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While it is impossible to predict who will become a serial killer there are traits that appear to be similar in all killers. These behaviors include cruelty to animals, bedwetting, lying, drug and alcohol abuse, and a history of violence. “Serial homicide involves the murder of separate of separate victims with time breaks between victims, as minimal as two days to weeks or months. These time breaks are referred to as a cooling off period.” Because homicides involving multiple victims is gradually becoming more commonplace, and to facilitate an understanding of the aforementioned definition, it is helpful to differentiate serial murder from other types of murder, such as mass murder, which involves,”four or more victims killed within a short time span,” and spree killings, which Ressler et al.
defines as “a series of sequential homicides connected to one event committed over a time period of hours to days and without a cooling off period.”
Ted Bundy is one of the worst serial killers in history.
His antisocial personality and psychotic character made him feared across the country. After all was said and done Ted left behind a trail of bloody slayings that included the deaths of 36 young women and spanned through four states. The biggest question in many people’s mind was how could someone as intelligent,highly accomplished, and praised as Bundy do such a thing?
Theodore Robert Bundy was born November 24th, 1946 in Burlinton, Vermont to a 21 year old mother. Ted’s mom never told him much about his father except that he was in the armed forces and they had only dated a few times.
Ted was left in foster care for two months while his mom and parents decided what to do with him. In 1946 an illegitimate child was extremely looked down upon by society. Once they decided to keep Ted his grandparents told everyone he was their adopted son. Ted knew who his biological mom was, but outsiders were told that she was his sister. Ted adored his grandfather. His grandfather was also particularly fond of Ted.
He remembered camping and fishing trips he and his grandfather would go on. Other family members describe his grandfather as an ill-tempered tyrant. He was racist, intolerant, and a perfectionist. He expected everyone to meet his demands. His grandfather was also verbally abusive toward other family members and physically abusive toward his wife. He also physically mistreated animals including the family pet. Ted’s grandmother suffered from depression. It got so bad that she was eventually treated with electroshock therapy. She also suffered from agoraphobia and never left the house.
When Ted was three years old, his Aunt, age 15, said she awoke to find him slipping butcher knives into the bed beside her under the covers. She told him to leave and took the knives back. She said no one in the family did anything about this. (Time Life) The older Ted got, it became more difficult to hide his family’s identity and his secret mother. With this his mother moved to Washington where she met and married John Bundy. At the time Ted was four years old. He was adopted by John and his new parents had four children together. From the beginning Ted did well in school. His teachers complimented him on his good grades. But they also commented on Ted’s inability to control his violent temper.
Friends recall Ted as one who would usually avoid fights, though when provoked could explode with frightening violence and anger. Ted was active in Boy Scouts and attended church regularly. He also held a part-time job and made excellent grades. Ted just dated once during high school and was described as shy. It was around this time that Ted began sneaking out of the house and peeping into windows. He became a “Peeping Tom.” He occasionally disabled a woman’s car to make her more vulnerable, without actually doing anything to her(Time Life). He found these behaviors sexually arousing and masturbated while doing them. He also began shoplifting for expensive items and told his mom that they were gifts.
He was picked up at least twice by juvenile authorities for suspicion of auto theft and burglary, but nothing came of it. While Ted was on death row he once told an interviewer that he knew he was different from other people. He was quoted as having trouble knowing what appropriate social behaviors were. His own needs and desires were all that mattered. Ted recognized that he did not have remorse the way other kids did so he learned to mimic normal emotions.
Ted participated in many respectable behaviors that helped make it so unbelievable to accept his guiltiness. He caught a purse snatcher and was given a commendation from the police department. He also saved a drowning toddler once by diving into a lake after him. Ted also worked for a suicide prevention hotline talking others out of killing themselves. He also wrote rape-prevention books and became active in politics gaining the attention of very important, highly known people. Ted worked many low paying jobs to pay for college. He was a busboy at a hotel, a messenger, and clerks at various stores.
He left most jobs after only a few months. Some employers said he was a good worker while others gave him less than favorable comments. It is likely that Ted killed his first victim while in his teens. A young schoolmate disappeared at this time. He is said to have begun his serial killings in his late twenties in 1974. However many people believe that he started earlier than this. He is said to be the suspect in numerous unsolved murders (Wellard). In January of 1974, an 18 year old student was found unconscious in her bedroom. Ted had beaten her with a metal rod and then inserted it in her vagina. The woman survived but was in a coma for several months and had no memory of the event at all.
