Did Ted Bundy Ever Plead Guilty? The Serial Killer’s Confession

Kathy Kleiner, Ted Bundy's Victim


Ted Bundy represented himself at trial and fought for his life until the end, filing an appeal to stop his execution just days before his death.

While Bundy never pleaded guilty to his crimes and maintained his innocence for years, he eventually provided a confession, saying he committed 30 murders. Bundy was sentenced to death in the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach of Lake City, Florida. He was executed January 24, 1989. You can read an appeal filed in his case just days before his execution here.

Elizabeth Kendall, Ted Bundy’s ex-girlfriend, and her daughter, Molly Kendall, are sharing their story for the first time in 40 years. They were interviewed for a five-part series on Amazon, “Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer,” and with ABC 20/20. The Amazon Original will be released Friday, January 31, 2020, and on 20/20 tonight at 9 p.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ted Bundy Filed Appeals in His Case Days Before He Was Executed

Ted Bundy made attempts to save his own life in a series of appeals that ended only shortly before his death. On January 20, 1989, he filed a final stay of execution, which you can read in full here. However, the appeal was denied, and he was executed January 24, 1989. His final meal was steak and eggs, but he didn’t eat any of his food, according to A&E. He reportedly “looked startled” when he was strapped into the electric chair.

His longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kendall, told 20/20 she “felt loved” by Bundy, and believed he loved her daughter, Molly Kendall. But women at his murder trial would describe him much differently. According to court documents filed in his case, women who saw him in 1978 described a cold stare that scared them. One woman said he looked like “an ex-con.” In Florida, he was using the name Chris Hagan.

“Theodore Robert Bundy was placed in the Tallahassee vicinity on 7 January 1978 (Larry James Wingfield, R 7955),” the appeal said. “Bundy was allegedly a student (R 8011-8012) and went by the name of “Chris Hagan” (R 79551. He resided at the Oaks Apartment (R 8410), 409 West College Avenue, Tallahassee (R 8163) #several blocks from the scene of the crime(.s) for which he was accused. Testimony was proffered (R 8193-8301) and allowed before the jury that Bundy was observed on the night of 14 January 1978, the night preceding the offenses, at a local bar, by three ao-eds (R 8334~8407) who at trial were permitted to testify to Bundy’s “unnerving” stare [Carla J. Black, (R8391)] and that his look “wasn’t friendly.” One co-ed, Mary Ann Picano, who danced with Bundy that night, was permitted to testify that he looked “like an ex-con” she was scared of him (R 8407).”

Ted Bundy Confessed to Killing 30 Women & You Can Listen to His Confessions

Ted Bundy confessed to the murders of 30 women. He was sentenced to death in the murders of three women and suspected in dozens more. Some of Bundy’s chilling confessions can be heard on tape. You can listen to portions of his confessions here.

“[I was] using a briefcase and crutches, and a young woman walked down,” Bundy said on a confession tape. “I saw her around the north end of the block into the alley, and asked her to help me carry the briefcase. When I reached the car, I knocked her unconscious with the crowbar. I handcuffed her and drove away.”

He said the woman was “unconscious but very much alive.”

“Then I again knocked her unconscious,” he said casually. “And strangled her.”

Ted Bundy was sentenced to death in the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach. He was executed January 24, 1989. You can read an appeal filed in his case just days before his execution here and an earlier appeal here.

Bundy confessed to investigators shortly before his death, giving some closure to the families of his victims.

In Florida, he was identified by witnesses and by a bite mark and other forensic evidence, according to an appeal filed in his case.

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