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Crowd: 'Burn, Bundy, Burn!'

By
JANE SUTTON

STARKE, Fla. -- The largest death-watch crowd since Florida resumed executions in 1976 stood in the cold outside the state prison Tuesday to cheer the electrocution of serial killer Ted Bundy.

With a mood that conjured up visions of a public hanging in a Wild West movie, about 300 people gathered under a full moon, waiting impatiently for the prisoner to die at dawn.

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Many carried signs reading, 'Burn, Bundy, burn,' 'Roast in peace,' and 'Chi-O, Chi-O, it's off to hell I go.'

The last sign referred to three Chi Omega sorority sisters Bundy was convicted of killing at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Only a handful of anti-death penalty demonstrators showed up. They gathered in a part of the open field across a road from the rural prison, separated by a fence from the pro-death crowd.

Several Florida State students were in the crowd, mingling and huddling in blankets and coats.

'He's guilty as sin. It's taken 10 years too long,' said Erika Rosenbusch, a Florida State coed, referring to Bundy's 10 years on death row.

The crowd began arriving in carloads several hours before the scheduled 7 a.m. execution. At times they chanted 'Burn Baby Burn' and 'Burn Bundy Burn.'

Many had radios, some tuned to a Jacksonville radio station, where a disc jockey exhorted listeners to 'turn off your coffee pots about 7 to give them morejuice down in Starke.'

As a number of sparklers burned in the predawn darkness, many in the crowd sang, 'On top of Old Sparky, all loaded with juice' - a reference to the Florida electric chair, nicknamed 'Old Sparky.'

One young man, Dennis Ray of Graceville, Fla., said he had several friends who knew the slain coeds.

'We're dealing with an animal here,' he said.

Luke Daniel of Fernandina Beach, Fla., said he drove 70 miles to attend the execution.

As he watched some protesters of the death penalty waving a sign that read, 'All life is sacred,' he said, 'What about the life of the Leach girl,' the 12-year-old girl Bundy was convicted of raping and slaying.

'I believe there should be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I want to see justice carried out. He killed so many people,' Daniel Said.

A cheer went up when the crowd saw signals from witnesses that Bundy had been executed. One man waved the American flag.

Police arrested one man for disorderly conduct when he lit a string of firecrackers.

As dawn broke, the crowd began dispersing, many honking their car horns as they drove down the road away from the green prison complex.

Shortly after, a white hearse bearing Bundy's body drove by, on its way to Gainesville.

The crowd cheered.

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