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Theodore Robert Bundy Trials: 1976 & 1979

Bundy Forgoes Jury, On The Run And Deadly, Testimony That Could Kill

Defendant: Theodore Robert Bundy
Crime Charged: First Trial: Aggravated kidnapping; Second Trial: Murder
Chief Defense Lawyers: First Trial: John O'Connell; Second trial: Robert Haggard, Edward Harvey, Margaret Good, and Lynn Thompson
Chief Prosecutors: First Trial: David Yocum; Second Trial: Larry Simpson and Daniel McKeever
Judges: First Trial: Stewart Hanson; Second Trial: Edward Cowart
Places: First Trial: Salt Lake City, Utah; Second Trial: Miami, Florida
Dates of Trials: February 23-March 1, 1976; June 25-July 31, 1979
Verdict: Guilty, both trials
Sentences: First Trial: 1-15 years; Second Trial: death

SIGNIFICANCE: More than any other murderer, Ted Bundy both fascinated and horrified onlookers. Others have killed more, some killed more horribly, but for most Americans, this young man with the movie star appearance remains one of the most notorious. Often overshadowed by his grim charisma was the controversial testimony that eventually undid him. Bundy's ready smile might have been tailor-made for the cameras, but it proved lethal in the hands of those prosecutors determined to convict him.

Between 1969 and 1975 an unprecedented wave of sex-killings swept from California, through the Pacific Northwest, and into Utah and Colorado. All of the victims were strikingly similar—female, young, attractive, and generally with long hair parted in the middle. Some were found dumped in deserted areas, others were never seen again. As the various law enforcement agencies compared notes and suspects, one name kept cropping up: Ted Bundy, a handsome young Seattle, Washington, law student. But nothing could be proved.

And then on November 8, 1974, 18-year-old Salt Lake City, Utah, resident Carol DaRonch was tricked into entering a Volkswagen outside a shopping mall by a stranger claiming to be a police officer. When the man attempted to handcuff and bludgeon her, DaRonch managed to escape from the car. On August 16, 1975, a Salt Lake City police officer arrested a Volkswagen driver who had been acting suspiciously. Inside the car were a crowbar and handcuffs. The driver turned out to be Ted Bundy. DaRonch identified him as her abductor, leading to charges of aggravated kidnapping.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980