Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Killer Groupies

Courthouse Courtship

Ted Bundy
Ted Bundy
While his exact victim toll will never been known, Ted Bundy came to represent the epitome of the handsome and charming serial killer. Caught in 1978 after a quick succession of murders in Florida, he confessed to at least 30 other vicious crimes dating back to 1974 in the Pacific Northwest. (Investigators suspect there were quite a few more.)

Bundy used his charm to pretend to be in need, asking attractive young women for help with something that involved getting them near his Volkswagen Beetle. Then he would overcome them and kill them, often returning to their bodies later for despicable acts.

He moved on to Utah and Colorado, where he was caught and identified by a woman who got away. It turned out that Ted Bundy was a former law student who had worked in a crisis center. Instead of using his intelligence to launch a good career, he had used it to lure and trap his victims.

Lisa Levy (l) and Martha Bowman
Lisa Levy (l) and Martha Bowman

While awaiting trial for these crimes, Bundy escaped and made his way across the country to Tallahassee, Fla. On January 15, 1978, he attacked and killed Lisa Levy and Martha Bowman in their sorority house at Florida State University. Less than a month later, he abducted 12-year-old Kimberly Leach from her school and killed her in the woods. Then he was caught for good.

The Stranger Beside Me
The Stranger Beside Me
In Florida, a tight guard was kept on him to prevent another escape. While there, Bundy received a great deal of media attention, and with it, plenty of fan mail from adoring women. In The Stranger Beside Me, Ann Rule noted that some of these women were frightened of Bundy even as they viewed him in the most romantic light. A few, unable to match the person Bundy was to the kinds of crimes of which he was accused, firmly believed that he was innocent of the charges, and during his trial they crowded the front rows of the courtroom to show their support. Many of them even looked like his victim type — girls with long brown hair, parted in the middle. Among these women, Carol Ann Boone became a rather steady girlfriend. She moved from Washington to Florida to be near Bundy, and was soon a media darling.

Boone believed in Bundy's innocence and took every opportunity to describe how he was being unfairly railroaded. Then after he was convicted, she maintained her stance and during the penalty phase of his 1980 trial, she testified on his behalf.

Then came a surprise.

Bundy took advantage of an old state law that allowed a declaration in court to constitute a legal marriage. He stood up and proposed. Boone gleefully accepted, and Bundy pronounced them married.

Somehow Boone got impregnated and had his child. Some sources say it was a daughter, others a son. Some say she managed to have conjugal relations with him, others that she smuggled his semen out of the prison and was artificially inseminated. However it happened, she was clearly a woman in denial of the facts. She even managed to ignore compelling evidence that Bundy's teeth marks had been left in one of the victims. This confessed killer of more than 30 women had completely blinded her with his charm.

Yet despite their marriage, many other women still wrote to him or came to see him during the years between his conviction and 1989 execution. One of them, apparently, later married another serial killer in prison.

Women Who Love Men Who Kill
Women Who Love Men Who Kill
In Women Who Love Men Who Kill, Sheila Isenberg writes that Boone could not have loved Bundy himself, but instead "her own creation, what she wanted him to be — not what he was." Yet Boone eventually realized she had been wrong. Just as any infatuation inevitably wears off, so did hers. Finally she stopped seeing him. Nevertheless, it took eight years for her to wake up.

It did not much matter to Bundy. He had already charmed other women, including one of his attorneys. Even during his final days, he did not lack for company and support.

Yet, some females become serial killer groupies even before the media attention begins, simply from the addictive eroticism they experience in the presence of a dangerous man.




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