Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ted Bundy

Appeals and Confessions

Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy

Ted refused to give up and believed that he still had a fighting chance to save his own life. In 1982, he enlisted the help of a new lawyer and appealed the Chi Omega murder trial verdict to the Florida Supreme Court. However, his appeal was eventually denied.

Shortly following the court's denial of a new hearing, Ted decided to appeal the Kimberly Leach trial verdict. In May 1985, his request was again turned down. However, he continued to keep up the fight and in 1986 he enlisted a new lawyer to assist him in escaping the death penalty.

Ted's execution date was initially scheduled for March 4, 1986. However, his execution was postponed while his new defense attorney, Polly Nelson, worked on his appeals for his previous murder convictions. Two months later the appeal was denied and another death warrant was issued to Ted by the State of Florida. Still, the appeal process continued. According to Polly Nelson's book Defending the Devil, the last appeal was made to the U.S. Supreme Court, who eventually denied Ted's last stay of execution on January 17, 1989. 

In Ted's eleventh hour, he decided to confess to more crimes to the Washington State Attorney General's chief investigator for the criminal division, Dr. Bob Keppel. Ted had temporarily assisted Dr. Keppel in his hunt for the "Green River killer" from Death Row in the mid 1980's and he trusted him immensely. Keppel went to meet Ted in an interviewing room at the prison, armed with only a tape recorder. What Keppel learned was shocking.

Dr. Bob Keppel
Dr. Bob Keppel

Dr. Keppel had learned that Ted kept some of his victims' heads at his home as trophies. However, what was even more surprising was that Ted also engaged in necrophilia with some of the remains of his victims. In fact, Keppel later stated in his book The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer that Ted's behavior could be best described as "compulsive necrophilia and extreme perversion."

It was a compulsion that led to the deaths of scores of women, many who remained unknown to investigators. Rule and Keppel stated in their books that Ted was likely responsible for the deaths of at least a hundred women, discounting the official count of 36 victims. Whatever the figure, the fact is no one will ever know for certain how many victims actually fell victim to Ted.

Finally on January 24, 1989, at approximately 7 a.m. in the morning Ted's memory of his atrocities would be burned away forever by the electric chair's unforgiving currents. Outside the prison walls stood hundreds of on-lookers and scores of news media representatives awaiting the news of Ted's death. Following the prison spokesman's announcement that Ted was officially dead, sounds of cheers came from the jubilant crowd and fireworks lit the sky. Shortly thereafter, a white hearse emerged from the prison gates with the remains of one of the countries most notorious serial killers. As the vehicle moved towards the crematorium, the surrounding crowd cheerfully applauded the end of a living nightmare.


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