In custody, Florida, July 27, 1978
(State Archives of Florida)
|Birth name||Theodore Robert Cowell|
|Also known as||
|Born||November 24, 1946|
|Died||January 24, 1989 (aged 42)|
|Cause of death||Execution by electric chair|
|Number of victims:||30-35+|
|Span of killings||August 13, 1961, or February 1, 1974–February 9, 1978|
|State(s)||Colorado, Florida, Idaho,Oregon, Utah, Washington|
|Date apprehended||August 16, 1975; escaped December 30, 1977; re-apprehended February 15, 1978|
Theodore Robert "Ted" Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer, rapist, kidnapper, Theodore Robert "Ted" Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer, rapist, kidnapper, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women during the 1970s. After more than a decade of denials he confessed shortly before his execution to 30 homicides committed in six states between 1974 and 1978; the true total remains unknown, and could be much higher.
Bundy was handsome and charismatic, traits he exploited in winning the confidence of his young, attractive female victims. He typically approached them in public places and feigned injury or disability, or impersonated an authority figure, before overpowering and assaulting them at a more secluded location. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes for hours at a time, grooming and performing sexual acts with the decomposing corpses until putrefaction and destruction by wild animals made further interaction impossible. He decapitated at least four victims and kept the severed heads in his apartment for a period of time as mementos. On a few occasions he simply broke into dwellings in the dead of night and bludgeoned victims as they slept.
Initially charged in Utah in 1975 and convicted of aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault, Bundy became linked to a progressively longer list of unsolved homicides in multiple states. Facing murder charges in Colorado, he engineered two dramatic escapes, and committed at least three additional murders and several violent assaults in Florida before his ultimate recapture in 1978. He received three death sentences in two separate trials for the three known Florida homicides.
Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Raiford Prison in Starke, Florida, in January 1989. Biographer Ann Rule described him as "... a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human's pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death, and even after." He once called himself "... the most cold-blooded son of a bitch you'll ever meet." FBI profiler Robert K. Ressler agreed. "This guy was an animal," he wrote, "and it amazed me that the media seemed unable to understand that."