With all appeal avenues exhausted and no further motivation to deny his guilt, Ted Bundy agreed to an interview with Detective Bob Keppel two days before his execution. Although Bundy confessed to the murders he was the prime suspect in, he withheld many details, hoping to parlay the incomplete information into yet another stay of execution.
Little did Bundy expect, the investigators were having none of it.
The night before his execution, Bundy placed two good-bye phone calls to his mother and was served the last meal of steak, eggs, hash browns and toast, which he reportedly did not touch.
On January 24, 1989, just as the sun rose over the north Florida plains, around 2,000 spectators gathered in the field across from Florida State Prison. The mob laughed, hooted and cheered. “Burn Bundy” and “Toast Ted” read the T-shirts. Slogans on signs conveyed even stronger hate. One said, “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue. Good Morning, Ted. We’re Going to Kill You.”
After a night of weeping and praying, two guards led Bundy into the death chamber and strapped his chest, arms and legs to the shiny wooden chair. Bundy’s eyes searched for familiar faces behind the glass. He nodded to some of the 42 witnesses, including the men who had prosecuted him. His lips moved in a faint mumble.
Supt. Tom Barton asked Bundy if he had any last words. The killer hesitated. His voice quavered. “Jim and Fred, I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends,” he said. With that, it was time. A last thick strap was pulled across Bundy’s mouth and chin. The metal skullcap was bolted in place, its heavy black veil falling in front of the condemned man’s face.
Barton gave the go-ahead. An anonymous executioner pushed the button. Two thousand volts surged through the wires. A minute later, the machine was turned off, and Bundy went limp. A paramedic opened the blue shirt and listened for a heartbeat. A second doctor aimed a light into his eyes.
At 7:16 a.m., Ted Bundy, one of the most infamous serial killers of all time, was pronounced dead.
A witnessing newsman raised his hands in signal as he left the Q Wing of Florida State Prison. Across the street, along the dewy grass of a cow pasture, word spread among the curious onlookers.
Some began chanting, “Burn, Bundy, burn!” Others sang, hugged, or banged on the frying pans they had brought along.
“I wish I could have been the one flipping the switch,” said David Hoar, a policeman from St. Augustine, Fla.
Police chief Jim Sewell of Gulfport, Fla., had a different opinion: “Regardless of what Bundy did, he was still a human being.”
But even Sewell, leaden with the sight of electrocution, said he felt a great relief that Bundy was dead.
This photo gallery originally appeared in Behind the Tape Photobook, along with nearly a thousand more crime scene photos, including 40 spine-chilling shots of Ted Bundy’s Issaquah dumpsite and the ransacked basement room of Bundy’s second victim, Lynda Ann Healy.
WARNING: THE PHOTOBOOK ISN’T FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.
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