The murder trial of Theodore Robert Bundy moved to the defense today after four weeks of testimony in which the prosecution called 49 witnesses to try to prove he killed two Florida State University students.
Bundy, 32, is on trial in Miami for the killing of Lisa Levy, 20, and Margaret Bowman, 21, both of St. Petersburg, Fla., as they slept in their beds in the Chi Omega house on the Florida State campus, in Tallahassee in January 1978. The trial was moved 485 miles to Miami because of intense pretrial publicity.
The prosecution rested its case late Thursday. During eight days of testimony, sorority sister Nita Neary told how she entered the sorority house after a date about 3 a.m. and saw a man leaving the front door of the house with a club in his hand.
Her description of the man was given to police and she detailed his profile to a police artist the next day. The sketch, introduced as evidence in the trial, bore remarkable resemblance to Bundy. Neary positively identified him from photographs, and in the courtroom she identified Bundy as the man she saw in the Chi Omega house that night.
A laboratory expert testified that two hairs taken from a panty hose mask found in the apartment of Cheryl Thomas, six blocks from the Chi Omega house, where "birtually identical" with hairs taken from Bundy's head. Thomas was severely beaten in her sleep less than an hour after the Chi Omega murders.
Levy was severely beaten as she lay in her bed. The killer then strangled her and bit her on the right breast and the left buttock. He left two clear bite impressions on her buttock, which were photographed and examined by two forensic odontologists, Dr. Richard Souviron, of Coral Gables, Fla., and Dr. Lowell J. Levine, of the University of New Mexico.
They used poster-sized photographic enlargements of Bundy's teeth and the bite marks to demonstrate to the jury how "peaks and valleys" in the edges of the teeth correspond point for point with marks in the bites.
The defense opened with a rebuttal witness, Dr. Dwayne DeVore, of the University of Maryland's School of Dentistry. DeVore produced plaster casts of five sets of teeth -- one of Bundy, four of other persons, which he said, closely matched the bite marks found on Levy's body.
Under cross-examination, however, DeVore admitted that the other four casts where taken from persons aged from 11 to 13 years. All four of the casts showed teeth that included 12-year molars, which are normally lost as children grow older.
Prosecutor Larry Simpson asked on cross-examination: "Could Mr. Bundy's teeth have made that bite mark [on Levy's buttock]?"
DeVore said, "I concluded that it could not be excluded"
"So you're testifying that the defendant's teeth could have left the bite marks on Lisa Levy's buttock?"
"It is consistent with it," DeVore said.
"Could his teeth have made the bite mark in Lisa Levy's buttock?" Simpson insisted.
"I believe so, yes," DeVore conceded.
Defense attorney Ed Harvey quickly tried to rescue the situation, eliciting from DeVore statements that there were many similarities between the children's tooth models and bite marks on Levy's body.
Simpson was not to be denied. "do you know if any of these children lived in Tallahassee in January 1978? he asked.
DeVore shook his head. "No, I don't," he said.
"Do you know if any of those children were in Sherrod's [bar] in the night of January 14?" Sherrod's is next door to the Chi Omega house on several witnesses put Bundy there hours before the murders.
"DeVore shook his head again.
"No further questions," Simpson said.
Bundy was so upset over the way the case developed that he asked Judge Edward Cowart to let him take over his case as his own attorney, with his five other lawyers as "backup." This request was denied Bundy was a second-year law student at the University of Utah.