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Theodore Robert Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. After more than a decade of denials, he confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978. The true number of victims is unknown and possibly higher.
Many of Bundy's young female victims regarded him as handsome and charismatic, which were traits that he exploited to win their trust. He would typically approach them in public places, feigning injury or disability, or impersonating an authority figure, before overpowering and assaulting them in secluded locations. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes, grooming and performing sexual acts with the decomposing corpses until putrefaction and destruction by wild animals made further interaction impossible. He decapitated at least 12 victims and kept some of the severed heads as mementos in his apartment. On a few occasions, he broke into dwellings at night and bludgeoned his victims as they slept.
In 1975, Bundy was jailed for the first time when he was incarcerated in Utah for aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault. He then became a suspect in a progressively longer list of unsolved homicides in multiple states. Facing murder charges in Colorado, he engineered two dramatic escapes and committed further assaults, including three murders, before his ultimate recapture in Florida in 1978. For the Florida homicides, he received three death sentences in two separate trials.
Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989. Biographer Ann Rule described Bundy as "a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human's pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death, and even after". He once called himself "the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you'll ever meet". Attorney Polly Nelson, a member of his last defense team, wrote he was "the very definition of heartless evil".