Serial killer Ted Bundy once described himself as ‘the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet.’ Between 1974 and 1978, he brutally murdered 30 women and girls in seven different states – although the real victim count is believed to be much higher.
Eventually, following two escapes from custody; in 1979, Bundy stood trial in Miami for the brutal Chi Omega homicides. More than 250 reporters covered the trial which was the first to be televised in the U.S.
Bundy never admitted his guilt or showed any empathy for the families of the many victims. The jury deliberated for seven hours before convicting him on three counts of first-degree murder.
On July 24th, Judge Edward D. Cowart of Dade County Circuit Court sentenced Bundy to death. However, Judge Cowart had a few final words for Bundy and shockingly, it appeared as if he was complimenting the serial killer.
He told Bundy, “Take care of yourself, young man. I say that to you sincerely; take care of yourself, please. It is an utter tragedy for this court to see such a total waste of humanity as I’ve experienced in this courtroom. You’re a bright young man. You would have made a good lawyer and I would have loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way, partner. Take care of yourself. I don’t feel any animosity toward you. I want you to know that. Once again, take care of yourself.”
After nine years in Florida State Prison, Bundy was executed in the electric chair on January 24th, 1989. These were his final 48 hours.
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The Final Interview With John Dobson
Bundy shocked everyone the day before his execution by agreeing to a final interview with one person – Dr. James Dobson.
Dobson was an evangelical campaigner and psychologist who was granted an audience with the serial killer. The 45-minute interview was also taped with Bundy’s permission on the condition that the entire conversation would be aired unedited.
It was the moment every detective, judge, juror, and victim’s family had been waiting for – Bundy finally admitted his guilt. He also blamed his sadistic crimes on pornography.
Bundy said, “My experience with pornography that deals on a violent level with sexuality is that once you become addicted to it—and I look at this as a kind of addiction—like other kinds of addiction… I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of materials.”
Adding, “Like an addiction, you keep craving something which is harder, harder. Something which gives you a greater sense of excitement. Until you reach the point where the pornography only goes so far.”
Although many believe that Bundy was once again playing to his audience. Dr. Dobson was vehemently anti-pornography and had campaigned against its public consumption. Bundy was telling him exactly what he wanted to hear.
Carole Ann Boone Traumatised By The Truth
Bundy was due to make a final phone call before his execution to his wife, Carole Ann Boone. She had refused to speak to him after hearing his confession. Until that point, Boone believed her husband was innocent and her eldest son, Jamey, had begged Bundy not to spare his mother the public humiliation.
Boone met Bundy in 1974 when they were both working in the Department of Emergency Services in Olympia, Washington. Boone had previously been married twice and was a single mother.
During Bundy’s murder trials, the pair renewed their friendship, and eventually, this became a romance. Bundy even declared in the courtroom themselves married in front of a judge. In 1982, their daughter Rose Bundy was born – it is still unknown how they managed to conceive a child on death row with many speculating the guards were paid to turn a blind eye.
Traumatized that her husband revealed that he had raped, killed, and dismembered over thirty women; Boone divorced Bundy and moved back to Washington with her two children. She took her family off-grid and was never heard from again.
Bundy’s Attempts To Block The Execution Are Denied
The day before Bundy’s execution, his defense team claimed that the erratic outbursts in the courtroom during his trial for the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leech proved he was mentally incompetent. If they could prove via a psychological assessment, that Bundy had been unfit to stand trial, he would be granted a stay of execution.
Three judges of the United States Court of Appeals had agreed there was insufficient time before the scheduled 7 am execution to assess the appeal. It was then put to a vote but the appeal was unsuccessful.
The total cost of Bundy’s numerous murder trials, prison escapes, and his 13 years on death row cost taxpayers an estimated $5 million. Governor Bob Martinez stated, “Justice has been on hold for a decade and it’s about time Ted Bundy paid for his crimes.”
In his previous interviews on death row that were conducted by Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth for the book ‘Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer’, Bundy said he did not feel guilt for his crimes.
Bundy told the writers, “Guilt. It’s this mechanism we use to control people. It’s an illusion. It’s a kind of social control mechanism and it’s very unhealthy. It does terrible things to the body. I don’t feel guilty for anything. I feel sorry for people who feel guilt.”
“You Will Always Be My Precious Son”
Bundy did not request a special meal before his execution. He instead received a standard meal of medium-rare steak, eggs, toast with butter, coffee, juice, and hash browns.
The night before the execution, he spoke twice on the phone with his mother, Louise Bundy. Louise did not attend her son’s execution so journalists traveled to her home in Tacoma, Washington. She told them, “It’s a (media) circus and we didn’t feel the agony we would go through by going down there would compensate for a few minutes talking to Ted through the glass. And he also felt that way too.”
Louise also believed her son should not have been executed. “I think it is barbaric. What good does it do? It’s legalized murder is all. It’s not a deterrent. They’ve been killing people for thousands of years and what good has it done,” she said.
Her final words to Bundy on the phone were, “You’ll always be my precious son.”
On January 24th, 1989, Bundy had wept and prayed all night in his prison cell. The day of his execution had finally arrived.
“A last thick strap was pulled across Bundy’s mouth and chin. The metal skullcap was bolted in place, its heavy black veil falling in front of the condemned man’s face. An anonymous executioner pushed the button. Two thousand volts surged through the wires. Bundy’s body tensed and his hands tightened into a clench.
“A tiny puff of smoke lifted from his right leg. A minute later, the machine was turned off, and Bundy went limp. A paramedic opened the blue shirt and listened for a heartbeat. A second doctor aimed a light into his eyes.
“At 7:16 am, Theodore Robert Bundy—one of the most active killers of all time—was pronounced dead.”
Cheers From 2,000-Strong Crowd
A crowd of 2,000 spectators gathered outside Florida State Prison to celebrate the execution of the notorious serial killer.
Vendors sold t-shirts that read: “Burn Bundy Burn” and “Toast Ted”. One member in the crowd held a painted sign that said, “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue. Good Morning, Ted. We’re Going to Kill You.”
A waitress who worked at a diner near the prison said she was overwhelmed by the size of the crowds that day. Speaking with The Washington Post, she stated, “We’re from Texas. They execute a lot of people in Texas, but I’ve never seen a crowd like this before. It kind of says something about humanity, don’t it?”
Fifteen minutes after Bundy’s execution, as the hearse left the prison gates, even more cheers from the crowd erupted.
Bundy’s Brain Is Removed For Science
Bundy signed a waiver that permitted Dr. Dorothy Lewis to use his brain for scientific reasons. Following his execution, his brain was removed but they found no legions, injuries, or deformities.
In the HBO documentary, ‘Crazy, Not Insane’, Dr. Lewis explained, “I was not fascinated in his perversions. I was far more interested in how he got the way he was.”
She added, “I was able to talk with him about urges in the deepest part of his brain and about the way the frontal lobes are supposed to rein in these kinds of impulses – and that, for some reason, his brain was not doing that. I drew pictures of the brain, and the frontal lobes, and the limbic system, and tried very hard to give him some insight into his loss of control.”
No Funeral For The Wicked
There was no funeral for Bundy. His remains were cremated and scattered in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State.
The only possessions he left behind included a radio, headphones, a gold cross on a chain, a bible, and a gold wedding band. The $709.66 in cash he had left was donated to the prison canteen.