Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Only Living Witness: The True Story Of Ted Bundy

The Story Page 19

He once threatened to "break your f***ing neck'' if she ever ex­posed him for the thief he was. She remembers that late one night he came by to retrieve a crowbar he had left under her radiator. Liz saw something bulging from his pocket and pulled it out; it was a surgical glove.

Another night, she awoke to find Ted examining her body under the bedclothes with a flashlight. Later he tried to talk Liz into anal sex, which she refused in horror to consider. She did allow him to tie her up a few times before they made love. He used her pantyhose, which she noticed he found immediately in her bureau without need­ing directions.

Still, he could be her warm and caring Theodore, the idealized lover capable of great tenderness. During this period, Liz seems to have been much more concerned about losing Ted to his fancy Re­publican friends or another woman than she was about the danger signs. Later, they'd terrify her.

After the 1972 election, Ted made a second, successful attempt at law school admission. He prepared an elaborate new packet of mate­rials to support his candidacy (including a letter from Governor Evans and a wordy denunciation of LSAT tests as inadequate mea­sures of his true potential). The ploy worked: Ted was accepted by the University of Utah College of Law for the term beginning in the fall of 1973.

Meanwhile, he went to work at the Seattle Crime Commission, where he stayed for just a month. He wrote articles for the commission's newsletter, attended its meetings, and aided with pilot studies of white-collar crime and rape prevention.

One day while he was out shopping with Liz, Ted spotted a purse snatcher and ran the man down. He held the suspect until the police arrived. Ted's heroics were duly noted by the Seattle Times, the first-ever mention of Ted Bundy in the newspapers.

With help from his political friends, Ted then found a job at the King County Office of Law and Justice Planning. His assignment was to study recidivism among those convicted of minor offenses in King County justice courts. He had access to nearly all pertinent arrest records, rap sheets, and the like. For weeks, he scoured thousands and thousands of arrests, noting with interest how poor the coopera­tion and coordination were among the various police and judicial jurisdictions. Ted was amazed to find rap sheets showing arrests that had never resulted in a trial, but neglecting to list convictions for other crimes. There were habitual criminals with two or three dozen arrests shown, but he couldn't figure out from the records what happened to the people. They had just fallen between the cracks.

This was a period akin to his campaign interludes. Ted's hopes and expectations were rising again after the disappointments of the pre­vious summer at Harborview. In May of 1973, he went to work in Olympia for Ross Davis, the new head of the state GOP central com­mittee. Earning what for Ted Bundy was the princely salary of $1,000 a month, he studied cost overruns in the party computer system for Davis, and helped with several other research projects. Those around Ted at the time remember that he looked up to Ross as if he were a big brother or favored uncle.

Ted loved to play with the Davises' two small children. Ross's wife, Sarah, recalled that Ted seemed to fit comfortably into their family that summer. "He didn't talk much about himself," she said. "But I didn't feel he was trying to hide anything. He spoke of his mother and family in loving terms."

That summer of 1973, Ted also saw a good deal of Marlin and Sheila Vortman, a law student and his wife who had been active in the 1972 Evans campaign. Like Ross Davis, Marlin was sturdy and purposeful, something of a big brother figure to Ted. Marlin also knew Ted to be a little quirky. One day, he visited his younger friend and was surprised at the quality of Ted's possessions; they spoke of grander means than Marlin knew Ted to command. Odder still was Ted's explanation that he often came and went from his second-floor room by means of a ladder. He did so, he said, be­cause he didn't want to disturb his fellow roomers.

Marlin persuaded Ted that he, like Vortman, should attend law school at the University of Puget Sound rather than go out of state for his legal training. The newly opened University of Puget Sound law school, he argued, would put Ted in touch with local lawyers and would be a more suitable school for someone with local political ambitions. Ted agreed. He applied to UPS and was accepted into the night law school. Rather than admitting to the Utah people that he had changed his mind, Ted invented a story for them. He wouldn't be able to attend school in Salt Lake City that autumn, he wrote, because he had been injured in an automobile accident.

Ted almost totally excluded Liz from this part of his life. The Dav­ises didn't know she existed, and she was hostile toward Marlin, whom she correctly guessed had more influence on Ted's decisions and actions than she did. At this time, she was also unaware that her boyfriend felt he had some unfinished business to attend to in Cali­fornia.

In July of 1973, Ted flew to San Francisco to see Marjorie Russell. Although it was Liz whom Ted claimed he loved, Marjorie had re­mained on his mind for years. He had kept in touch with her from time to time, but now he was ready to confront her again. Happy in his work and fairly bristling with confidence now that his legal edu­cation was about to begin, he felt an aura of personal magnetism shimmering about him. He felt that he looked different and acted different.

He was different, at least in Marjorie's eyes. She later told the police that she found her erstwhile wishy-washy beau transformed into a Man of Action. He seemed to be in control now.

Once again, Ted was acting out a fantasy. He had tailored his out­ward appearance to suit Marjorie's expectations, and duped her into believing that he had changed. While he was in the role, Ted also believed he had changed.

Back in Seattle, as the summer of 1973 drew to a close, Bundy wound up his work for Ross Davis. One afternoon, he drove his re­cently acquired '68 Volkswagen bug over to the Davises' house for a visit. Outside in the driveway with Ross, he opened the car's trunk to rummage for something. There was plenty of junk to sort through — Ted Bundy was a pack rat. But as Ross cast an idle glance into the trunk, his eyes picked out a particularly unusual item in the jumble. There, resting in the clutter of tools and rags and other paraphernalia, was a pair of handcuffs.

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