Criminal Justice Paper on Ted Bundy

Case summary

Ted Bundy was a notorious serial killer in the United States who specialized in the murder of young women. During the 1970s when he was a young man, Ted Bundy raped and murdered scores of women in the different states across the country. According to Wheaton (2017), Ted was responsible for more than 30 murder incidences, but evidence suggests that he murdered close to a hundred women. However, after his conviction of the murder charges, Ted was executed in Florida’s through an electric chair in 1989. Many writers and film producers developed novels and films respectively through the inspiration of Ted Bundy. Ted’s first murder victims were based in Washington. Later, Ted shifted his location to Utah and Colorado. Finally, Ted was convicted when he started to kill victims in Florida. Bundy’s first arrest was in Utah; however, he escaped custody and continued his killing spree in Colorado and Florida. Ted’s final arrest was in Florida when traffic police stopped him due to possible traffic violations. However, Ted decided to speed off when ordered to stop, but the police managed to catch and arrest him in 1978. The police found a crowbar, handcuffs, ropes and a mask inside the trunk of his Volkswagen vehicle.

According to Wheaton (2017), Ted Bundy’s choice of victims was young women who resembled his ex-girlfriend. Ted was previously involved in a relationship with a young woman who came from a wealthy background. However, Wheaton (2017) states that the woman decided to end the relationship because Ted did not seem to be able to take care of her. The breakup with the girlfriend is a possible reason why Ted decided to murder other women. His choice of women were young women on school campuses. According to Crime Museum (2017), Ted Bundy became more confident after the break-up. He even managed to get a degree in psychology at the University of Washington in 1972. Ted began to rape and kill innocent young women in 1974. During this time, he was confident, financially stable and active in political and social matters. His participation in the election of the Governor of Washington enabled him to get a state recommendation from the office of the Governor (Wheaton, 2017).

During the early 1970s when Ted was an active political and social activist, many women began to disappear in Seattle and Oregon. During this time, police could not link him to the murders. Later, he moved to Utah to attend law school, and more women started to disappear. In the year 1974, when Ted settled in Salt Lake City, he tried to rape and murder Carol DaRonch who managed to escape and report the case to the police (Wheaton, 2017). In the same day, Ted attacked and murdered Debbie Kent. The following year in 1975, the police arrested Ted Bundy for the murder and attack of Carol DaRonch. The courts convicted him to 15 years in prison; however, in 1977, Ted escaped custody when he was escorted to the court house to answer to the charges of murder of a Colorado woman. However, the police managed to arrest Ted after eight days (Wheaton, 2017).

According to the Crime Museum (2017), Ted managed to escape by shedding more than 30 pounds in mass to fit into a hole that he made on the ceiling. The authorities were unable to notice that Ted was missing from his cell for more than 15 hours. Ted escaped to Florida where he attacked four young women, two of whom died because of the attack. Finally, Ted was arrested the following month in February. His last victim was a 12 year-old-girl named Kimberly Leach (Wheaton, 2017). Bundy faced the death penalty through electrocution in Florida State Prison.




Ted Bundy was born on November 24th, 1946 (Wheaton, 2017). He was born as Theodore Robert Cowell in Burlington, Vermont. However, Ted did not know that Louise Cowell was, in fact, his birth mother and not his sister. Ted grew up thinking that his grandparents were his real biological parents.  Despite the fact that Ted came from a financially-challenged background he was a great performer in school activities. His high grades enabled him to go to The University of Puget Sound where he got involved with a rich girl who shared the same interests in Skiing. However, the girl broke the relationship in 1968 after deciding that Ted was not the right man for her. Later, Ted decided to enrol at the University of Washington to escape the harsh realities of financial challenges (Wheaton, 2017).

When Ted Bundy started to kill campus women in the early 1970s, he used the same technique of luring the women into his vehicle. Ted would often pose as a police officer or a fireman. His good facial features prevented potential victims from thinking that he was, in fact, a serious serial killer. Also, he would put a cast on his arms or legs and pretend that he was fractured his arms of legs (Wheaton, 2017). He would then persuade women to help him put some bags in his car. During the incidence, Ted would smack the women in the head with a crowbar and tie them in the trunk of his vehicle. Later, he would rape and sodomize the women. According to Crime Museum (2017), Ted would continue to rape the women even after death. He would bury their bodies in nearby forests to prevent detection. It is surprising to note that Ted chose to murder women who resembled his first love. Additionally, all the women that Ted murdered had a split in their head to divide their hair into two.

Criminology theory

The social control theory is an example of a criminology theory that can explain the actions of Ted Bundy. The social control theory holds that every human being can commit criminal behaviours in the community (Britt & Gottfredson, 2003). However, people’s relationships, beliefs, values and cultural norms prevent people from committing the crime.  If people do not have strong relationships with other family and community members, or does not believe in morals and religious beliefs, it is possible that the individual will commit the crime. People refrain from criminal practices to remain relevant in the community. The law forbids people from committing heinous acts (Britt & Gottfredson, 2003). However, for example, in the case of Ted Bundy, his discovery of his true identity and his failed relationship with his first lover led Ted to commit the crime. Ted developed negative feelings towards his family because of his detachment from his mother. Additionally, Ted’s grandfather was a violent man who would kill animals for pleasure. According to Wheaton (2017), Ted developed a fascination for knives when he was a young child because of his grandfather’s actions.

Three-part typology


Ted Bundy was highly motivated to kill members of the opposite sex. First, his motivation to kill was based on the desire to gain power. His desire to gain power can also be seen in his desire to study law and engage in political affairs. Ted Bundy wanted to gain power by killing young innocent girls. He was an intellectual and handsome man, making it easy to deceive young girls. Furthermore, his motivation to kill is linked by his desire to revenge. Before his killing spree, Ted Bundy was in love with a young and beautiful girl from a financially stable family. However, the young lady left him because of his inability to take care of her. Therefore, Ted decided to take revenge by murdering young girls who were facially similar to his previous lover. Furthermore, his mother had deceived him into believing that she was his sister. Ted Bundy had anger issues towards the opposite sex.


Ted Bundy often chose to kill young women who were campus students. First, he killed women around the University of Washington. Secondly, he killed more women near the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Also, Ted Bundy killed more campus ladies in their hostel rooms.


Ted Bundy was a very organized serial killer whom the police took years to identify. The police are yet to identify the remains of some of his victims. Also, Ted Bundy had previously identified himself as a ‘master of PhD in serial murders. He attended law school and therefore knew how to bypass the law. Furthermore, he had removed the passenger seat in his car to create space for transporting victims without detection.


Ted Bundy goes in history as one of the most brutal serial murders in the United States. Ted’s victims failed to detect the murderous intentions because he was charming and handsome. His facial appearance made it easy to lure young girls through deception. However, Ted Bundy was battling psychological issues, such as finding out that his sister was, in fact, his birth mother. Also, Ted’s grandfather was an evil man who would kill animals for pleasure. It is possible that he may have picked his murderous traits from his grandfather judging by the fact that he had an obsession with knives at a young age. Also, his inability to sustain relationships made him liable to commit crimes because of rejection. After more than a decade, the police were able to get sufficient evidence to link Ted to the countless murders he committed. Finally, he was electrocuted in 1989 by the state prison.




Britt, C. L., & Gottfredson, M. R. (2003). Control theories of crime and delinquency. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Crime Museum. Ted Bundy. Retrieved from

Wheaton, W. (2017). Ted Bundy. Retrieved from