Convicted murderer Ted Bundy confessed to at least nine killings Saturday while his lawyers maneuvered to block his execution scheduled for Tuesday, officials from two Western states said.
Bundy confessed to killing at least eight young women in western Washington state in 1974, investigator Robert Keppel of the Washington attorney general's office said.Bundy also confessed to the 1975 murder of a 26-year-old Vail, Colo., ski shop employee whose body was never found, Vail Police Chief Ken Hughey said.
Bundy who grew up in Tacoma, Wash., was scared, shaken and tearful as he responded to questions from investigators, Keppel told KIRO-TV of Seattle Saturday night in a telephone interview from Florida. "The man is trying to save his life," Keppel said.
Bundy, scheduled to die in the electric chair for the kidnap-murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach in 1978, has been linked to as many as 36 killings and disappearances of young women in Washington, Colorado, Utah and other Western states.
The 42-year-old University of Utah law school dropout was visited Saturday by officials from several Western states, and more interviews were scheduled for Sunday, said Paul Decker, assistant warden at Florida State Prison in Starke.
Bundy's lawyers lost two more bids for a stay of execution Saturday. U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp, who in 1987 called Bundy "a diabolical genius" and "probably the most competent serial killer in the country at this time," denied a request for a stay Saturday morning.
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta denied Bundy's appeal in a telephone conference Saturday afternoon without addressing any of the legal issues, said court clerk Matt Davidson.
As a last resort, attorneys can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the nation's high court already refused to hear a separate Bundy appeal Tuesday.
Bundy last week had offered to trade information about other slayings for a delay in his execution, but Gov. Bob Martinez, who signed Bundy's fourth death warrant Jan. 17, refused, saying he would not "negotiate with a killer."
Bundy also has been sentenced to die for the murders of two Florida State University sorority sisters, but he had not previously admitted to any slayings.
Hughey said Bundy acknowledged killing Julie Cunningham, who disappeared in Vail on March 15, 1975.
"Detectives believe the confession is indeed valid," he said, noting Bundy's details about the victim, her clothes and the Vail area have been persuasive.
The police chief gave this recounting of what Bundy said: He approached her on crutches asking for help, one of several ruses attributed to the suspected serial killer. She agreed to carry his ski boots to his car, where Bundy knocked her unconscious with a metal bar.
The woman regained consciousness after 20-30 miles west of Glenwood Springs, Colo., but he knocked her unconscious again, strangled her, left her body where she fell and drove to Utah. He returned four or five weeks later and buried her.
In Washington state, Bundy confessed to the eight "Ted" murders, said Keppel, who had been a police detective working on those cases in the 1970s. Witnesses had reported seeing a charming young stranger who called himself "Ted" in the area where several victims disappeared.
Keppel said Bundy admitted to three additional Washington state killings, but he was "at a loss" to say whether Bundy was telling the truth about those cases, or just trying to buy time. Keppel said Bundy provided no details of the three additional killings.
Keppel said Bundy confirmed in addition to the deaths of the eight victims that some unidentified bones found near the east Seattle suburb of Issaquah, where two victims were found, were those of Georgann Hawkins, a University of Washington student who disappeared from an alley behind her sorority house on June 11, 1974.
Her remains had never been found, although King County police considered her a "Ted" victim.
Keppel hopes to talk to Bundy again Sunday, he said.
John Tanner, a defense attorney before being elected a prosecutor in the Daytona Beach area in November, told the Orlando Sentinel late Friday that Bundy called him last Tuesday and said: "I want to tell it all, but it will take longer than six days."
Tanner, who befriended Bundy and has acted as a spiritual adviser for two years, told the Sentinel he believes it could take as long as several months for Bundy to tell detectives everything they want to know, including where the remains of some victims are.
"Bundy had over 10 years to tell what he had to tell, and if he is now telling all, that's nice, I'm pleased, but his execution shouldn't be delayed any longer," said Attorney General Bob Butterworth.