Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Netflix streams documentary about America’s first serial killer


Matthew Dinh, Entertainment Editor

Ted Bundy, a sadistic psychopath who most thought of as a charming, attractive and motivated man, had all the tell-tale signs of a normal everyday person.

As history has come to know, Bundy was a serial killer who raped his victims beforehand and sometimes even after. Bundy was the first person to be considered a serial killer. A new Netflix series, “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” goes in-depth about his damaged childhood, past relationships, and every murder he committed.

Theodore Bundy was born on November 24, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont. He started his short life as his mother’s secret humiliation. His mother, Eleanor Cowell, was 22 years of age when she had Bundy as an unmarried woman.

As the daughter of very religious parents, Bundy’s birth made his mother’s parent’s humiliation as well. Eleanor sent Bundy to be raised and adopted by his grandparents. Bundy’s realization of his adoption at the age of 14 had a lasting affect.

In school, Bundy was considered a shy, but bright student. He was seen as an outsider to many of his peers. After he graduated from high school, Bundy enrolled at the University of Washington where he met his future girlfriend, Diane Edwards. She had everything Bundy desired: money, class, and influence.

The two later broke up which destroyed his emotional state. Many of his victims resembled his ex-girlfriend Edwards such as Nancy Wilcox, Melissa Smith and Laura Aime.

Bundy graduated from the University of Washington in 1972 with a degree in Psychology and was later on accepted to the University of Utah for their law school.

“I never knew in all my years of teaching Psychology, I never knew he was a Psych major,” said Whitney Hardy. “I thought that he was a genius in a weird way because sociopaths and psychopaths don’t understand normal human emotions. So for him to take those classes to figure out how normal people act and how to act himself around normal people makes it really creepy and smart at the same time.” After graduating from the University of Washington, Bundy changed his visual appearance and became more confident which was evident in his social and political skills.
After his change in appearance, Bundy began to go on his killing sprees. Stories spread around the Seattle area and in down state Oregon that the women who went missing were accompanied by a young, handsome, dark-haired man who called himself “Ted.”

In 1974, Bundy moved to Utah to begin attending law school. Woman began to disappear in that area as well.

Bundy seemed to be in the clear since there was no evidence that connected him to the recent disappearances and no one nearly suspected him because of his appearance as a normal citizen. Somewhere along the line, Bundy was pulled over by a police car and his car was searched.

The police officer uncovered a stockpile of burglary tools; a crowbar, black face mask, which led to a police investigation eventually establishing Bundy as the prime suspect.

`In 1975, Bundy was arrested for the kidnapping of Carol DaRonch. She is one of the few who had escaped him and she appeared on the Netflix documentary to describe her dramatic experience and her thoughts during the event which left a lasting scar. Bundy was later on convicted and received a one – 15 year jail sentence.

As time went on, the U.S. states in which Bundy had committed the crimes, commenced communications and started to connect the dots, cooperation which was unheard of during that time. Bundy was indicted on murder charges for the death of a young Colorado woman.

He decided to represent himself as he was once a law student.

During one of his briefings, he was left alone in a room to prepare for his case but when the security guard came to check up on him, he was gone. Bundy had jumped from the window and was free for eight days until he was captured. The first of multiple escapes.

Bundy’s second escape was two years after his first escape. Bundy had starved himself to lose weight and escape through the jail ceiling.
He casually walked out the front doors of the jail unnoticed, Bundy was gone for more than 15 hours before authorities figured out what had happened. The Netflix documentary shows the exact cell he stayed in and the way in which he escaped.

Bundy had a plan for everything he did and this escape was no different. He first took a bus to Denver and then caught a flight to Chicago. After arriving in Chicago, he took an amtrak train to Ann Arbor to watch his alma mater the University of Washington play Michigan in the Rose Bowl. The next day, Bundy stole a car and drove it as far as to Atlanta, where he ditched it and got a bus ride down to Tallahassee where he continued his murders on the campus of Florida State University.

His first attempt on the campus was January 14, 1978 in the Chi Omega sorority house. Bundy attacked four female residents in their sleep, killing two of the women. The next month, on February 9th, Bundy kidnapped 12 year-old Kimberly Leach and murdered her.
Bundy’s capture was a result of the discovery of instinctive bite marks left on the victims. In 1979, Bundy was convicted and given the death penalty twice.

Ted Bundy used his charm and intelligence to prolong his death penalty but was eventually executed on Jan. 24, 1989 by the electric chair.