Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Love and Death: The Sunset Strip Killers

Another Perspective: Two Sides of a Strange Story

The more time MacNamara spent with Bundy, the more convinced he became that she had directly participated in at least some of the murders, whether with Jack or Doug. 

"She was also clearly a sociopath," he said, "nearly a mirror image of Clark, except in one respect. She had a long sordid history of abuse as a child.  She was also highly intelligent and very perceptive when it came to understanding people's motives.  My enduring image of Carol was the time I interviewed her and while we were talking one of the lenses in her glasses fell out.  These were coke bottle thick lenses.  Now suddenly she appeared in a new way.  She couldn't put back the lens but she kept her glasses on and we continued talking.  It was unnerving:  the one eye was very large; the other very small.  The rat's eye and the owl's eye.   And that was how I came to think of her: the owl and the rat together."

He believed there were many clear indicators the Carol was fully involved.  He offered four key points:

1.   "The transcripts of her interviews with police are filled with inconsistencies. One moment she knows nothing about the killing of a certain victim, for example.  'Clark never told me about that one,' she says.  And then just a few moments later she goes into vivid detail about how that victim was killed and then sexually attacked.  She recounts extraordinary details, including smells, details that one would think might only be known to someone who was at the scene."

2.   "Clark has always admitted that he was in a car with Bundy during the killing of one victim.  He insists he was in the back seat with a prostitute when Bundy took a gun out of the glove compartment and shot the girl in the head.  Bundy claims she was in the back seat when Clark sitting in the front seat put his hand up, which was the sign they had agreed to that she should give him a gun.  She claims she gave him the gun and then he shot the prostitute in the head while she was giving him oral sex. I never believed that story for several reasons.  One is I can't imagine any man would shoot a woman in the head when she has his penis in her mouth, particularly a sensualist like Clark who was in some respects also a coward.  Whatever happened in that car Bundy told police and me that she fondled the victim after death.  When she told me the story she was crying one moment, supposedly out of grief for the victim; the next moment she was laughing and talking about what nice 'tits' the victim had.  It was the most vivid demonstration of a sociopathic personality drifting from one emotion to another that I've ever seen."

3.   "During our conversations she hinted several times that she was involved in the killings but she would never come out and say it.  She would promise to tell me if I would have sex with her (the two times I met her we were left alone in a small room in the administration building of the prison).  She did exactly the same thing with police detectives.  In a series of letters to Clark written years after the crimes she also made strange allusions to the killings, which further implicated her."

4.     "There was a piece of bloody scalp found in the air vent of Jack Murray's van.  It's the one piece of forensic evidence that might tie Carol and Jack to the murders.  It was never thoroughly examined."

The more he studied the case, the more MacNamara believed that the media had misrepresented it.  "The case was misrepresented to the extent that so much was made of it.  I helped that misrepresentation by writing so much about it.  And you wonder why are we so interested in these stories?  I would argue that we are a jaded public, increasingly unable to feel all but the severest jolt.  And then you have a journalism profession in utter ruin, with journalists forever thrown off the track of meaningful stories in search of the salacious."

In addition, there were other problems.  "Clark had a terrible trial attorney.  Then he decided to go 'pro per' which only undermined his defense further.  The case was thick with mishandling by investigators and in the end, there was a sense that, even if Clark hadn't done all the killings, he had done some and, anyway, he was a despicable man.  His sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl was part of the argument against him--a girl whom Bundy brought to be sexually abused by Jack a few days before she killed him."

In the end, Macnamara felt uncertain about Clark's degree of involvement.  "In many respects he is not a likable person:  He exhibits many of the characteristics of a sociopath: he lies and has a grandiose vision of himself, for example.  He is also a satyr.  But did he kill these prostitutes?  In fact, he had frequented prostitutes for years, and seemed to flourish in the sexual underworld of swing clubs and street sex.  'I had been going to prostitutes for years,' he often told me. 'I liked prostitutes.  Why didn't I kill any of those girls?" Of course, one could argue that it wasn't until he met Bundy that he fell into a folie a deux, which drew him over the edge of sexual experimentation."

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