Ted Bundy was one of the more vile serial killers of the 20th century. His crimes were gruesome and twisted - something that’s hard to discern from his wholesome exterior. But despite his massive victim tally, he was far from a master criminal. He was caught multiple times after leaving Washington state for Utah. He managed to escape going to trial until 1979, when he was arrested in Miami following a horrific chain of events.
The Ted Bundy trial was the first of its kind. Not only was it one of the first high-profile televised court cases, but Bundy also defended himself rather than allow a team of lawyers to work for him. In the process, he displayed brazen behavior, flaunted the law, and attracted admirers everywhere he went.
Bundy Proposed To Carole Ann Boone
During Bundy's trial in Florida, he called Carole Ann Boone to the witness stand. Boone was present throughout Bundy's first trial in the state, and spent much of her time defending Bundy to the press. But in the second trial, she became a much larger part of the killer's focus.
Under Florida law, if someone is asked to be married in open court and they accept, that union becomes legal. When Bundy brought Boone to the stand, he asked her to marry him and she said yes. Reporter Stephen Michaud helped Bundy get rings from Tiffany & Co., as well as a new outfit so he could propose to Boone.
Bundy Acted As His Own Lawyer
One of the most bizarre aspects of Bundy's Florida trial was his decision to act as his own lawyer. While Bundy was a former law student, he never finished his degree and only had a rudimentary grasp on the court system.
Polly Nelson, one of Bundy's previous lawyers, said Bundy's decision "sabotaged the entire defense effort out of spite, distrust, and grandiose delusion." She continued, saying he didn't care about escaping the death penalty or defeating the murder charge, but that he only wanted to "be in charge."
While acting as his own attorney, Bundy continually behaved erratically, referring to himself in the third person and pacing the floor like a television lawyer.
He Cross-Examined First Responders To His Own Crime Scenes
During Bundy's first trial in Florida, he called first responders to the stand and grilled them about the horrific scenes they inspected. One such officer was Florida State University police officer Ray Crew, one of the first people to find the victims of the Chi Omega house. Crew was cross-examined by Bundy and asked to recall everything he saw that night.
On ABC's Bundy, Crew states that Bundy requested he go into "as much detail" as possible, and that he believes the killer was "reliving... and enjoying" the night of the Chi Omega attacks.
Bundy Put Himself On The Stand
While acting as his own lawyer (with the help of a defense team), Bundy put himself on the witness stand. There are many reasons a defendant wouldn't want to do that, most notably the risk of being tripped up and made to sound guilty. When a defendant actually is guilty, things can get even more tricky.
The only reason Bundy got on the stand is that he believed he could somehow beat the prosecution. Instead, he mostly talked in circles about his previous courtroom appearances while claiming the arresting officers searched his car illegally.