Ted Bundy: The Life and Murders of a Monster, 30 Years After His Execution

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Thursday marks 30 years since hundreds of people gathered in a Florida pasture cheered, embraced, sang and banged on pans to celebrate a killing. It was a moment years in the making and it brought with it a collective sigh of relief, because the life taken on Jan. 24, 1989, was, by most accounts, that of a monster. 

“Burn, Bundy. Burn!” they chanted as word spread that Theodore Robert Bundy, one of America’s most infamous serial killers, had died in the electric chair at Florida State Prison at 7:16 a.m. that day. He was 42. 

Bundy’s last breath marked the first moment those affected by his horrific killing spree, which spanned the Western United States and Florida, could breathe easy. 

“The thing that kept going through my mind was the awful crime scene I saw 11 years ago,” George Robert Dekle, who prosecuted the 1980 trial against Bundy that led to his execution, told the Los Angeles Times after the killer's death.

“I kept saying to myself, that is where it started and this is where it ends," Dekle said of witnessing Bundy's electrocution.

Below is a look at the victims whose lives Bundy confessed to cutting short, the painstaking investigation into the slayings, and the vicious legacy he left behind.

The Spree Begins in Washington 

On Jan. 4, 1974, Karen Sparks was asleep in her basement apartment when she was bludgeoned and sexually assaulted with a metal rod her attacker took from her bed frame. The attack left Sparks, an 18-year-old dancer and student at the University of Washington, in a coma for 10 days, but she survived. She suffered severe brain damage and reportedly never regained memory of the attack. 

Less than a month later, 21-year-old Lynda Ann Healy was abducted from her apartment during the early morning hours of Feb. 1. 

When Healy, a fellow UW student who announced ski conditions on the radio for the major ski areas in western Washington, failed to turn off her alarm that morning, her roommate discovered her room empty and her station calling because she never arrived at work. Her bed was made and nothing appeared disturbed, so her roommate assumed Healy was elsewhere. But then her parents called to say she never showed up for dinner that night. 

Healy’s loved ones noted that she was not one to make up her bed, and blood was found on her pillow and bottom sheet. Blood was also found on her nightgown, which had been hung in her closet. A pillow case, top sheet and outfit she wore that day were missing from Healy’s room, and investigators later determined someone had removed Healy’s nightgown, dressed her in the clothes, made the bed, wrapped Healy in her bed’s top sheet and carried her out of the house. 

After Healy vanished, young college women quickly began disappearing.

On March 12, Donna Gail Manson left her dorm room to go to a jazz concert on campus at The Evergreen State College in Oympia.  But Manson, 19, never made it to the show. 

On April 17, Susan Elaine Rancourt went missing while on her way to her dorm after meeting with advisors at Central Washington State College in Ellensburg.

Then, on May 6, Roberta Kathleen Parks left her dorm with plans to have coffee with friends at the Memorial Union at Oregon State University in Corvallis. But she too never arrived.

After Rancourt, disappearances increased. 

On June 1, 22-year-old Brenda Carol Ball vanished after she left the Flame Tavern in Burien. She had hoped to get a ride home with a musician, but he was going the other way, and she was last seen in the bar’s parking lot talking to a brown-haired man with his arm in a sling, witnesses said.

On June 11, UW student Georgann Hawkins vanished while walking down a brightly lit alley between her boyfriend’s dorm and the sorority house where she lived. 

Then on July 14, two women were abducted from a crowded beach at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah. Janice Anne Ott, a 23-year-old probation case worker at the King County Juvenile Court, was last seen leaving the beach with an attractive young man. About four hours later, Denise Marie Naslund, 19, left a picnic at the beach to use the restroom and never came back. 

The Investigation 

Though there was at first little to go on, detectives from the King County and Seattle police departments were becoming increasingly concerned by the growing number of missing women. The cases had little in common, but all the women were young, attractive, white college students with long hair parted in the middle. 

Two women attending Central Washington State College, from where Rancourt had vanished, told investigators they were approached by a man wearing an arm sling who asked if they could help him carry a load of books to his brown or tan Volkswagen Beetle. The first incident occurred three nights before Rancourt disappeared, and the second happened on the night she was last seen alive.

