Updated:
Original:
Year
1974
Month Day
February 01

Serial killer Ted Bundy strikes again

On this day in 1974, University of Washington student Lynda Ann Healy disappears from her apartment and is killed by Ted Bundy. The murder marked Bundy’s entry into the ranks of serial killers as he had recently attacked his first victim, Sharon Clarke, in her Seattle home. By the time he was finally captured on April 27, 1979, Bundy had become America’s most famous serial killer.

In the summer of 1974, Bundy attacked at least seven young women in Washington.Bundy’s victims looked remarkably similar to each other: Nearly all of them had long, dark hair parted in the middle. Those who knew him said that he was very smart and personable, and he used his charm to pick up his victims. In another gambit, he also used a fake cast on his arm to appear less threatening.

By the fall of1974, the disappearances of young women stopped in Washington and started in Utah after Bundy enrolled in law school in Salt Lake City. He later expanded his area of attack to Colorado and, on August 16, 1975, was arrested by police as he prowled a neighborhood in his Volkswagen.

In Aspen, Bundy was charged with murder but escaped out the window of the courthouse library. For eight days he eluded authorities on the outskirts of Aspen. When he was finally caught, Bundy was put in a jail cell, only to escape again on December 30, 1977, while awaiting trial.

Within two weeks, he had settled near Florida State University and began raping and killing more young women. This time, he didn’t bother trying to charm victims into his car. Two weeks after a sorority house attack, Bundy raped and strangled 12-year-old Kimberly Leachnear Jacksonville. Days later, Bundy was arrested while driving a stolen Volkswagen.

Bundy ably defended himself at trial, but the evidence, including teeth marks on one of his victims, condemned him to a death sentence in Florida. For the next 10 years, Bundy filed appeal after appeal to avoid the electric chair. This was unsuccessful, and he eventually confessed to 36 murders. When he was executed on January 24, 1989, thousands of people came to cheer outside the Florida State Prison.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

First session of the U.S. Supreme Court

In the Royal Exchange Building on New York City’s Broad Street, the Supreme Court of the United States meets for the first time, with Chief Justice John Jay of New York presiding. The U.S. Supreme Court was established by Article Three of the U.S. Constitution, which took effect ...read more

Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran

On February 1, 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran in triumph after 15 years of exile. The shah and his family had fled the country two weeks before, and jubilant Iranian revolutionaries were eager to establish a fundamentalist Islamic government under Khomeini’s ...read more

Nixon announces his candidacy for president

Richard M. Nixon announces his candidacy for the presidency. Most observers had written off Nixon’s political career eight years earlier, when he had lost to John F. Kennedy in the 1960 election. Two years after losing to Kennedy, Nixon ran for governor of California and lost in ...read more

Mormon president goes underground

John Taylor, the president of the Mormon Church, goes “underground” to avoid arrest and continue resisting federal demands for reforms within the community of Latter-day Saints. A former Methodist minister, Taylor converted to Mormonism in 1836, not long after Joseph Smith ...read more

Texas secedes

On this day in 1861, Texas becomes the seventh state to secede from the Union when a state convention votes 166 to 8 in favor of the measure. The Texans who voted to leave the Union did so over the objections of their governor, Sam Houston.A staunch Unionist,Houston’s election in ...read more

Japanese begin evacuation of Guadalcanal

On this day, Japanese forces on Guadalcanal Island, defeated by Marines, start to withdraw after the Japanese emperor finally gives them permission. On July 6, 1942, the Japanese landed on Guadalcanal Island, part of the Solomon Islands chain, and began constructing an airfield. ...read more