Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Ted Bundy Story — The Kimberly Leach Trial Part 8 of 10

By Rachael Bell

After many delays, the Leach trial began in OrlandoFlorida at the Orange County Courthouse onJanuary 7, 1980. This time Ted decided not to represent himself, instead handing over the responsibility to defense attorneys Julius Africano and Lynn Thompson. Their strategy was to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, a plea that was risky but one of the few available options open to the defense.
The plea of insanity might not have been difficult for the seven women, five-man jury to believe. Unlike the other hearings, Ted became increasingly agitated throughout the trial. At one point he even lost control and stood up yelling at a witness with whom he disagreed. Michaud and Aynesworth stated that Ted was just barely able to control himself, "expending huge amounts of energy just to keep from blowing apart." It appeared that Ted's facade of confidence was beginning to fade, probably because he realized that he had already lost the war and this legal battle wouldn't make much difference in determining his fate.
There was no doubt that the outlook for Ted was bleak. Assistant state attorney Bob Dekle presented sixty-five witnesses that had connected Ted either directly or indirectly with Kimberly Leach on the day of her disappearance. One of the star witnesses had seen a man resembling Ted leading an upset little girl, matching Kimberly's description, into a white van in front of the girl's school. However, the defense team argued the legitimacy of the testimony because the man was unable to recall the precise day he had seen the man and little girl.
Nevertheless, Dekle continued to press on and present even more convincing evidence. The most damaging was the fiber evidence, which linked Ted's clothes and the van he had driven that day with the crime scene. Moreover, fibers matching those from Kimberly Leach's clothes were found in the van and on Ted's clothing that he had allegedly worn on the day of the crime. The prosecution's expert witness, who testified about the fiber analysis, stated that she believed that at some point Ted and Kimberly Leach had been in contact around the time of her death. Michaud and Aynesworth claimed that the testimony had been, "literally fatal" to Ted's case.
Exactly one month following the opening of the trial, Judge Wallace Jopling asked the jury to deliberate. On February 7th, after less than seven hours of deliberation the jury returned the verdict, "GUILTY." The verdict was immediately followed by jubilation from the prosecution team and their supporters.
February 9th marked the second anniversary of Kimberly Leach's death. It also was the day that the sentencing trial commenced. During the penalty phase of the trial, Ted shocked those in the courtroom while he interviewed defense witness Carole Ann Boone. During his questioning of Carole, the two caught everyone off guard when they exchanged vows. According to Florida law, the verbal promise made under oath was enough to seal the agreement and the two were considered officially married. Shortly thereafter, the groom was sentenced to death in the electric chair for the third time in under a year. He would spend his honeymoon alone on Death Row in Florida State's Raiford Penitentiary.   

Appeals and Confessions

Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy
Ted refused to give up and believed that he still had a fighting chance to save his own life. In 1982, he enlisted the help of a new lawyer and appealed the Chi Omega murder trial verdict to the Florida Supreme Court. However, his appeal was eventually denied.
Shortly following the court's denial of a new hearing, Ted decided to appeal the Kimberly Leach trial verdict. In May 1985, his request was again turned down. However, he continued to keep up the fight and in 1986 he enlisted a new lawyer to assist him in escaping the death penalty.
Defending the Devil
Defending the Devil by Polly
Ted's execution date was initially scheduled for March 4, 1986. However, his execution was postponed while his new defense attorney, Polly Nelson, worked on his appeals for his previous murder convictions. Two months later the appeal was denied and another death warrant was issued to Ted by the State of Florida. Still, the appeal process continued. According to Polly Nelson's book Defending the Devil, the last appeal was made to the U.S. Supreme Court, who eventually denied Ted's last stay of execution on January 17, 1989
Dr. Bob Keppel
Dr. Bob Keppel
In Ted's eleventh hour, he decided to confess to more crimes to the Washington State Attorney General's chief investigator for the criminal division, Dr. Bob Keppel. Ted had temporarily assisted Dr. Keppel in his hunt for the "Green River killer" from Death Row in the mid 1980's and he trusted him immensely. Keppel went to meet Ted in an interviewing room at the prison, armed with only a tape recorder. What Keppel learned was shocking.
The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer
The Riverman: Ted Bundy and
I Hunt for the Green River Killer
by Dr. Bob Keppel
Dr. Keppel had learned that Ted kept some of his victims' heads at his home as trophies. However, what was even more surprising was that Ted also engaged in necrophilia with some of the remains of his victims. In fact, Keppel later stated in his book The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer that Ted's behavior could be best described as "compulsive necrophilia and extreme perversion."
It was a compulsion that led to the deaths of scores of women, many who remained unknown to investigators. Rule and Keppel stated in their books that Ted was likely responsible for the deaths of at least a hundred women, discounting the official count of thirty-six victims. Whatever the figure, the fact is no one will ever know for certain how many victims actually fell victim to Ted.
Finally on January 24, 1989, at approximately 7 a.m. in the morning Ted's memory of his atrocities would be burned away forever by the electric chair's unforgiving currents. Outside the prison walls stood hundreds of on-lookers and scores of news media representatives awaiting the news of Ted's death. Following the prison spokesman's announcement that Ted was officially dead, sounds of cheers came from the jubilant crowd and fireworks lit the sky. Shortly thereafter, a white hearse emerged from the prison gates with the remains of one of the countries most notorious serial killers. As the vehicle moved towards the crematorium, the surrounding crowd cheerfully applauded the end of a living nightmare.

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