The morning after Hawkins vanished, three Seattle homicide detectives and a criminalist scoured the alleyway for clues, but found nothing. Police appealed to the public for help, and witnesses came forward saying a man with a leg cast who was on crutches was seen in an alley of a nearby dorm and struggling to carry a briefcase. A woman noted that man approached her and asked for help carrying the case to his car, which she said was a light brown Volkswagen Beetle. 

Following the disappearances of Ott and Naslund, five women who were also at the beach that day told detectives they had been approached by an attractive young man who introduced himself as “Ted.” They said he spoke with an accent described as either Canadian or British and wore a white tennis outfit, had his left arm in a sling and asked for their help unloading a sailboat from his tan or bronze-colored Volkswagen Beetle.

Four of the women refused to help, and the one woman who agreed to help accompanied him to his car, but fled when she saw there was no sailboat. Three additional witnesses said Ott had agreed to help the man. 

The fear in Washington was palpable. The number of young female hitchhikers dropped sharply and the pressures mounted to make an arrest. After posting fliers in the Seattle area, King County police were able to create a composite sketch of the suspect and his car. It was printed in newspapers and broadcast on television.

Detectives were bombarded with tips, receiving up to 200 per day during their sweeping investigation. Several would prove to be essential in catching the person responsible. 

Two women named Elizabeth Kloepfer and Ann Rule and a professor who taught psychology at the University of Washington all came forward to call attention to one man who fit the profile: Ted Bundy. 

The Suspect 

Ted Bundy was born Theodore Robert Cowell on Nov. 24, 1946, to Eleanor Louise Cowell at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont. Though his father’s identity has never been officially determined, his birth certificate assigned paternity to Air Force veteran Lloyd Marshall. 

Bundy was raised for the first three years of his life in Philadelphia by his maternal grandparents, Samuel and Eleanor Cowell, and believed them to be his parents and his actual mother to be his older sister. He eventually learned the truth, telling biographers and reporters Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth he realized who his mother was when he found his birth certificate. 

Bundy’s grandfather was said to be a violent and racist man who took out his temper on his wife and the family. Bundy recalled to Michaud and Aynesworth an instance where he threw his daughter Julia down the stairs for oversleeping. 

From a young age, Bundy’s behavior disturbed those around him, including Julia, who said she once woke from a nap to find herself surrounded by knives taken from the kitchen and smiling Bundy standing nearby. He was three.

Bundy moved with his mother from Philadelphia to Washington when he was four. They lived with her cousins Alan and Jane Scott in Tacoma, where Cowell met hospital cook Johnny Culpepper Bundy at a singles night at church. They married later that year and Johnny Bundy formally adopted Cowell’s young son.

The couple had four more children, but Johnny Bundy reportedly always tried to make his adoptive son feel like his own, though Bundy remained distant. 

His accounts of life in Tacoma to his many biographers varied, but Bundy recalled drunkenly roaming the neighborhood and searching for pictures of naked women in other people’s trash as well as undraped windows where he could watch actual women undressing. Though he likened himself to a lone wolf, Bundy’s high school classmates said he was well known and liked. He often skied and pursued the hobby by stealing gear and forging lift tickets. 

Bundy was arrested twice while in high school on suspicion of burglary and auto theft. The incidents were expunged from his record when he turned 18.

Bundy studied at the University of Puget Sound for a year before transferring to the University of Washington in 1966 to study Chinese. He became romantically involved with a classmate, but she ended their relationship because she believed he was not mature enough and lacked ambition. By that point, Bundy had dropped out of college and worked minimum-wage jobs while volunteering at the Seattle office of Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential campaign. 

Bundy traveled to Colorado, Arkansas and Philadelphia, where he spent one semester at Temple University. 

He moved back to Washington in 1969 and met Elizabeth Kloepfer, a divorcee who worked as a secretary at the University of Washington. They began what would become an on-again, off-again relationship that lasted years. Bundy re-enrolled at the University of Washington as a psychology major and in 1971, he took a job at Seattle’s Suicide Hotline Crisis Center, where he met Ann Rule. A former police officer and aspiring crime writer, Rule struck up a friendship with Bundy, who she described as “kind, solicitous and empathetic.” She would later become one of his biographers.

