The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on December 24, 1978 · Page 31
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · Page 31

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Orlando, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 24, 1978
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Page 31
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T ri rA- ' Sentinel Star I I llt J I II Orlando, Florida 1111 II lifli I II Editorials Opinion Sunday, December 24 1978 I Ll ! ' -. V I i : &7 A " W. Jl7vt Mrtvr7 I rf- ... I "C: rM' X ;i :-7 -? fU VjPi4? , V', - v k fcyjj .v;7V'7-7 ; - st With chains on his legs, Bundy read law books in a Colorado jail. By MICHAEL DALY The glare of the spotlight screwed Into the back wall of the cell made the typewritten words dance and swarm across the white pages of the document. Finishing the first police report, Theodore Bundy slapped the covers together. The words dropped to the cement fioor like swatted flies. "Nothing," Bundy said. He then grabbed a second report from a red and white Michelob box In the corner of the cell. The stack of files in the cardboard box distilled 20,000 hours of police investigation into the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. Theodore Bundy, 31, was preparing his defense against charges that he raped, bludgeoned and strangled the girl, stuffing her body under the tin roof of a collapsed hog shed. As he read the evidence the State of Florida hopes will put him In the electric chair, the muscles in Bundy's face fell lax. Seven and a half months in the 8-by-10 foot cell had eaten twenty pounds off his S-foot-11-inch frame and bleached his skin to a pale, translucent white. Hunched over the report, he reminded a deputy (who was peering through a window in the cell-door) of a marionette that had dropped backstage after the last act of a puppet show. "Whatever pulls those strings to make him kill those girls done gone home," the deputy said. "He don't look like he could do anything more serious than flunk English." Finishing the last report, Bundy folded his hands and closed his eyes. The wrinkles on his forehead opened and closed like bellows blowing on hot coals. "They don't have a case," Bundy said. "There just Isn't any proof." In Washington, the bones of Lynda Ann Hea-ly, Brenda Ball, Susan Rancourt and Roberta Parks littered a mountainside. The bodies of Janice Ott and Denise Naslund were discovered in a ravine. Donna Manson and Georgann Hawkins had disappeared and were never seen again. In Colorado, Caryn Campbell's body was found in a snowbank. Julie Cunningham, Denise Oliverson and Melanie Suzanne Cooley had vanished. In Florida, Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy were found bludgeoned in their beds. And, finally, there was Kimberly Leach. A credit car slip places Ted Bundy in Lake City, the day Kimberly Leach vanished. The Colorado ski lodge where Caryn Campbell disappeared Is underlined In a travel brochure that was found in Bundy's Salt Lake City apartment. Records show that Ted Bundy did not show up for work the Friday before and the Monday after Denise Naslund and Janice Ott were murdered. When detectives view the slaughter of all these young women as the work of one killer, the case against Ted Bundy shimmers with a thousand bits of circumstantial evidence. And the detectives react like men who have seen a vision. "He's a goddamned psychotic killer," says Captain Pete Hayward of the Salt Lake County sheriff's office. "He's the most vicious killer in history." "He's our man," says Captain Nick Mackie from Seattle. "There's no question Ted Bundy killed all those girls," says Investigator Michael Fisher from Aspen. But, when It comes time to wrestle an individual case into a courtroom, the mirage of Ted Bundy's guilt evaporates Into coincidence. Ted Bundy the mass murderer becomes Ted Bundy the polite, Republican taw student who happened to be driving a Volkswagen. And then you hear the voices of people who know Ted Bundy. "It's an Incredible string of coincidences," says Ted's mother, Louise. "I suppose if I were some outsider reading about it, I might say, 'I guess he might have done it' But that's people who don't know Ted. He couldn't klil anybody." "You have to prove It to me," says a friend in Tallahassee. "The Ted Bundy I love is kind, caring and considerate." Ted Bundy's journey from Seattle to the University of Utah Law School to a second-floor cell in the Leon County Jail in Florida began four years ago when Ruth Arista (not her real name), his girlfriend of six years and the women he listed on his law school application as his fiancee, walked into the periodical section of the Seattle Public Library and picked up a copy of the Salt Lake City Tribune. The front-page story was about 17-year-old Melissa Smith. The daughter of the chief of police of Midvale, Utah, Smith had been found in a canyon by two deer hunters. "Police," the article read, "suspect the killing may be connected to a series of mass murders In the Seattle area." Ruth closed her eyes. Out of the darkness ambled a smiling young man with his arm in a cast This was the young man who called himself Ted and who had raped, bludgeoned and strangled young women. This was the monster Ruth now thought must be the man she was in love with, Ted Bundy. There was Bundy's tan Volkswagen, the same make driven by the "Ted" killer. And Bundy's job as a delivery boy for a medical supply firm from which he occasionally pilfered what he called "small Items," items like sacks of casting material. There was also the Oriental knife with the carved wooden sheath he kept in the glove compartment of his car, and the times he jumped from behind a bush, laughing when she screamed. Then there was the night he left the house with a pair of surgical gloves stuffed In his back pocket, a lug wrench with a taped handle clutched in his left hand. And, more than anything else, there was the paper bag stuffed with women's clothing in his apartment. Bundy had told her the clothing belonged to his landlady. The killings in Seat-4 tie had ended just before Ted Bundy left for Salt Lake City. Now they had begun in Utah. Ruth Arista was one of the nineteen suspicious girlfriends who contacted the Ted Task Force at the King County sheriff's office in Seattle one day in October 1974. The name Ted Bundy was added to a list of 2877 suspects. The notes on Ruth's call were tossed in a bank of fries recording interviews with 14,000 tipsters. Learning that she had undergone psychiatric treatment in the past, they discounted her fears as "just those of another neurotic." Angered, Ruth called Captain Pete Hayward, chief of detectives at the Salt Lake County sheriff's office. "Tedd Bundy," she told Hayward. "They have his picture in Seattle. Look at his picture." Hayward contacted Seattle and received a driver's license photo, along with a memo that Bundy was living !n the Salt Lake area. A deputy called the University of Utah Law School, confirmed that Bundy was enrolled and fjjed the report from Seattle. Along with the page of notes stuffed in a file cabinet in Seattle, this memo would later spark a chain reaction that would tie Ted Bundy to the worst string of sex killings in American history. Bundy, Page 4-D

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