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Ted Bundy Was Competent At 1980 Murder Trial, Judge Rules

December 17, 1987 GMT

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Ted Bundy ″is the most competent serial killer in the country at this time,″ a federal judge said today in ruling that Bundy was mentally competent during a 1980 murder trial in Orlando.

U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp said at the end of a four-day hearing that there was no evidence Bundy was incompetent to stand trial for the 1978 murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach.

In his verbal ruling, Sharp strongly criticized the federal appellate system, which he said prolonged appeals of death row inmates to the detriment of the legal process.


The judge called Bundy a ″diabolical genius″ who was able to understand the charges against him and aid in his defense.

Sharp, apparently angered by the 11th District Court of Appeal ruling that ordered him to hold a competency hearing, said: ″The system has to change somewhere to keep it from becoming this cumbersome. ... They either should abolish the death penalty itself or change the procedure.″

″Everyone knows that competency was not on trial here,″ Sharp said. ″The death penalty is. The only reason he (Bundy) is here is because of the penalty itself.″

Dr. Charles B. Mutter, an expert in forensic psychiatry from Miami, testified Wednesday that everything Bundy did as a defendant and sometime lawyer was well planned.

The 40-year-old Bundy is under death sentence for three Florida murders: that of the Lake City seventh-grader and two female students at Florida State University.

The slayings of Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy in what has come to be known as the Chi Omega case took place in January 1978, three weeks before the Leach kidnapping and murder.

Bundy also is suspected in a series of disappearances and killings of pretty young women in several Western states.

During the competency hearing, defense witnesses described Bundy as a disinterested defendant who interfered with his lawyers rather than assisted them in his defense.

They said that Bundy was provided alcohol by his fiancee in flip-top juice cans, that he was intoxicated at least twice during the trial and that he took several Valium tranquilizers and other pills daily.

An appellate court ordered the competency hearing in November 1986, just seven hours before Bundy was to die in Florida’s electric chair for the Leach murder.

Bundy had earlier received two stays of execution in the Chi Omega case.