After he graduated in 1972, Bundy joined Gov. Daniel Evans’ reelection campaign and went on to become an assistant to Ross Davis, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. The following year, he was accepted into Seattle University's law school, mostly thanks to the letters of recommendation written by Evans, Davis and several professors. He rekindled his relationship with his classmate he dated in 1966 and the pair discussed getting engaged, but he abruptly broke off all contact with her in January 1974, later saying in an interview he wanted to prove to himself he could have married her.

It was at this time, on Jan. 4, that Sparks was assaulted.

That year, Bundy worked as assistant director of the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Commission. There he wrote a pamphlet for women on preventing rape. He also worked in Olympia at the Department of Emergency Services, a state government agency that was involved in the search for the women who were going missing. There, he met and dated Carole Ann Boone, a divorced mother of two. 

By April, as more women began disappearing, Bundy stopped going to law classes.

Though King County police were made aware of Bundy and the many similarities that existed between he and the profile of the suspect, including owning a tan Volkswagen Beetle, investigators at first thought it unlikely that a law student involved in politics who had no adult criminal record could be behind the crimes. 

On Sep. 6, hunters discovered the remains of Ott and Naslund near a service road in Issaquah, two miles east of Lake Sammamish State Park. By then, Bundy had been accepted into the University of Utah Law School and moved to Utah, where more women would go missing.

The Hunting Ground Changes

Nancy Wilcox was just 16 when she disappeared on Oct. 2 from Holladay, a suburb of Salt Lake City. She was reportedly last seen in a Volkswagen Beetle. 

Melissa Anne Smith, 17, was last seen alive leaving a pizza parlor in Midvale, another Salt Lake City suburb, on Oct. 18. Smith, the daughter of Midvale’s police chief, had planned to attend a slumber party the night she went missing. Smith’s naked body was found by hikers in a mountainous area nine days after she went missing. Investigators believed she may have remained alive for up to seven days after she had left the pizza parlor.

Laura Ann Aime, also 17, disappeared after leaving a café in Lehi on Oct. 31. Aime’s nude body was found by hikers in American Fork Canyon on Thanksgiving. Both Smith and Aime were beaten, raped, sodomized and strangled with nylon stockings. 

On Nov. 8, Carol DaRonch told police she was at Fashion Place Mall in Murray, less than a mile from where Smith had last been seen alive, when she was approached by a man who claimed to be a cop. Identifying himself as “Officer Roseland” of the Murray Police Department, the man told DaRonch someone had tried breaking into her car and asked her to come into the station to file a complaint. 

DaRonch went with the man, but when she pointed out he wasn’t driving to the police station, he pulled to the shoulder and tried handcuffing her. During their struggle, the man put both handcuffs on one of her wrists, and DaRonch was able to open the car door and escape.

That night, 17-year-old Debra Jean Kent vanished after leaving a theater production at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, about 20 miles from Murray. The school’s drama teacher and a student told police an unknown man asked each of them to identify a car in the parking lot. Another teen said they saw the same man pacing in the back of the auditorium. The drama teacher again spotted the man before the play ended. Police discovered a key outside the auditorium that they later determined could unlock the handcuffs forced on DaRonch.

In November, Bundy's on-again, off-again girlfrend Kloepfer again called police in King County, Washington, after reading about women disappearing in towns near Salt Lake City, where Bundy now lived. Detectives interviewed her in detail, as Bundy had risen on the list of potential suspects in those Washington cases. Kloepfer also called the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office in December to repeat her concerns about Bundy. Bundy’s name was added to their list of suspects, but investigators found no credible evidence at the time linking him to the crimes in Utah. 

The Killer Moves On

By 1975, women in Colorado began vanishing in the same vein as the victims in Washington and Utah.

Caryn Eileen Campbell disappeared while walking down a brightly lit hallway between the elevator and her room at the Wildwood Inn in Snowmass Village on Jan. 12. The 23-year-old registered nurse’s nude body was found in a snowbank a month later not far from the inn. She had suffered a blow to her head and she had suffered deep cuts to her body.

Julie Cunningham, 26, went missing not far from her apartment on March 15. The Vail ski instructor had planned to get dinner with a friend, but she never arrived

That same month, forestry students working on Taylor Mountain in Washington discovered the remains of Healy, Rancourt, Parks and Ball. 

On April 6, Denise Lynn Oliverson vanished while riding her bicycle to her parents’ house in Grand Junction near the border of Colorado and Utah. Her bike and sandals were found under a viaduct near a railroad bridge. One month later, 12-year-old Lynette Dawn Culver was abducted from Alameda Junior High School in Pocatello, Idaho. 

