Theodore Robert Bundy Trials: 1976 & 1979
Bundy Forgoes Jury
The biggest problem facing prosecutor Dave Yocum when Bundy's trial began February 23, 1976, was safeguarding against the possibility of a mistrial. By this time, speculation that Bundy was indeed a mass murderer had grown; any hint of that appearing in this case could bring about a reversal. Bundy opted to forgo trial by jury and put his fate in the hands of Judge Stewart Hanson. Virtually the entire prosecution case hinged on Carol DaRonch. Painfully shy, she gave her testimony, eyes fixed on the floor, a point not lost on Judge Hanson. By her own admission, DaRonch found it difficult to look people in the face. But when Yocum asked her, "Is that man in court today?" she answered, "Yes."
"Where is he seated?"
For the first time, DaRonch looked at Bundy, a fleeting glance. "Right there," she breathed.
On cross-examination, defense counsel John O'Connell highlighted discrepancies in DaRonch's descriptions of her attacker to police. At first she claimed he had a mustache, then he did not, then he did. He also queried her identification of the Volkswagen, drawing attention to the fact that it now looked markedly different. In a quiet voice, DaRonch conceded that her identification of the vehicle had been stimulated by police assurances that it "was supposed to be the car."
Naturally, Bundy denied everything. He was ingratiating and pugnacious by turns, but prosecutor Yocum prevailed. A series of quick-fire questions about the circumstances surrounding his arrest clearly rattled Bundy and culminated in a damaging admission that he had, on occasion, worn a false mustache.
After a troubled weekend of deliberation, Judge Hanson returned a guilty verdict, saying, "I cannot say that there weren't any doubts." Following a prolonged psychological evaluation, Bundy was sentenced to 1-15 years imprisonment.
One year later, in June 1977, after extradition to Colorado on a murder charge, Bundy escaped. He was captured after eight days of living on the run. Incredibly, on December 30, 1977, Bundy escaped again. This time he proved more elusive.
Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Theodore Robert Bundy Trials: 1976 1979 - Bundy Forgoes Jury, On The Run And Deadly, Testimony That Could Kill