The Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jerry Gay met Ted Bundy several years after the mystery of missing and brutally murdered women gripped the nation.

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Chained at the ankles, Ted Bundy sits and reads in the Garfield County Jail in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. (Jerry Gay)

In 1977, Gay, who then worked for The Seattle Times, was allowed access to Bundy in Colorado, where he was in custody on a murder charge. Earlier that year, Bundy had escaped by jumping from a courthouse window in Aspen. He was captured six days later.

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Ted Bundy peers beyond the page of the book he is reading at the Garfield County Jail in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. (Jerry Gay)

Gay, who once served as president of the National Press Photographers Association, said he was driving to a conference when a Seattle Times reporter asked him to photograph the infamous killer. During his interview with HeraldNet, Gay said that during three hours spent with Bundy, he didn’t bring up the subjects of murder or escape. “He knew I worked for The Seattle Times,” said Gay, adding that he felt no fear for his safety.

“There wasn’t any judgment. I was just photographing a person named Ted. I was getting to know him, so he would feel comfortable with the camera,” Gay said. “I was wanting to know him for who he was, and not for what had happened.”

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(Jerry Gay)

Police kept his camera bag while he was locked in a room with Bundy. The room was one where an inmate might meet with an attorney, Gay recalled.

“I took all kinds of pictures, from casual with him holding a soda to reading a book,” he said. Bundy, who had attended some law school classes, at times acted as his own attorney.

“I told him ‘Thank you, Ted’ and I left,” Gay said. “Three weeks later, he escaped from Colorado and started this rampage all the way to Florida.”

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Ted Bundy reads about Colorado Revised Statutes. Just weeks later, he escaped. (Jerry Gay)

Years later, Gay said he visited the Tacoma home of Bundy’s mother and stepfather. He said he wanted to give them the photos, but left when Louise Bundy yelled at him to go after the stepfather had invited him into the house.

About a year ago, 71-year-old Gay met with Alison O’Brien, a freelance documentary producer for CNN. The photographer said he provided about 20 photos of Bundy for the HLN channel’s series “How It Really Happened,” which initially aired on October 7.

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Photographer Jerry Gay poses inside his home in Everett. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Gay hopes the program might answer the unanswerable. He said he looks forward to watching, perhaps for “a new and more in-depth understanding of Ted — who, what and why?”

”Somehow, anger got into his life,” Gay said.


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From a chilling tour through Bundy’s Issaquah dumpsite, 3 insider stories from the death row, to nearly 30 unheard facts about the killer, this collection is a must-have for every true crime buff.

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