In mid-May, three of Bundy’s Washington State DES coworkers, including Carole Ann Boone, visited him in Salt Lake City. They stayed with him for a week.

In early June, he visited Kloepfer in Seattle, where they discussed getting married. Kloepfer didn’t tell Bundy she had been talking with police, nor did Bundy mention he was still seeing Boone as well as a woman at his law school. 

On June 28, Susan Curtis went missing while on campus at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Later that summer, Bundy was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the university. 

In Washington state, investigators tried to make sense of the data they had and input all known factors about the suspect into a “huge, primitive” computer and came up with four separate lists. One of the names included on all four lists was Ted Bundy. He was also at the top of the list authorities manually compiled. As investigators narrowed in on Bundy, they received a call from Utah: Bundy had been arrested.  

Caught, But Not for Long

Bundy was arrested by a Utah Highway Patrol officer in Granger who noticed him driving slowly through a residential area in the early hours of Aug. 16, 1975. Bundy took off, but the officer managed to make him stop and searched the car, finding a ski mask, a panty hose mask, a crowbar, handcuffs, trash bags, a coil of rope, an ice pick and other items known to be used during a burglary. The officer also noticed the front passenger seat had been removed and put into the back of the car. 

Though Bundy claimed the ski mask was for skiing, he found the handcuffs in a dumpster and the rest of the items could be found in any household, an investigator recognized that Bundy and his car matched the description of the suspect and vehicle used in the attempted abduction of DaRonch. He also remembered Kloepfer's call about Bundy the previous December. 

Investigators searched Bundy’s home and found a guide to Colorado ski resorts that had a checkmark near the Wildwood Inn, from which Campbell disappeared, and a brochure that advertised the Viewmont High School play in Bountiful, where Kent was last seen alive. But the evidence collected wasn’t enough, and Bundy was released on his own recognizance. 

Salt Lake City police placed Bundy on 24-hour surveillance while investigators flew to Seattle to interview Kloepfer. She told police that she had found items in Bundy’s Seattle apartment that she “couldn’t understand,” including crutches, surgical gloves, a sack full of women’s clothing, a bag of plaster used to make casts that Bundy admitted to stealing and a meat cleaver they never used for cooking.

Kloepfer said Bundy would become upset when she mentioned she might cut her hair, which was long and parted in the middle, and that she had occasionally woken up to him examining her body with a flashlight. Investigators confirmed he was never with Kloepfer on the nights that the women in Washington vanished, nor on the day Ott and Naslund went missing there. 

Authorities impounded Bundy’s Volkswagen Beetle, which he sold to a teenager in Midvale, and found hairs matching the samples taken from Campbell’s body. They also found hairs “microscopically indistinguishable” from Smith’s and DaRonch’s, according to police. 

On Oct. 2, DaRonch identified Bundy from a lineup as “Officer Roseland,” and witnesses from Bountiful placed him in the high school auditorium the day Kent went missing. 

Though there was insufficient evidence to link him to Kent, police were able to charge him with aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault in the DaRonch case. He was freed after his parents paid his $15,000 bail. On March 1, 1976, Bundy was found guilty of kidnapping and assault after waiving his right to a jury. He was sentenced to a minimum of one year to a maximum of 15 years in Utah State Prison. 

In October, he was charged with the Colorado murder of Caryn Campbell. He was extradited to Aspen in January 1977 to stand trial in her killing.

But Bundy had other plans. 

The Escape 

After one failed attempted escape in Utah, Bundy succeed in breaking out of the Garfield County jail in Aspen, where he was to have a preliminary hearing. After declaring he was representing himself, Bundy asked to go to the facility’s law library, where Bundy jumped from a second-story window. He spent six days on the run before police pulled over the car he had stolen. 

Bundy again devised a plan to break out of the jail, despite the case against him seeming to be deteriorating. He found a copy of a detailed floor plan of the jail, saved $500 in cash that was smuggled in by visitors, including Carole Ann Boone, acquired a hacksaw blade from other inmates and lost 35 pounds. He then sawed a hole in his cell’s ceiling and wriggled through to the crawl space above. After several practice runs, Bundy made his escape on Dec. 30, 1977. 

