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Bundy is set to die at 7 a.m.

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Title

Bundy is set to die at 7 a.m.

Subject

Bundy, Ted
Death penalty

Creator

Morgan, Lucy; Nickens, Tim; and Lavin, Chris

Source

St. Petersburg Times

Publisher

HIST 298, University of Mary Washington

Date

1989-01-24

Rights

The materials in this online collection are held by Special Collections, Simpson Library, University of Mary Washington and are available for educational use. For this purpose only, you may reproduce materials without prior permission on the condition that you provide attribution of the source.

Format

Newspaper article

Language

English

Coverage

Florida

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

Ted Bundy, one of the most hated men in America, prepared early this morning to die in Florida’s electric chair.
Late Monday night, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 not to give Bundy a stay of execution’, frustrating lawyers who had tried every appeal they could think of in a variety of state and federal courts.
“There’s no question he left a trail of horror, destroyed families,” Gov. Bob Martinez said earlier in the day. “For all that reason and more, he deserves that rendezvous tomorrow morning with the electric chair.” The execution is set for 7 a.m.
“He does not want to die. He is going through a lot of agony tonight,” said James Dobson, a religious broadcaster who was one of the last people to visit Bundy.
Death penalty opponents, who usually state protests against executions, were noticeable quiet this time, recognizing the particular enmity that Bundy’s name inspires. Dozens of reporters from across the country gathered in this prison town to mark the execution.
Forty miles up the road, in the town where Bundy kidnapped and killed 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, many residents were waiting for Bundy’s time to run out. “Closure, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Melinda Moses, a teacher at Lake City Junior High School, where the little girl was abducted. “We want it over with, and yes, we want him dead.”
Legal maneuvers
The U.S. Supreme Court’s vote came at 10:30 p.m. “This is the end of the road,” said Michael Mello, a lawyer who has been helping in Bundy’s final defense. “We came one vote shy.”
The decision capped a frantic day of legal maneuvers and counter moves.
Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, two Florida courts had turned Bundy down. The issue before them was the same one that the Supreme Court rejected: that the judge presiding in the Leach case had improperly instructed jurors before they recommended that Bundy be sentenced to death.
Bundy’s attorneys also appeared to be trying one other tack: that the years on death row had made Bundy insane. Martinez prepared for that possibility by dispatching a a three-member psychiatric team to Florida State Prison to examine Bundy if the need arose.
If Bundy’s attorneys did try to claim Bundy was insane, it would be up to Martinez to decide whether to stay the execution. That prospect seemed unlikely.
“In the case of Ted Bundy, he had it coming,” Martinez said after the Supreme Court ruling. “We know of no reason why he should have any stay or clemency…. We have every intention of carrying out the death penalty.”
Preparations
One of the last people to meet with Bundy was James Dobson, president of a family-oriented Christian ministry in California. Dobson taped an interview with Bundy on Monday afternoon. Although he will not release the tapes until after the execution, Dobson disclosed some of the contents Monday night.
Dobson said that Bundy admitted killing many young women and blamed pornography for his crimes. “It became an obsession with him,” Dobson said.
While Bundy was a teen-ager, he sought pornography that was increasingly violent and explicit, said Dobson, who was a member of a federal commission on pornography. As he was nearing 20, Dobson continued, Bundy started thinking about killing women, and after a year or two started following through on his urges.
“He expressed great regret and remorse for what he had done,” Dobson said.
Bundy also was scheduled to meet a final time with his lawyers and friends John and Marsha Tanner. Tanner is Volusia County State Attorney and active in a prison ministry.
Bundy had no special requests for his last meal so prison officials were planning to give him steak, eggs and hash browns. It was to be served at 4:30 in the morning, and Bundy was to get only a spoon, the sole utensil allowed prisoners who are awaiting execution.
