MIAMI, July 31, 1979
Theodore Bundy today was sentenced to die in the electric chair for the murder of two young women students at Florida State University.
As Bundy's mother and stepfather listened in the courtroom, Judge Edward Cowart also imposed two consecutive 99-year sentencees on Bundy for two counts of burglary of a dwelling.
He was convicted last Tuesday of seven counts, two of first degree murder, two of burglary of a dwelling and three of attempted murder in the first degree. Cowart held that the attempted murder charges were integral to the murder charges, and he imposed no sentences for those counts.
Bundy was fingerprinted in the courtroom as he stood before the bench, immediately after hearing sentence imposed. He is to be taken to the Florida State Prison at Raiford, about 40 miles southwest of Jacksonville, where he is to join about 135 other prisoners on Death Row briefly, before heading for another trial.
His death sentence and the entire trial and conviction will be sent automatically to the Florida Supreme Court for review, bypassing all intermediate courts. His two prison sentences are subject to appeal in the customary way.
As Cowart adjourned court, Bundy asked that his family be given some protection from the news media, and Judge Cowart ordered that the family be escorted from the courtroom through the protected back entrance.
As Bundy left the courtroom under heavy guard, Cowart told him, "Take care of yourself, young man. I mean that sincerely. It is a tragedy for this court to see the total waste of humanity that I've experienced in this trial. You're a bright young man. You would have made a grand lawyer. I'd have loved to have you practice in front of me, but you went another way, pardner. I have no animosity toward you. I want you to know that."
Bundy, a former law student, had argued several of his own motions during the trial.
Earlier, before sentence was passed. Bundy was allowed to make a statement to the court, holding forth for more than half an hour.
"The preface and the conclusion of what I have to say, your honor, is that I'm innocent of the crime of which I've been convicted."
With a voice increasingly unsteady, Bundy said, "I'm telling the people close to the victims that I'm not the one responsible. I'm not really able to accept the verdict. The jury erred in finding who committed [the crimes]. It is a sentence of someone who is not here today."