On January 15, 1978, Ted Bundy entered the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University. He was running from the law at the time, and, in the words of Rolling Stone, was ravenous for another kill.
By the time he entered the bedroom of roommates Kathy Kleiner and Karen Chandler, he had already taken two lives: Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy.
Kleiner explained to Rolling Stone about that night, “I remember the noise of the trip and something falling off the trunk, and that woke me up… The room was dark, and I didn’t have my glasses on, but I remember seeing a black mass. I couldn’t even see that it was a person. I saw the club, saw him lift it over his head, and slam it on me.”
He then slammed it into her roommate. Bundy continued to assault the two girls until light flooded into the second-floor bedroom– it came from the headlights of a car that was dropping off another sorority sister. At that point, Bundy raced out of the room and fled the house.
After leaving the sorority house, Bundy made his way to a basement apartment a mere eight blocks away. There, he attacked university student Cheryl Thomas. He dislocated her shoulder and fractured her jaw and skull in five places.
Speaking to ABC News’ 20/20, Debbie Ciccarelli, Thomas’ neighbor, explains, “I woke up to this loud banging sound. We could hear Cheryl moaning, whimpering, and I called Cheryl– we could hear the phone ringing… she wasn’t answering her phone, and that’s what possessed me to call the police department.”
Thomas, herself, says, “He came in through my kitchen window. He had worn hose over his face. He pulled that off and that was dropped on my floor. If I did not have my neighbors calling, I don’t think I would have survived.”
When police investigated Thomas’ room, they found a semen stain on her bed, along with the aforementioned pantyhose mask he was wearing. The mask contained embedded hairs that resembled Bundy’s.
It took Thomas a couple days to wake up in the hospital. According to Ann Rule’s book, The Stranger Beside Me, Thomas was left with permanent deafness. She also had to end her dance career- she was a dance major at the time.
In June 1979, Bundy stood trial for the assaults. According to Rule, 250 reporters from five continents covered the trial. Chi Omega sorority members Connie Hastings and Nita Neary took the stand to testify against Bundy.
On July 24, 1979, Bundy was convicted of the Bowman and Levy murders, as well as three counts of attempted murder (for Kleiner, Chandler, and Thomas.) He was sentenced to death by trial judge Edward Cowart.