Jailers would not realize he was gone until the following day, giving Bundy a 17-hour head start. 

He broke through the ceiling of the chief jailer’s apartment, changed into the man’s street clothes and stole a car that soon broke down. A passing motorist gave him a ride 60 miles to Vail and, from there, he caught a bus to Denver, where he took a flight to Chicago. 

From Chicago, he traveled to Michigan, then to Atlanta, Georgia, and then finally to Tallahassee, Florida. 

There, he snuck into the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University during the early hours of Super Bowl Sunday on Jan. 15, 1978. Within minutes, he bludgeoned 21-year-old Margaret Bowman as she slept and then strangled her with a nylon stocking. He next attacked sorority sister Lisa Levy, 20, beating her unconscious before mutilating and sexually assaulting her body.  

Bundy went on to attack Kathy Kleiner and Karen Chandler, both of whom survived but were viciously beaten. Investigators said the attacks took place in a total of less than 15 minutes, within earshot of more than 30 people who heard nothing. 

After leaving the sorority house, Bundy broke into the apartment of FSU student Cheryl Thomas. He dislocated her shoulder, fractured her jaw and fractured her skull in five places. The attack left Thomas permanently deaf and her equilibrium damaged. 

On Feb. 8, Bundy drove a stolen FSU van 150 miles to Jacksonville, where he approached 14-year-old Leslie Parmenter, whose father was the Jacksonville Police Department’s chief of detectives. Bundy claimed to be a fireman, but he fled when Parmenter’s brother arrived and approached.  

He backtracked 60 miles to Lake City, where he abducted 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach. Leach was called to her homeroom at Lake City Junior High School by a teacher because she had forgotten her purse, but Leach never made it to class. Witnesses saw a man leading Leach to his van. Her body would be found seven weeks later under an abandoned hog shed. She was partially clothed, and investigators believed her throat had been cut and her genitals mutilated.

On Feb. 15, Bundy was stopped by Pensacola Police Officer David Lee in a stolen Volkswagen Beetle. Bundy kicked Lee and took off running, but Lee eventually subdued him. Inside the bug were three IDs belonging to female FSU students, 21 stolen credit cards and a stolen TV. 

As Lee transported Bundy to jail, Bundy told him, “I wish you had killed me.” Lee was unaware he had in his custody one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.

The Trials

Bundy stood trial for the Chi Omega murders and assaults in Florida in June 1979. It was the first trial to be broadcast on national television and was covered by 250 reporters over five continents. Bundy, whom the media dubbed the “Love-Bite Killer,” again handled much of his own defense and refused a deal that would take the death penalty off the table if he pleaded guilty to killing Bowman and Levy, as well as Leach.

Members of the Chi Omega sorority testified to seeing Bundy around the home, as well as leaving it while clutching what investigators determined to be the murder weapon. Authorities also testified the bite marks left on Levy were made by Bundy. The jury deliberated for less than seven hours and found him guilty on July 24, 1979, of two counts of murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of burglary. Judge Edward Cowart sentenced Bundy to death.

Bundy stood trial in Orlando six months later for the abduction and murder of Leach. Witnesses testified that the man they saw lead Leach to a van was Bundy, and clothing fibers found in the van and on Leach’s body matched fibers from the jacket Bundy was wearing when he was arrested. He was again found guilty by a jury that spent less than eight hours deliberating. 

On Feb. 10, 1980, Bundy was again given the death penalty, the sentence that would lead to his execution.

What Followed 

During his trial, Bundy took advantage of a Florida law that allows any couple that declares they’re married in court in front of a judge to be considered legally wed. While questioning Carole Ann Boone, who testified on his behalf during both trials, Bundy asked her to marry him. She accepted, and they declared to the court they were legally wed.  

Boone gave birth to a baby girl in October 1982 and named Bundy the father. While conjugal visits were not allowed at the prison in which he was held, guards reportedly were open to bribes to allow inmates time alone with female visitors. Boone divorced Bundy before he was executed. Her daughter, Rose Bundy, was described as “kind and intelligent” by writer Ann Rule. 

As Bundy went through the appeals process, he sat down for a series of interviews with Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth. Bundy also spoke with William Hagmaier, a special agent with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, as well as Ann Rule, his former coworker. He began divulging details of his crimes and implied during interviews that he began killing before the known 1974 spree. 

