Name at birth: Theodore Robert Cowell
Ted Bundy was a clean-cut, smooth-talking serial killer who confessed to raping and killing more than 20 young women between 1974 and 1978. Executed in Florida in 1989 for three murders, his crimes began in Washington state in 1974. Bundy committed his attacks on women while leading a seemingly normal life, first in the Seattle area as a local Republican party campaigner, then in Salt Lake City as a law student at the University of Utah. He was arrested during a traffic stop in 1975, after police found evidence linking him to a kidnapping in Utah and a murder in Colorado. While in jail in Utah, investigators in Washington and Colorado pegged Bundy as a suspect in the disappearances and murders of several others. He was convicted of kidnapping in Utah in 1976 and sentenced to 15 years in jail, but he escaped in late 1977 and made his way to Florida, using the name Chris Hagen. Shortly after arriving in Tallahassee, Bundy attacked four women in a sorority house at Florida State University, killing two. A few weeks later he raped and killed a 12 year-old girl in Lake City, Florida. Bundy was finally apprehended when a Pensacola police officer arrested him for driving a stolen car.
Bundy went on trial for murder, proclaiming his innocence and defending himself in court. The televised trial showed that Bundy could look and talk just like a lawyer; many viewers couldn't believe a poised, normal-looking guy could be guilty of such brutal crimes. After Bundy was convicted and sentenced to death, he reluctantly began to confess to previous unsolved murders, saying an "entity" inside him drove him to rape and kill. In a failed effort to delay his execution he offered to provide more details and confessions, but the state of Florida electrocuted him on 24 January 1989. On the eve of his execution, Bundy was interviewed by Christian media personality James Dobson. Under Dobson's questioning, Bundy claimed an "addiction" to pornography led him to commit violent crimes.