A month later he abducted and killed a 21 year old woman named, Lynda Ann Healy. When police entered her room they found blood all over her bed, her nightgown stiff with blood, and her clothes and backpack from the night before were missing. Six weeks later, a 19 year old college student never arrived at a jazz concert she was going to. The next month a freshman girl disappeared on the way to a movie. Three other women disappeared over the next two months (Time Life) Ted would use fake casts, splints, and crutches to get his victims to help him.
He would use little things like how he needed help to carry his books or load up his car. In July of 1974 though, he was able to convince a young woman to help him load a sailboat up at his parent’s house. The girl was never seen again. That same day he abducted an 18 year old secretary while at a park. Ted had now abducted two people in broad daylight using his real name. People would not believe that a killer would actually use his real name. This lead the press to call these cases the “Ted” cases. In 1974 the first pieces of bodies were slowly being found.
The police began to discover the severity and scope of the killer. Ted Bundy had now moved to Utah where he became a dormitory manager at the University of Utah. Here in Utah he killed 16 year old Nancy Wilcox. Three weeks later he killed 17 year old Melissa Smith. Ted had killed at least 11 times in Utah and nearby Colorado. In August 1975 Ted was stopped for driving suspiciously. When the trunk was searched the police found an ice pick, ski mask, a mask made of pantyhose, rope and handcuffs. These are the items Ted used in his “rape kit.” Ted was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to prison. Unfortunately his parents bailed him out.
In 1977 he was transported to Colorado to stand trial for one of the murders when Ted escaped out of the courthouse. Ted was picked up a few days later for driving recklessly and taken back to jail. It was in December of that same year when Ted again managed to escape and took off toward Florida. It was January when Ted committed the Chi Omega murders. Upstairs in the sorority house the police found one woman with her nipple bit off her breast and bite marks on her buttocks. Two women were dead from blows to the head while the other two were barely alive. Right after these clubbing Ted attacked another woman in her apartment down the road from the Chi Omega house and left her for dead.
Ted Bundy’s last victim was a 12 year old girl he had taken from school. Her body was found two months later in April of 1978. When Ted Bundy was brought to trial he acted as his own lawyer. Ted managed to have the original judge removed due to prejudice, he won a change of venue from Tallahassee to Miami, and he managed to have his leg shackles removed so he could walk around the courtroom. In the end Ted was found guilty and sentenced to die. While on death row Ted conducted many interviews. Ted seemed surprised at the anger about the killings and that the women he had killed were mourned so deeply.”What’s one less person on the face of the earth anyway?”(Time Life)
In October of 1982 Ted’s daughter was born while he was on death row. It would be seven years later before Ted would die though. On the eve of his execution Ted told an evangelist that watching pornography had led him to commit his crimes. Theodore Robert Bundy died January 1989. His last words were “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.”(Time Life) Using the DSM IV Ted Bundy can be diagnosed as having Antisocial Personality Disorder. One criteria used to determine this is showing behavior that could be grounds for arrest, but usually are not. Examples of this criteria are met when Bundy would peek into the women’s rooms and masturbate. This is trespassing and invasion of privacy.
While you can be arrested for this, people are usually not. Another part of the DSM IV criteria is lying and conning. Ted was constantly doing this. Every time he picked up a victim he was guilty of it. He lied to women in order to pick them up using his fake splints and casts or when he needed help loading his sailboat. Picking up women also fits the other criteria of charming. Those who knew Ted stated the he was indeed charming. You would have to charming to some extent in order to pick up over thirty women. Another criteria Ted met was,”consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.” Bundy’s odd jobs and reports from employers hold this to be true.
The final criteria Bundy meets for antisocial personality disorder is,”Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.” Bundy most clearly sums this up when he is quoted as saying,”What’s one less person on the face of the earth anyway?” Besides his antisocial personality disorder Bundy also shows signs of going through the seven phases of a serial killer. The aura or fantasy phase is the one phase I cannot find any evidence of Bundy going through. For this phase there is a withdraw from fantasy and Ted does not appear to do this anywhere. The trolling phase is when Ted would stalk and pick his victims. He went through this stage because the majority of his victims came from college campuses.
Bundy was a master at the wooing phase. Most of the time his victims went with him voluntarily. The capture phase really cannot be applied to Bundy. Sometimes he was sudden about his crimes and sometimes he was not. Bundy always carried out the murders and he also kept body parts to preserve the high he got from the killings. This would be the totemic phase. Bundy went through depression phase because he was not able to quit. He began to kill as soon as he got to Florida. It is truly sad that a person with such great potential to do good chooses to take a different path.(Holmes) As Judge Cowart said to Bundy immediately after he passed the death sentence,”It’s a tragedy for this court to see such a total waste of humanity”(Rule,1980:394).
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