After his appeals were exhausted, Bundy told Robert Keppel, an investigator who had worked the case since the disappearances of the women at Lake Sammamish, he killed the eight women who went missing in Washington and Oregon. He confessed to three more murders in Washington and two in Oregon, but declined to provide their names. He also told Keppel he returned to the scene of Hawkins' disappearance as the investigation was underway in Washington. There, he located earrings and a shoe belonging to Hawkins and left without being seen. 

“It was a feat so brazen, that it astonishes police even today,” Keppel wrote. 

In total, Bundy confessed to 30 murders in seven states between 1974 and 1978. He spoke vaguely of the remains he buried in a bid for more time before his execution, but ultimately, all the families of his victims refused to sign off on such a plan. 

“We are not going to have the system manipulated,” Florida Gov. Bob Martinez said. “For him to be negotiating for his life over the bodies of victims is despicable.”

The bodies of Wilcox, Kent, Cunningham, Culver, Curtis and Oliverson were never recovered.

Authorities believe he was responsible for at least six more homicides than he had confessed to, and say the number could be significantly higher, noting that advances in technology may tie him to additional cases. Keppel and Rule both believed Bundy may have begun killing when he was a teen.

The Execution 

Before he was executed, Bundy sat down for one final interview with fundamentalist Christian psychologist Rev. James Dobson. In it, Bundy said he grew up in a “solid, Christian home” and attended church. 

"I wasn't some guy hanging out at bars or a bum. I was a helpless kind of victim,” Bundy said. 

He said alcohol and pornography contributed to his issues, an admission which Ann Rule called a con game. 

Bundy spent his final hours praying with Methodist minister Frederick Lawrence.

"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 also called his mother twice, who reportedly said: “You’ll always be my precious son.”

After refusing a last meal of steak and eggs, Bundy cried as prison officials shaved his right leg and his head, where electrodes would be placed. His legs buckled as he entered the room in which he would die, and he nodded to the few people there for him.  

When asked if he had any last words, Bundy said: “Yes. Jim and Fred. I'd like you to give my love to my family and friends."

Bundy was put to death for the murder of Kimberly Diane Leach on Jan. 24, 1989. He was electrocuted at 7:06 p.m. and pronounced dead at 7:16 p.m. That day, hundreds gathered across from the prison to applaud his death. People sang, danced and cheered as his body was transported from the prison. 

Onlookers wore shirts that read “Burn, Bundy, Burn!” and others held up miniature nooses. At one point, fireworks were fired into the air. 

"I wish I could have been the one flipping the switch," David Hoar, a policeman from St. Augustine, Florida, told the Los Angeles Times. 

The Legacy 

Though three decades have passed since Bundy died, the fascination with his story has endured. 

After Bundy was captured, those interested in the case collected trading cards with his face and frequented restaurants advertising Bundy-themed dishes. Now, “Bundy Bath Soaks” are available online for anyone wanting to pamper themselves using a product emblazoned with his face. “Hey Girl, I like the way you part your hair,” the bath bomb reads. 

Filmmakers have also jumped on the Bundy bandwagon. “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” is available to stream on Netflix Thursday and includes never-before-heard interviews with Bundy. 

“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” starring Zac Efron as Bundy, takes a look at Bundy through the experiences of Kloepfer, played by Lily Collins, and will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday. It is the most highly anticipated movie premiering at Sundance, according to the Internet Movie Database. 

Many believe the fascination with Bundy stemmed from his good looks, as fans of the serial killer fawned, equating a handsome face with a good person. 

“I’m in love with Ted Bundy. Is that wrong?” one person wrote online, prompting a discussion about the pros and cons of finding a serial killer attractive. Their post was shared in February 2018. 

Though stories at the time of his arrest and trial stressed his normalcy, intelligence, good looks, affability and political prowess, the facts painted a different picture of Bundy. Those who knew him said he was a compulsive nail biter and nose picker. Records showed he was an average student in college and failed law school. He had a nervous stutter and often mispronounced words. 

But on the surface, his squeaky clean persona didn’t align with the preconceived notion of what makes a monster. 

“He shattered the comfortable preconceptions about the sort of person capable of such monstrosities,” Michaud wrote of Bundy. "Presenting the world a figure both gross and contemplate and wholesome to behold; a likeable, lovable homicidal mutant.”

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