Lawyers tell how Bundy talked himself into death sentence


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Two public defenders once fired by Ted Bundy told a federal judge the serial sex killer deliberately sabotaged his murder defense and a plea bargain that would have spared him from Florida's electric chair.

Edward Harvey, a public defender who represented Bundy at his 1979 trial for killing two Florida State University sorority sisters, and public defender Michael Minerva, the chief counsel until Bundy fired him, appeared Thursday at a hearing into Bundy's mental ability to stand trial and be his own lawyer.


Bundy, at his first court appearance since 1980, sat impassively through the hearing before U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp, uttering only 'Yes' and 'No' to the few questions asked of him.

The hearing, which Sharp recessed until Dec. 14, was ordered by the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals, which on Nov. 18, 1986, stayed the 40-year-old former Utah law school dropout's last date with Florida's electric chair.

Bundy's competency is only one of more than 20 issues raised by his current attorney, Jim Coleman.

Florida prosecutors contend that since Bundy willingly waived all rights to the insanity defense at his original trials, he should not be allowed to raise the issue nearly a decade later.


Harvey told how Bundy blew an agreement to a life sentence during his trial for the slaying of Chi Omega sorority sisters Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman.

The agreement was hammered out with judges and prosecutors and was seen as Bundy's only hope of avoiding the electric chair.

'It was devastating in that we had one chance to save his life, and that went down the drain,' Harvey said.

'I considered that the evidence the state had, combined with a great amount of pretrial publicity, made it highly likely the state would secure convictions ... and it was very likely Mr. Bundy would receive several death sentences,' Minerva told the court.

But after signing the plea agreements moments before entering court to submit them under the condition he make no statement that could jeopardize their legal validity, Bundy instead stood up and filed a motion to fire Minerva for incompetence.

Minerva said, 'After he sat back down at the table with me, Ted and I sort of whispered and I said, 'Now that you have all that off your chest, do you want to go ahead and enter the pleas?'

'The prosecutor sitting right down the table from us leaned over and said, 'Forget it. The deal's off.''


Bundy's latest death warrant was signed for the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach of Lake City, who disappeared 31 days after Levy and Bowman were slain Jan. 15, 1978, as they slept in the Chi Omega sorority house near the FSU campus in Tallahassee.

Bundy is also a suspect in up to 36 other murders of young women, most of them in the Pacific Northwest, in a cross-country rampage in the 1970s.

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