At 6 this morning prison officials were to shave Bundy’s head and right leg, for the electrical connections, and let him take a shower. He was to put on a shirt and dark trousers; the trousers match a coat that is retained for burial. Most of his personal possessions have been stored. After the execution, they will be turned over to someone Bundy had chosen.
At the end of the Leach trial, Bundy married a longtime friend named Carol Boone. Later, she had a daughter, and Bundy was said to be the father. Now a resident of Washington, neither Ms. Boone nor the girl were in Florida as the execution drew near.
Convicted of three murders in Florida, Bundy spent much of the last few days confessing that he killed many more women in western states. In all, Bundy now admits at least 20 murders, investigators said.
“I think he was born to kill,” said Washington state investigator Robert Keppel as he left the prison Monday. “He was just totally consumed with murder all the time. He really didn’t have time to hold a job or go to school.”
Keppel, who has followed the Bundy murders since 1974, says Bundy has confessed to more murders than had previously been attributed to him.
He has admitted killing 11 young women in Washington, three more than investigators have included in the list of so-called “Ted murders,” said Keppel. One of the Seattle area murders took place in May 1973, a year before the other deaths that Seattle officials have long attributed to Bundy.
“He could describe things in detail,” Keppel said. “It was almost like he was just there.” Bundy found a place to dump a body in Washington and kept returning again and again with new bodies, aware each time that the police had not found the others.
Bundy’s mother, Louise, who lives in Tacoma, Wash., with his stepfather, John Bundy, said the confessions were unexpected “because we have staunchly believed - and I guess we still do until we hear what he really said - that he was not guilty of any of those crimes.”
“But if this is true, if Ted did do these things, and if indeed he is substantiating it with facts that he really did those things… it’s the most devastating news of our lives…
“I agonize for the parents of those girls,” she said. “We have girls of our own, who are very dear to us…. Oh, it’s so terrible. I just can’t understand.”
Murder victim’s hometown
In Lake City, Kimberly Leach’s hometown, people appeared tired – tired of the delays in the execution and tired of having been forced to relive the 12-year-old’s murder with the signing of each death warrant.
“We’ve never forgotten,” said longtime Mayor Gerald Witt. “When he’s gone there’ll be a lot of people shaking hands, exchanging high-fives and all that because they finally killed the bastard.”
Down the road from that mayor’s office, junior high school Principal Robert Simmons says that today’s students, who never knew Kimberly, have been educated in a school still “paranoid” about safety.
Students still are organized into a buddy system. “If you see a student alone on this campus, teachers are angry,” Simmons said. Security officers patrol the grounds, and any time a student is absent, school officials call parents immediately to determine the student’s whereabouts.
Parents, too, have kept up their guard, even some who did not live here when Kimberly died.
“You hear about it enough,” said Candy Palmer, who stopped to pick up her seventh-grade son Danny Monday afternoon.” Most people are very attentive about getting here on time to pick up their kids. I know I am.”
Across the road from the prison, television and newspaper reporters from around the nation gathered in a former cow pasture reserved for the news media at each execution. At the last execution, there were only a few reporters. Monday, there were more than 100. There were motors homes filled with electronic gear, and at least 14 satellite discs beamed the story to distant audiences.
At one point Monday, the weight of 25 microphones taped to a makeshift lectern toppled the whole thing and sent television crews scrambling.
Along the state road that runs past the prison, a Jacksonville man working out of his car sold shirts that featured a drawing of Bundy strapped to the electric chair and the slogan “Bundy’s Last Charge.” The shirts cost $10 each. And two entrepreneurs, who would identify themselves only as Randy and Rick, were selling electric-chair lapel pins for $3 apiece.

Original Format

Paper

Contributor of the Digital Item

Scovell, Madison

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Bundy is set to die at 7 a.m.
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Citation

Morgan, Lucy; Nickens, Tim; and Lavin, Chris, “Bundy is set to die at 7 a.m.,” HIST298, accessed September 24, 2017, http://hist298.umwhistory.org/items/show/125.