Theodore Bundy's mother said that if indeed her son has confessed to repeated killings in Western Washington, it is "the most devastating news of our lives."

In a copyright article published Sunday in the Morning News Tribune, Mrs. Bundy said Bundy's confession was "totally unexpected." She said her family has believed in Bundy's innocence."But if this is true, if Ted did do these things, and if indeed he is substantiating it with facts that he really did those things . . . oh . . . it's the most devastating news of our lives," she told the Tribune.

Sitting in the quiet living room of the family's Tacoma home, Louise Bundy shook her head and sighed, as her husband, John, sat silently across the room.

"But if he did those things, it's a mental illness . . . a person who would do those things is mentally ill."

She said she had no idea how her son, one of five Bundy children, could have grown to be a man of violence. Bundy is her son and was adopted by John Bundy after the two married in 1951.

"He was just not a violent person. Yes . . . he had a temper, but nothing out of the ordinary. In all the years of growing up, we never saw any sign of these (violent) things. He was a wonderful son.

"I don't mean to say he was perfect. I mean, he would do things that would make us angry, and so forth - but what son doesn't? All I can say is, he was the light of our lives. I wouldn't say that if he had been a problem child or constantly misbehaving.

"We just cannot, in any way, figure what would have caused him - if indeed he did those things, and I still qualify that - what would have caused it."

The Bundys have stood fast in their belief in their son's innocence, even in the face of guilty verdicts from three trials.

Her grief, she said Saturday, was not only for her family but also for the families of the victims.

"I agonize for the parents of those girls," she said. "We have girls of our own, who are very dear to us. . . . Oh, it's so terrible. I just can't understand."

The Bundys hadn't traveled to Florida to see him as the last efforts to save his life were under way. He hadn't wanted them to come, Louise Bundy said.

"And besides, we couldn't have seen him for more than an hour. Why go 3,000 miles for an hour visit through a little glass?

"We decided we would stay home with the family - this is where we need to be right now."