STARKE, FLA., JAN. 24 -- About 2,000 spectators gathered before dawn in the field across from Florida State Prison. They laughed and hooted and, after it was over, they cheered. "Burn Bundy" and "Toast Ted" read the T-shirts. Slogans on signs conveyed even stronger hate. One said, "Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue. Good Morning, Ted. We're Going to Kill You." At 7:16 a.m., Theodore Robert Bundy, who may have slain more people than any serial killer of the century, was pronounced dead in the electric chair. He had spent his final hours in prayer with a Methodist minister, then donned blue slacks and a pale blue prison-issue shirt before being escorted to the death chamber, where 42 witnesses watched his execution. Bundy's execution evoked a thirst for vengeance that many officials here said they had never experienced, even in Florida, where on average one person has been executed every six months for 10 years. As the hours ticked away early today, the atmosphere was that of a predawn party, an occasion of such magnitude that people arrived well before midnight to be guaranteed a vantage point along the prison fence although there was little to see until a scarf was waved from a door to signal the finish. In the crowd were a couple who brought their 6-year-old twin daughters. Craig Warren of Gainesville, Fla., held up a bedsheet, on which he had scrawled, "I Like My Ted Well-Done." "I came here to make a statement," he said. For those who were hungry, and many were, four women from Starke sold coffee and doughnuts. A man passed out electric-chair lapel pins. Bundy, 42, was convicted of killing three persons, including Kimberly Leach, 12, of Lake City, Fla., a sixth-grader kidnaped from the grounds of her school Feb. 9, 1978, three weeks after he killed two women at a sorority house at Florida State University. He was executed for killing the child. Last weekend, Bundy told visiting authorities that he had committed 23 murders in western states. He died without completing his story, and the precise total is unknown. He once suggested to police that the number could be "three digits." Virtually no one expressed sympathy for Bundy, and many of those who knew his victims expressed relief at his death. "Good," said Vivian Rancourt, mother of victim Susan Rancourt, of LaConner, Wash. "The only thing I can say is, thank God, it's finally over." Florida Gov. Bob Martinez (R), who signed the death warrant, said, "The people of Florida today administered justice. If there's ever been anyone on Florida's death row that deserved the electric chair, Ted Bundy was that individual." To some onlookers awaiting the execution, Bundy's nine years and 277 days on Death Row while his appeals were considered in various courts made a mockery of the judicial system. "I came here to see Ted get something he should have got a long time ago," said Mike Pitoiak of Orlando as about 40 opponents of capital punishment stood with lighted candles at the far edge of the crowd. "They're down there, we're here," said Harry Carroll of Safety Harbor, Fla. "You know, it's divided up, the pros and the cons," added Carroll, who drove three hours to stand with the pros. Bundy received word about midnight that the Supreme Court had denied his final appeals. The court voted, 6 to 3 and 5 to 4, to reject petitions involving the jury's understanding of its sentencing responsibilities. In a 7-to-2 vote, the court turned back a petition dealing with conduct by a lower-court judge. Prison spokesman Bob Macmaster said Bundy "was visibly shaken" at news that his appeals were exhausted. Bundy spent his final hours with the Rev. Fred Lawrence, a Methodist minister from Gainesville, Fla., who sat outside Bundy's cell. About 5 a.m., Bundy declined his final meal. He was brought to the death chamber at 7:04 a.m. and faced among the witnesses policemen who arrested and questioned him, prosecutors who convicted him and the highway patrolman who located Kimberly Leach's body six weeks after Bundy dumped it in a pigsty. Bundy's last words were directed to Lawrence and his attorney, James Coleman. "Jim and Fred, I'd like you to give my love to my family and friends," he said. Then he bowed his head and closed his eyes. A black leather veil was lowered in front of his face, and a hooded executioner, who was paid $150, pushed a button at 7:06 a.m., loosing 2,000 volts of electricity. Outside, when the scarf was waved, people cheered, and a man set off fireworks. As the crowd watched, a white hearse was backed up to a prison door. Fifteen minutes later, when the hearse left the prison gates and sped past the spectators' field, more cheers erupted. Randy Mackey, a state legislator from Lake City, Fla., who witnessed the execution, stopped by the Media Swamp to provide a report. "It was really a very sterile situation," he said. "I was in Vietnam, and I saw a lot of people die worse than he did." At a restaurant down the highway, a waitress was a little overwhelmed. "This is my first one," she said. "We're from Texas. They execute a lot of people in Texas, but I've never seen a crowd like this before. It kind of says something about humanity, don't it?"