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Once Cocky and Confident In The Courtroom, Bundy Goes Humbly To His Death With PM-Bundy, Bjt

January 24, 1989

STARKE, Fla. (AP) _ Ted Bundy’s steel blue eyes stared straight ahead after his execution today, his expression giving no clue to the murderous sex-crimes that claimed dozens of victims in Florida and several Western states.

The 42-year-old law school dropout defied the state of Florida for 11 years, eluding the electric chair and exuding wit and charm as he maneuvered his way through the legal system.

But when the state finally cornered him in the death chamber for the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, a frightened Bundy went to his death humbly.

He paused as he entered the freshly painted, gray-colored death chamber soon after 7 a.m. and appeared startled, his eyes betraying fear.

Bundy, his head and right leg shaved, came in the room behind Tom Barton, superintendent of Florida State Prison, each wrist manacled to a guard. He walked to the chair and was seated in the large oak electric chair, built by inmates in 1923.

He wore a light blue shirt and dark blue slacks.

As thick leather straps were tightened around his legs, arms, waist and chest by four prison officials, Bundy looked around the room, spotted his attorney and minister and mouthed some words to attorney James Coleman and religious representative Rev. Fred Lawrence, a Methodist minister from Gainesville.

Lawrence had spent the night outside Bundy’s cell.

″Part of the time, they spent in prayer,″ said Bob Macmaster, prison spokesman.

Both Coleman and Lawrence were seated on the front row, separated only by a plexiglass window from Bundy, about three feet away.

Forty-two people witnessed the execution. They included 12 official witnesses, among them a state representative and three state attorneys; 12 reporters; and 18 other people, mostly corrections officials.

When Barton asked Bundy if he had anything to say, the inmate’s voice broke slightly as he spoke, looking at Coleman and Lawrence.

″Jim and Fred, I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends,″ he said.

As the chin strap was tightened, Bundy’s eyes widened with fear. He closed his eyes tightly for several seconds, then opened them, looking straight ahead.

A black leather hood was lowered in front of his face, as prison officials attached a metal electrode to the top of Bundy’s shaved head.

Barton walked to the green telephone on the back wall of the death chamber and spoke briefly with Gov. Bob Martinez in Tallahassee.

Then he walked a couple of steps toward the black-hooded executioner, partially visible through a slit behind a partition, and nodded.

The executioner, an anonymous individual paid $150 in cash, pressed a button at 7:06 a.m. sending 2,000 volts at 14 amps surging through Bundy’s body.

He pressed backwards into the chair, unlike the violent, jerking motion of inmates in many executions. His fists clenched tightly.

The power was on for about a minute, half the time normally allowed to execute an inmate.

A paramedic checked Bundy’s pulse at his wrist for four minutes, before unbuckling the strap across his chest and listening to his heart.

Dr. Frank Kilgo, the chief physician at Florida State Prison, lifted the mask from Bundy’s face, and shined a light into the cool eyes that were staring straight ahead.

″He’s dead,″ he said.

It was 7:16 a.m.

Prison Lt. Don Davis spoke to reporters and official witnesses through a microphone and said, ″The sentence of the state of Florida vs. Theodore Bundy has been carried out.″

As the white hearse carrying Bundy’s body left the prison, death penalty supporters cheered and quickly dispersed.

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EDITORS: Associated Press newsman Ron Word, who witnessed the execution of Theodore Bundy today, has been covering executions in Florida since 1984 and has been a witness for several previous executions.

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