In May 1979 Bundy rejected a plea deal that would have allowed him to avoid the death penalty if he admitted to murdering Bowman, Levy and Kimberly Leach. The trial proceeded. Bundy had realised he would have had to announce his guilt to the country, something he could not bring himself to do.
Having studied law at law school Bundy ended up representing himself at trial. His trial was the first to be broadcast live on television in the United States. Bundy’s charm and confidence caused a ratings bonanza with schools of female fans turning up to court and other locations around the country in support of him.
Incredibly, there was an assumption about Bundy’s victim ‘type’: that they all wore their hair long, parted in the middle, and wore hoop earrings. Women would come to court with their hair parted in the middle, wearing hoop earrings and some even dyed their hair ‘the right kind of brown’ in hope of ‘appealing’ to Bundy. One of those women was Carole-Ann Boone, who would later become his wife and mother of his child whilst on death row. More on this in future posts.
On July 24, 1979 Bundy was found guilty by a jury of seven men and five women of murdering Levy and Bowman and the attempted murders of Kleiner, Chandler and Thomas. The jury deliberated for just less than seven hours. The jury also found Bundy guilty of three counts of attempted murder in the brutal beatings of three other female students at the school in Tallahassee, and of two related counts of burglary.
One week later, he was sentenced to death for the murders. Prosecutors were not happy with two death sentences so proceeded to trial in February 1980 for the death of 14 year old Kimberly Leach. Leach’s trial is the topic of next weeks post.