The hooded executioner who electrocuted Ted Bundy was a civilian who received $150, a chauffeured escort to and from the prison and a guarantee of anonymity.
The executioner was chosen from a list the state has been using since it advertised for executioners in 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated."If we didn't take precautions, there are enough crackpots inside and outside this prison that'd be threatening them," said Thomas Burton, superintendent of Florida State Prison. "They threaten me every day." Only Burton knows who's on the list. He is also the only person who handles the arrangements.
Jon Peck, a spokesman for Gov. Bob Martinez, said he didn't know the identity of Bundy's executioner but added it could have been a woman, which was speculated by some witnesses.
While security is paramount for the executioner's job, skill is incidental. "All the executioner does is start the cycle by turning a switch or pressing a button - I won't say which - and the thing is programmed from there," Burton said.
The executioner stands in a booth behind and to the right of the electric chair, watching through a 9-inch-by-4-foot opening in the wall as the condemned prisoner is buckled into the chair. A light on a panel of dials before the executioner indicates that the current is sufficient.
When Burton gives the signal, the executioner activates the machine, which pumps up to 3,000 volts and 20 amps of electricity through the chair and into the body.