For my seminar class this semester, I had my students look at several famous cases, choose one that interested them, and then prepare a presentation to the class (and the department as a whole) applying their forensic knowledge. They’ve been doing this for the past year, now it is time for the rubber to meet the road. I had them make a precis of approximately 500 words–which is also harder than it looks. Learning what important to leave in, and what to leave out is a skill that also needs some practice. I’m going to put their work on this blog, as product means nothing if people don’t read it. I appreciate comments; but I warn you all that I will be moderating them pretty strictly. Comments that are on topic and contribute to knowledge are welcome. I will not put up with people being nasty to folks whose grade depends on their posting, that isn’t fair to them.
Without further ado, below the fold is Tinos’ contribution about Theodore Bundy.
Hailing as one of the most notorious serial murders of the later part of the 20th century, Ted Bundy remains as a well studied case amongst behavioral analysts and law enforcement officials alike. A reign of terror spanning over four states and countless jurisdictions, Bundy was integral in the definition of the modern ‘serial’ murderer, as stated by R. Keppel. As with the majority of sadistic rapists, power and domination were cornerstones of his assaults/murders, and this was evident from his brutal bludgeoning/decapitation of women in the late 1970’s. Hypothesized to be triggered by an unstable past and fueled by a failed relationship with his first ‘love’, Ted Bundy’s perspective on women quickly became an objectified one, treating females and others as ‘possessions’ or ‘objects’, a trend that permeates most sexual crime. Bundy’s relevance remains strong amongst law enforcement officials, for his elusive methods in evading the police (and subsequent escape from prison) were based upon a fundamental understanding of our legal system.
Stashing bodies in various places, namely the Taylor mountains of Washington State, Bundy’s choice of desolate areas made it very difficult to recover remains before severe decomposition set in, and the ‘randomness’ of the spread of individual parts made post-mortem identification of these women quite a daunting task. Yet, a less calculated, sloppier rampage on the campus of the Florida State University served as the turning point for his subsequent capture, and execution.
As a coveted member of the FBI’s most wanted list, Bundy’s riot on the FSU Chi Omega sorority house left a trail of UNIQUE identifiable evidence on the bodies of Lisa Levy & Margaret Bowman. Bite marks on buttocks and breasts of these women were matched to a wax composite taken from Bundy days before his trial in 1979. Jagged front incisors and offset lateral incisors left a ‘one of a kind’ pattern on his victims, and with the help of expert witness Dr. Lowell Levine (chief consultant for forensic dentistry to the NYC medical examiner at the time), Bundy was convicted of murder and subsequently executed in 1989 after a long, tortuous appeal process. This dental evidence from the sorority house was also corroborated by dental impressions left on the then mummified body of 12 yr old Kimberly Leach found in Suwanee River State Park. Charismatic, well-spoken, handsome, resourceful, and with a fundamental knowledge of the law, Ted Bundy possessed the requisite characteristics remain undetected, making his murderous rampage one of the most prolific of our time.