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    The Trials of Ted Bundy (1976-1980)

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    One of the most famous serial killers is Ted Bundy. He contradicted the image commonly associated with mass murderers. Bundy was portrayed as a charming and seductive man. Bundy was motivated by rejection. Apparently, this was caused by his first girlfriend. Bundy was holding a grudge against her. All of the murders that we know about followed a similar pattern. Bundy would gain trust of the women before luring them away to a secluded area and killing them. Bundy had two murder trials and was sentenced to three death penalties for the murders that he committed in Florida. This all took place from the years of 1976 until his electrocution on January 24th, 1989. Bundy proclaimed his innocence until it was time for execution where he then started to confess to more murders just so that he could delay his execution.

    Ted Bundy was charged for aggravated kidnapping in Utah and three counts of murder in Florida. On February 23rd, 1976 Bundy was charged with aggravated kidnapping in Salt Lake City, Utah. He attempted to abduct a young woman, Carol DaRonch. He tried to pose as a security guard saying that her car had been broken into and that she needed to go with him down to the police station to file a report. Bundy tried to hit her with a crowbar but DaRonch was able to escape from the car. Later Bundy was pulled over at a gas station and arrested. 3 Inside of his vehicle, which was a Volkswagen, they found handcuffs, a ski mask, a crowbar, rope, and an ice pick. DaRonch identified Bundy from the lineup and he was indicted on charges of aggravated kidnapping. Bundy broke Utah’s state statue 76-5-302: Aggravated kidnapping. Aggravated kidnapping in Utah could be charged as a first-degree felony and punishable by life in prison without parole. Aggravated kidnapping is where someone is allegedly kidnaps another person or detains them unlawfully.

    Bundy decided against a jury trial and asked for a bench trial in which the judge would simply issue a verdict based upon the evidence. Bundy was found guilty on aggravated assault on March 1st, 1976 by Judge Hanson. 4 Bundy was sentenced to the Utah State Prison and incarcerated for 1-15 years. Aggravated assault is a first-degree felony. To be charged with aggravated assault you have to cause severe bodily harm to another or cause seriously bodily injuries on purpose.

    This first case of Bundy’s was heard in state course because of violations of state laws; general police power has been used by state legislators to regulate the conduct and the case is decided by the power of the state jurisdiction. In this first trial for Bundy, I believe that the outcome was reasonable, but because Bundy managed to escape twice while facing murder charges in Colorado, only a year was served in the Utah State prison.

    Bundy fled to Tallahassee, Florida the second time he escaped. On January 14th, 1978, Bundy sexually assaulted and murdered two female students. Three weeks later, Bundy lured a twelve-year-old girl, Kimberly Leach, into a van that he had stolen. Bundy murdered the young girl and he disposed of her body in a state park. Bundy was arrested on February 15th, 1978 where investigators had plenty of forensic evidence against Bundy to the three murders that he had committed in Florida.

    Bundy’s charges fall under Florida state statute 782.04 which states the crime of first-degree murder is committed when a person either commits premeditated murder or felony murder. First-degree murder is a capital offense. There are only two possible sentencings for capital punishment, which is life or death. I believe that all of Ted Bundy’s murders were premeditated. He has repeated himself numerous amounts of times. Bundy would lure his pray, murder them, and then rape them after death and even dismembered their bodies.

    On July 31st, 1978, Bundy was charged with the murder of Kimberly Leach and a few days later charged with the of the two FSU students, Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman. Bundy was first sentenced to 75 years in prison for the three murders in a plea deal, but Bundy decided against it. The murder trial of the two FSU students was a state trial by jury. 5 The jury was made up mostly of African Americans. After over a year of the trial, Bundy was indicted on two counts of the death penalty.

    On January 7th, 1980, Bundy was tried a second time for murder charges connected to the death of twelve-year-old, Kimberly Leach. It was a trial by jury where Bundy was convicted as guilty and received a third death penalty. Bundy was finally executed by electrocution on January 24th, 1980 in Florida’s Raiford Penitentiary. The night before Bundy’s execution, he admitted to murdering more than thirty people during his life and blamed his criminal behavior on pornography.

    I believe Ted Bundy received the correct ruling for his charges in the end. I do not believe that he should have been able to get this far with murdering people before he was caught and disposed of himself. How he was even able to escape the first time let alone the second time is beyond me. Maybe if Bundy did not escape at all then lives of innocent females could have bene saved from a man like him.

    All his trials were at state level court. Most crimes that come to mind – murder, robbery, burglary, arson, theft, and rape – are violations of state law. In order for a case to go to federal court The United states has to be a party or if the Constitution or federal laws were violated. 6 State and federal courts are defined by their jurisdictions. 7 A jurisdiction is the type of case the court is authorized to hear.

    “There are fewer classes of federal crimes because while state lawmakers can pass just about any law, if it is constitutional, federal lawmakers can pass laws only where there is some federal or national interest at stake. For example, counterfeiting is a federal offense because it is the federal government’s duty to print money. In practice, federal interest is very broadly defined.” ( Mince-Didier, A.)(2015, March 18)


    1. (76-5-302)(n.d.). 9 Retrieved from (782.04) (2019, January 20). 10 Retrieved from ‘Theodore Robert Bundy Trials: 1976 & 1979.’ (2019). 11 Theodore Robert Bundy Trials: 1976 & 1979. Retrieved from Johnson, S. P. (2011). Trials of the century: An encyclopedia of popular culture and the law. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
    2. The Trials of Ted Bundy (1976–1980) in Entries 1948–2008 Mince-Didier, A. (2015, March 18). State Crimes vs. Federal Crimes. Retrieved from Ted Bundy. (2017, July 31). 12 Retrieved from

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