was Nita Neary’s testimony of what she had seen the night of the murders. While on the stand, she pointed to Ted as the man she had seen fleeing down the stairs and out the door of the Chi Omega House. The second event that swayed the jury during the trial was the testimony of odontologist Dr. Richard Souviron regarding the bite marks found on Lisa Levy one of Ted’s many victims, was crucial in securing Bundy’s conviction and subsequent execution.
As Crimelibrary’s Kathleen Ramsland writes in The Most Famous Bite Mark, “In his expert testimony, Souviron described the bite mark on Lisa Levy as the jury examined the photographs. He pointed out how unique the indentation mark was and showed how it matched the dental impressions of Bundy’s teeth. He showed them the structure of alignment, the chips, the size of the teeth, and the sharpness factors of the bicuspids, lateral, and incisor teeth. Then he put up on a board an enlarged photo of the bite-mark and laid over it a transparent sheet with an enlarged picture of Bundy’s teeth.”
On July 23rd, Ted waited in his cell as the jurors deliberated over his guilt or innocence. After almost seven hours, they returned to the courtroom with a verdict. Showing no emotion, Ted listened as one of the jurors read out “GUILTY.” On all counts of murder, Ted was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Bundy claimed that violent pornography began to slowly solidify his vague fantasies and compulsions into concrete ideas and actions. Perhaps, but most likely Bundy was in a state of denial when he said that. Bundy’s violent fantasies were probably formulated much earlier, but he had the intelligence and education to be embarrassed about them-perhaps he even suppressed the early memory of them. The pressure on Bundy was coming from three sides: the violent fantasies that he really wanted to fulfill; the attempts to realize ambitions that he felt he should have realized; and the anxiety, perhaps guilt, at the contents of his violent fantasies. A less intelligent, less thinking, or less ambitious person than Bundy might not have thought or worried much about the inappropriateness of his violent desires. Perhaps Bundy was even worried that his fantasies, if they ever took control of him, would be socially embarrassing and ruinous to his career plans which is exactly what happened.
Dr. Keppel, Washington State Attorney General’s chief investigator for the criminal division, had learned that Ted kept some of his victims’ heads at his home as trophies. However, what was even more surprising was that Ted also engaged in necrophilia with some of the remains of his victims. In fact, Keppel later stated in his book The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer that Ted’s behavior could be best described as “compulsive necrophilia and extreme perversion.”
It was a compulsion that led to the deaths of scores of women, many who remained unknown to investigators. Rule and Keppel stated in their books that Ted was likely responsible for the deaths of at least a hundred women, discounting the official count of thirty-six victims. Whatever the figure, the fact is no one will ever know for certain how many victims actually fell victim to Ted.
At 7:06 AM on January 24, 1989, 42-year-old Theodore Robert Bundy was electrocuted by the State of Florida for the murder of Kimberly Leach. His last words were, “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.” Then, an electric potential of over 2,000 volts was applied across his body for less than two minutes. He was pronounced dead at 7:16 AM.