Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Murder: Future Implications for Police Investigations

Facts (continued)

On February 11, 1978 at about 1:45 a.m., a Tallahassee police officer saw Bundy standing beside a car parked in the same campus neighborhood where both the crime scenes and The Oak rooming house are located. The officer confronted Bundy and asked him what he was doing there. While interviewing Bundy, the officer saw an unexpired automobile license plate inside the car and asked to see it. Bundy gave the tag number to the officer. As the officer walked to his car to call in the suspicious number, Bundy ran away, and the officer was unable to pursue him.12

Theodore Bundy was arrested in Pensacola, Florida on February 15, 1978 at about 1:30 a.m. A Pensacola police officer stopped Bundy and attempted to arrest him for car theft. The reason for the arrest and charge was kept from the jury at the trial. The officer tried to handcuff Bundy, but he struck the officer and fled. The officer fired a shot at Bundy. He pursued, overtook and subdued Bundy. On the way to jail, Bundy stated he wished the officer had killed him and then asked, "If I run at jail, will you shoot me then?"13

In April 1978 Bundy was in custody. This time, a detective from the Leon County Sheriffs Department in Pensacola traveled to Muncie, Indiana to conduct a photographic identification array procedure with Nita Neary. Previously, the investigator had cautioned Ms. Neary to avoid looking at news media photographs and reports to the effect that Bundy was a principal suspect. Neary selected Bundy's photograph from the montage. Neary later testified at trial that the man who she had seen was a white male in his twenties, about five feet, eight inches tall, weighing about 165 pounds, and with a prominent, straight-bridged nose that almost came to a point. Additionally, the intruder was clean-shaven, had thin lips and was slightly dark in complexion. She had seen a right-side profile of his face. He wore a dark blue ski cap pulled down to his eyebrows and over his ear, a dark waist-length jacket and light colored pants. At trial, Nita Neary pointed out Bundy as the man she saw in the sorority house.14

A criminalist testified at trial that she removed several human hairs from the knotted pantyhose found in Cheryl Thomas's room. These hairs were subjected to microscopic examination and were compared to the head hairs taken from Bundy. The analyst concluded that the human hairs found on the pantyhose had the same characteristics as Bundy's and could have come from Bundy.15

Pursuant to a judge's warrant, law enforcement authorities arranged for a forensic dentist to obtain wax impressions and photographs of Bundy's teeth. The original photographs of the bite marks were enlarged to actual size. The models of Bundy's dentition were cast from the wax impressions. The forensic dentist testified that he looked at the particular features of Bundy's teeth and compared them to the indentations in Lisa Levy's flesh as revealed in the photographs. The dentist described his technique and analysis in detail. All materials were exhibited to the jury. The expert expressed to the jury his opinion that the indentations on Levy's body were left by the teeth of Bundy. Using computer-enhanced photographs of the bite marks, another expert came to the same conclusion. The second expert explained his theory of comparison. Both experts agreed that because of the wide variation in the characteristics of human dentition, individuals are so highly unique that the technique of bite mark comparison can provide identification with a high degree of reliability.16

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