LANTANA, Fla. -- The Weekly World News went on sale Monday at supermarkets across the country showing post-execution photos of serial killer Ted Bundy. Its editor defended the graphic pictures, saying they might deter other would-be killers.
'If it is a deterrent to one potential killer, then we were right to publish the photographs,' said Eddie Clontz, the managing editor of The National Enquirer's sister publication.
The photos of Bundy's corpse were featured in this week's edition of Weekly World News, and Clontz said, 'We consider them very, very important, historic photographs.'
Clontz refused to say how the tabloid obtained the photos of Bundy's corpse, and he disputed doubters who have claimed the photos may be fakes.
'When they see the photos they will know in fact that they are authentic. There will be no disputing it,' Clontz said.
'There is no way such photos could have been taken while the body was in our custody,' said Bob Mcmaster, spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections, which executed Bundy Jan. 24 in the state's electric chair for the sex-slaying of a 12-year-old girl.
'It was just a few minutes after the execution that the body was turned over to a funeral director for transport to the medical examiner's office in Gainesville,' Mcmaster said. He said the body was transported by the Doyle Archer Funeral Home.
Clontz said the photos of Bundy show where the electric current entered the killer's body. Bundy is suspected of killing as many as three dozen young women in a cross country rampage in the mid-1970s and was also under death sentnece in the slaying of two college women.
Clontz said the photos published Monday have been shown to the families of some of the victims. Eleanore Rose of Seattle, the mother of Bundy victim Denise Naslund, urged the Weekly World News to publish the photos, he said.
'We did discuss it with several of the victim's families,' he said. 'The reaction was mostly favorable.'
Clontz said those reactions form the basis of a follow-up story that the tabloid plans to print next week. Asked if the tabloid would print more photos, Clontz said, 'We printed three photos. I wouldn't want to say what else we have.'
Clontz said he hoped the controversial photographs would not create a backlash against the Weekly World News.
'Ted Bundy was one of the most heartless criminals of the century, if not of all time,' he said. 'We would look on it as a deterrent ... We feel very right in doing it.'
Clontz said the tabloid will distribute about 2 million copies of the edition featuring Bundy's corpse, or about 300,000 more copies than normal. 'We expanded the press run as much as we were able with our deadline,' he said.
Clontz said the company expects the issue to be a big seller.
'The photographs are certainly historic enough. I think they will be in the top three or four photos of the decade,' he said.
Weekly World News is published by GP Group Inc., which also publishes The National Enquirer.