Ted Bundy, the infamous American serial killer, abducted raped and murdered upwards of 30 women between 1973 and 1978. This month’s Zac Efron film “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” which comes hot on the heels of Netflix’s “The Ted Bundy Tapes”, has reignited interest in Bundy’s horrific story. Incredibly, one of his close friends was bestselling true crime author Ann Rule, who he met when they were both volunteering at a suicide helpline in 1971.
Ms Rule, an ex-policewoman, wrote about how Bundy’s affable exterior had charmed her, later admitting: “People like Ted can fool you completely.
“I’d been a cop, had all that psychology – but his mask was perfect.”
Their friendship continued throughout Bundy’s arrest and incarceration, with Ms Rule even trying to “save his life” when he was on death row.
While he was in prison, Rule and Bundy regularly wrote to each other, and Rule even hoped that she could persuade him to confess his crimes to her.
In her bestseller “The Stranger Beside Me”, Ms Rule wrote: “I tried, literally, to save his life.
“I began to phone Washington state agencies to try to arrange something that would allow Ted to confess to me, and, through plea bargaining, to be returned to Washington for confinement in a mental hospital.”
Although Ms Rule worked on trying to orchestrate a plea bargain, Bundy never pled guilty to his crimes, instead maintaining his innocence until his execution became inevitable.
Ms Rule was mistaken in her belief that Bundy would confess to her, too.
Although he spoke in horrific detail about his crimes to journalist Stephen Michaud, which chillingly feature in the Netflix documentary, Bundy did not actually begin to officially confess until just three days before he was eventually put to death.
Bundy managed to delay his execution by intentionally slowing down appeals procedures, even sacking his lawyer on the eve of one appeal hearing to stall the process.
He managed to get four stays of execution granted, one coming through a day before his scheduled execution in May 1986, and one just six hours beforehand in November that year.
The killer even offered to discuss other murders in which he was a suspect, in exchange for a stay of execution, up until five days before he was finally taken to the electric chair.
Bundy was eventually executed on January 24 1989, more than ten years after his 1978 conviction.
In 1999, Ms Rule told CBS: “I felt sick when Ted was executed – but I would not have stopped it if I could.
“He was going to get out, and he would have killed again and again and again.”
Bundy never confessed the true extent of his killing, and the total number of his victims remains unknown.
He was convicted on only three counts of murder, however investigators in his home state of Washington were pursuing leads related to Bundy on a number of cold cases as recently as 2018.