The only living witness lives no more.
Theodore Robert Bundy, 42, a charming young man who also happened to be America's most notorious serial killer, was executed in the Florida electric chair early Tuesday morning.Bundy was pronounced dead at 7:16 a.m. EST after some 2,000 volts of electricity surged through his body, sending his temperature to over 150 degrees. Just before the execution began, Bundy looked at his attorney, James Coleman Jr., and his Methodist minister, Fred Lawrence, and said, "I'd like you to give my love to my family and friends."
In the waning days before his execution, Bundy met with law enforcement officials from across the West - including Utah - and confessed to at least two dozen brutal murders that fulfilled his perverted sexual fantasies.
But Bundy didn't die for any of those slayings. Instead, he was executed for the 1978 abduction/murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach, of Lake City, Fla. - the last and youngest victim of his unprecedented killing spree.
At the time of his death, Bundy was also under death sentences for the 1978 bludgeoning deaths of two Chi Omega sorority sisters at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
For the execution, a metal cap was placed on Bundy's shaven head and a second set of electrodes was hooked to his right leg. As the hooded executioner began a 60-second burst of electricity, Bundy clenched his fist three times and expired.
Bundy's death was met with cheers of delight from hundreds of death penalty proponents who had gathered outside the maximum-security prison 11 miles west of Starke, Fla. Firecrackers and bottle rockets celebrated the news of Bundy's death, and dozens of people broke into spontaneous singing of "Sha-sha-na-na-na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye."
When the hearse carrying Bundy's body left the prison about 30 minutes later, another rousing cheer went up.
Bundy's career of crime may have ended with a lethal burst of electric ity, but America's most infamous serial killer left behind a chilling message:
"You are going to kill me, and that will protect society from me. But at the same time there are many, many other people who are addicted to hard-core pornography who may do the same kind of things. And you are doing nothing about it."
Bundy began stalking and murdering young women - most of them in their teens or early 20s with long, dark hair parted in the middle - in the early '70s in Washington state where at least nine women were murdered or disappeared. From October 1974 through late 1975, another dozen young women in Idaho, Utah and Colorado either disappeared or were found brutally slain and sexually abused.
Bundy's death comes 14 years, three months and 22 days after Nancy Wilcox walked out of her Holladay home and was never seen again. Authorities believe she was the first of eight - perhaps as many as 11 - young Utah women victimized by him.
According to Bob Macmasters, spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections, prison officials began preparing Bundy for his execution about 5 a.m. Tuesday. He refused an offer of a last meal of steak and eggs. His head and his right leg shaved about 6 a.m. He was then showered and dressed in dark blue slacks and a light blue shirt and was then led to the execution chamber a short distance from the death-watch cell - the same cell he has inhabited since Florida Gov. Bob Martinez signed the death warrant one week ago.
Bundy was strapped into "Old Sparky" at 7:04 a.m. Bundy made eye contact with several individuals and then bowed his head. After the final statement, a hood was placed over his face and a chin strap was secured.
Prison officials then checked with the governor's to see if there were any last-minute stays of execution. "There were not, so at that time Superintendent Tom Barton nodded to the executioner who then pressed the button to carry out the execution," Macmasters said.
Witnesses, which included a large number of Florida police and government officials, viewed the execution through a glass partition only a few feet away.
Bundy's legal appeals apparently ran out about midnight, when the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reject Bundy's latest attempt to stop his death sentence. Bundy has survived three previous dates with the electric chair from last-minute stays. Prison officials said Bundy was "visibly shaken" by the news from the Supreme Court.
Until about 1 a.m., Bundy met with his attorneys as well as his "spiritual advisers," John and Marsha Tanner. Tanner is a Florida state attorney who persuaded Bundy to talk with law enforcement officers about dozens of unsolved murders in their states. Bundy subsequently confessed to at least eight murders in Washington, eight in Utah, two in Idaho and three in Colorado. And he is a prime suspect in at least a dozen more.
Bundy was also visited by James Boone, the son of Carol Boone, whom Bundy married in a bizarre courtroom ceremony during his 1978 trial. Carol Boone has not visited Bundy since 1986, and prison officials to not recognize the marriage.
About 1 a.m., all visitors were ushered out of the death watch area except Lawrence who remained with Bundy, praying with him until about 5 a.m.
After the execution, Bundy's body was taken to a medical examiner's office in Gainesville, Fla., and will later be taken to a funeral home there. If no one claims the body, it will be buried near Starke.
Bundy's execution was the focal point of a massive display of public support for Florida's death penalty. Hundreds basked in the media spotlight, shouting curses at Bundy, chanting limericks and joining in a festive revelry, the likes of which have never been seen at a Florida execution. Some even hawked an assortment of T-shirts, pins and hats as well as hot coffee and doughnuts.