To say Floridians are obsessed with Ted Bundy and his impending execution is a monstrous understatement.
Bumper stickers. T-shirts. Even billboards trumpet the event, while electric signs flash words of encouragement, revealing the almost incomprehensible hatredpeople have for Ted Bundy.Even restaurants in Northern Florida are offering Ted Bundy "specials." Of course any dish you order is fried.
P.T. Barnum would have been proud of all the hoopla.
The scheduled execution Tuesday of Theodore Bundy, the enigmatic killer who is now confessing to murders of young women in five western states, is the No. 1 topic at breakfast tables and on the radio dial across Northern Florida. In a state where the Super Bowl commanded headlines on Sunday, Bundy's execution is getting equal billing. It's the top story for every Florida newspaper.
"You've got to understand there is a lot of hatred, a deep, deep hatred for Ted Bundy," said Debra Thomas, a close friend of Kimberly Diane Leach, Bundy's last and youngest victim.
"Lake City is a town that didn't even know what a serial killer was. It's a small town in the middle of nowhere. People grow up there and stay there theirwhole lives. Then when something like this happens, everyone there _ literally everyone _ takes it very personally."
Leach's father will lead a motorcade of Lake City residents to the maximum-security prison at Starke as a show of support for Bundy's execution.
Capital punishment is something that enjoys overwhelming support in Florida. About 80 percent of the population statewide supports the death penalty, while in Northern Florida, where Bundy killed three young women, the support for the death penalty is even greater.
Bundy's execution and the constant legal maneuvering to prevent it became the vocal point of a hotly contested 1986 gubernatorial race.
"This is not one of those cases where death penalty opponents are going to have much luck rallying public sympathy to their cause," said Jon Peck, press secretary to Gov. Bob Martinez.
"Every Floridian knows who Ted Bundy is and they want him dead _ period," said Thomas, who 11 years after her junior high-school friend's brutal murder is reporting on the Bundy execution for the Florida Association of Broadcasters