America's Most Notorious Serial Killer was a Law Student Like Me

I recently read the book Without a Conscience by Robert Hare and wrote a review on it. Read that here. For some reason, I tend to go through "fixation" periods, during which I experience a nearly insatiable interest in a particular subject. During these times I will read everything I can find about it, watch documentaries, movies, search the internet, you name it. I never know when it's going to hit, and the subjects range anywhere from Disney princesses to polygamy. The last book I read started me on a serial killer fixation. Since my blog is supposed to reflect my life, I am sharing some of the fruits of my research. Over the weekend, instead of reading for law school like I should have been, I read an entire 500 page book called The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule. It's basically the biography of Ted Bundy, written by one of America's top true crime writers who happened to be a personal friend of Bundy's. 

First, just let me say that this book absolutely terrified me. It grips you from the first pages and doesn't let go until almost the end of the book (where I admit it gets kind of boring because it goes into technical detail about Bundy's 9 year appeals process). Since most people already know who Ted Bundy is, I thought I would share some things that you might not have known about him.

1) No one knows who his father was. Ted Bundy was born in 1946 to unwed Louise Cowell. She has never revealed the identity of his father, only offering that he was "a sailor." Some speculate that Bundy was the product of an incestuous union between Bundy's grandfather Cowell and Louise, although this has never been confirmed.

Bundy and his Mom

2) He used to work in a suicide hotline call center. In his early twenties, he worked there with the author of the book to help pay his way through school, where he ironically majored in psychology. He was reportedly very good at his job and actually saved a lot of lives. 

Bundy as a College Student

3) He was a heavy smoker. I don't know why this surprised me, but it did.

4) He constantly had multiple girlfriends, right up to his execution. Bundy's "first love" and the one who is rumored to have activated his killing spree, is Stephanie Brooks. She was rich and he was poor, and she rejected him because she couldn't see herself marrying a man of his socio-economic class. 3 years later, he got back together with her and proposed marriage, only to dump her the next day, in an act that she considers to be revenge. All of his known murder victims resemble Stephanie Brooks. 
A near-victim, during her testimony. 

Shortly after Brooks dumped Bundy the first time, he started a relationship that would last for many years with Meg Anders. (She didn't know about the engagement to Brooks!) He even became a father figure to her daughter, Liane Anders. They broke up at some point during Bundy's many legal proceedings. Anders was said to be deeply in love with Bundy, and likely still is. 

Ted and Meg

During his relationship with Anders, he had many other women on the side. He even had women on the side while he was in jail! When Anders finally left him, he ended up marrying one of his side women, Carol Anne Boone, in court during his murder trial.

This video talks about his womanizing ways and shows the court marriage to Carol Ann Boone.

If that wasn't enough, he paid a prison guard $60 to look the other way during a prison visit from Boone during which time a daughter was conceived and born nine months later. Her name and whereabouts are unknown and for good reason. She broke up with him shortly before his execution, but he has multiple girlfriends who corresponded with him via mail and multiple marriage proposals.

Carol Ann Boone

5) He was a Law Student. He actually made it through two years of law school in Utah before he was arrested. He also acted as his own attorney during most of his trials. Due to the lack of physical evidence tying Bundy to the victims as well as difficulty with victim testimony (the victims who lived were bashed over the head with a crowbar while they were sleeping and most didn't remember anything), many speculate that if he had allowed his court-appointed attorneys to run his trials he might have been found not guilty.

Bundy Playing Lawyer

6) He escaped from jail TWICE. Since he was acting as his own counsel, he was allowed thrice weekly visits to the law library while he was preparing for his trial in Utah, and one day he just jumped out of the window of the law library. He was caught a couple of days later. He had injured his ankle jumping out of the window and otherwise hadn't planned well for this escape.

The second time was different. While awaiting trial in Colorado, he dieted and lost 30 pounds so he could fit through the hole in the ceiling used for a light fixture. He managed to get a 16 hour lead before anyone knew he was gone, and got to Tallahassee, Florida undetected. There he rented a room next to a sorority house and went on another awful killing spree. 6 weeks later, he was finally caught by a Florida State Highway patrol who ironically had no idea who he was.

7) Hours before his execution, he blamed everything on pornography. Yeah, right.

Ted Talks about how "hardcore pornography" ruined his life.

8) Bundy's vehicle was a Volkswagen beetle.  He claimed that he chose this car because it was "good on gas" and because the passenger seat could be taken out and he could better hide his unconscious or dead victims as he transported them. It's currently on display in the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. 

Bundy's ride

9) There were many potential victims who got away. One of the creepiest parts of the book was Rule's account of the MANY women who contacted her claiming that they had been approached by Ted Bundy and described the various ways those encounters had occurred. Bundy was a master manipulator who was able to find many women who went willingly and unknowingly with him to their deaths. The ones who resisted him, because something "just wasn't right" owe their lives to that instinct.

Bundy often offered women rides.  This is where they ended up.

10) He costed the Amerian tax payers more than six million dollars. And this doesn't even include the murder trials and police investigations leading up to his arrest. This cost was incurred during his appeals process, which made me question a popular argument people make about the death penalty. A lot of people claim that executing someone is cheaper than keeping them in prison for the rest of their life. Wrong. It would have costed approximately $492,000 to keep Bundy incarcerated for life. Instead, the government had to spend an extra 5.5 million defending the convictions on appeal and fighting the stays of execution. I still am not sure where I stand on the death penalty, but this argument has definitely been quashed. 

Bundy looking smug as he is read his indictments for several murders. 

So folks, the moral of the story is:

Don't get in the car with strangers.

Seriously. It's just not a good idea.

Oh, and if you want to read the book, click on this picture of it to be taken to it on Amazon.

They also made the book into a movie in case you don't like to read.


1 comment

  1. Ugh so spooky! Crime is so fascinating though, especially when you have to admit how... twisted and brilliant it can be.