Ted Bundy is executed in Florida in 1989

SOURCE: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ted-bundy-executed-florida-1989-article-1.2481058

(Originally published by the Daily News on January 25, 1989. This story was written by Mike McAlary.)

STARKE, Fla. – Ted Bundy, America’s handsome nightmare, arrived at Florida’s electric chair yesterday weak of step and devoid of emotion. He died as he lived, silent and hidden, a black leather mask covering his face and deeds.

The stranger with the kind face and deliberate way was pronounced dead at 7:16 a.m., only minutes after a masked executioner had thrown a switch, filling his body with 2,000 volts. Several hundred fans of the death penalty cheered Bundy’s passing frothily, waving signs and popping champagne.

Bundy, 42, was sentenced to death for the 1978 sexual slaying of a 12-year-old girl. He was also convicted of murdering two sorority sisters at Florida State University in Tallahassee. He had staved off a seat on Old Sparky, Florida’s electric chair, for nine years and 277 days.

In a final interview, he told a Christian broadcaster that though he did not want to die, “I deserve the most extreme punishment society has.”

Inmate No. 069063 spent many of his last hours confessing to dozens of murders throughout Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho and Florida.

The crimes were numbing in total and detail, prison authorities said.

New York Daily News Ted Bundy article New York Daily News Enlarge
New York Daily News Ted Bundy article New York Daily News Enlarge
New York Daily News Ted Bundy article New York Daily News Enlarge

New York Daily News Ted Bundy article in 1989.

“The FBI agent who interviewed him said Bundy gave them hard, concrete evidence on 16 homicides,” said Jerry Blair, the Florida state prosecutor who convicted Bundy of three killings. “He was involved in at least 30 others and possibly linked to another 20 beyond that. He talked about 70 murders.”

‘He cried’

Bundy, whom Blair termed “an emotional basket case” in the days prior to his execution, had spent his final hours praying with a Methodist minister, Frederic Lawrence of the Southwest Methodist Church in Gainesville.

“He didn’t want to die,” Lawrence said. ‘But he knew he had to. He cried, sure. We both cried. You have to cry for his victims, too.”

Bundy refused a last meal of steak and eggs and cried as prison officials shaved his right leg and head prior to leading him into the freshly painted gray death chamber at 7:01 a.m.

Wearing a light blue shirt and dark blue pants, Bundy buckled as he entered the room. He caught himself, and shuffled to the chair, witnesses said.

Exported.; AP

Pro death penalty demonstrators outside Florida State Prison as Theodore “Ted” Bundy was executed.

Bundy nodded to his friends, minister Lawrence and lawyer Jim Coleman, who were seated in the front row behind a plexiglass partition. Bundy also smiled at prosecutors who convicted him.

Last words

Bundy was strapped into the chair by four guards, blinking his ice blue eyes as a chin strap was tightened. Frightened and humbled, Bundy was asked by prison supervisor Tom Barton if he had any last words.

“Yes. Jim and Fred,” he said to Lawrence and Coleman, “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.”

Bundy paused, witnesses said, as if he wanted to say more, but no words came. A microphone was taken away and his face covered with a black leather hood. Electrodes were placed on his leg and head.

Barton went to the phone checking to see if there was a late stay. There was none. Barton nodded to the hooded executioner, who pushed the switch. Electrocuted at 7:06, Bundy was pronounced dead at 7:16.

Exported.; AP

Hearse carrying the body of Theodore “Ted” Bundy stopped in traffic.

In his final interview with radio reporter James Dobson, Bundy blamed his problems, in part, on alcohol and pornography. Noting that Dobson has a history of campaigning against pornography, law enforcement officials thought Bundy’s explanation contrived.

Bundy said he essentially had a normal upbringing in a Christian family. “Basically, I was a normal person,” he said. “I wasn’t some guy hanging out at bars or a bum. I was a helpless kind of victim.”

He said he felt remorse for all his sex-related murders, but added, “There is no way in the world that killing me is going to restore those beautiful children to their parents.”

Bundy, handcuffed and sitting at a table across from Dobson, alternately sobbed and smiled during the 29-minute interview.

Dobson inquired about the killer’s youngest victim, 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. “What did you feel after that?” he asked Bundy.

Bundy held his hands to his face, closed his eyes and thought for a long time before responding: “I can’t talk about that right now…It’s too painful. I can’t do it…I can’t begin to understand…the pain of these parents.”

Bob Martinez, the Florida governor, stood by his decision to sign Bundy’s death warrant. Martinez has signed 60 death warrants in the last (TK).