Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
The story behind America's most notorious serial killer
In 1969 Seattle, law student Ted Bundy meets Liz Kendall, a secretary and single mother. The two begin dating and Ted helps Liz raise her young daughter, Molly.
By 1974, news reports announce the murders of multiple young women, including two who disappeared in broad daylight at Lake Sammamish. A man resembling Ted was seen by several people asking women to help him load a sailboat onto a Volkswagen Bug. A composite sketch of the attacker is released and, following hundreds of phone calls, Ted is arrested in 1975.
Carol DaRonch picks Ted out of a police lineup, claiming he had kidnapped her and threatened to kill her before she managed to escape. Ted is released on bail, returning home to Liz who is upset after reading an article about him in the newspaper. Ted explains that Carol was shown his picture before the lineup took place, which is why he looked familiar to her, and believes he is being set up. After a four-day bench trial, Ted is found guilty of aggravated kidnapping and is sentenced to serve a minimum of one to a maximum of 15 years in the Utah State Prison.
A few weeks later, Colorado authorities charge Ted with the murder of Caryn Campbell and he is transferred to Aspen, Colorado in 1977. Liz refuses to believe Ted is guilty but the events start to take a toll on her, and she begins drinking alcohol regularly. While at Pitkin County Courthouse, Ted elects to serve as his own attorney and, as such, is excused from wearing handcuffs or leg shackles. During a recess, Ted escapes from the courthouse by jumping out of a second story window and running to the mountains but is recaptured after six days.
Liz visits Ted and ends their relationship. Ted later escapes again after sawing a square in his cell’s ceiling. Two women at a sorority house are murdered in Florida, followed by vicious attacks on two more. After Ted is arrested, he tries to contact Liz but she hangs up on him. He starts to receive a following of women who are fascinated by him, some even claiming they love him. Ted is visited by an old friend, Carole Ann Boone, who believes he is innocent and moves to Florida to be closer to him.
A pre-trial plea bargain is negotiated in which Bundy would plead guilty to killing the two sorority girls, Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman, and twelve-year-old Kimberly Leach, in exchange for a 75-year prison sentence instead of the death penalty. Ted refuses the bargain. Ted and Carole Ann grow closer as she visits him regularly; the two begin a relationship but Ted continues to reach out to Liz, who is following his trials via television. She carries the guilt of being the person who gave Ted’s name to the Seattle authorities in 1975. Ted later proposes to Carole Ann and they marry.
Incriminating physical evidence is provided in court, including a match of a plaster cast of Ted’s teeth to the impressions of bite wounds on Levy’s buttocks. In under seven hours, the jury convicts Ted of the murders of Levy and Bowman, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of burglary. Trial judge Edward Cowart imposes death sentences for the murder convictions to be carried out with an execution by electrocution.
Ten years later, Liz receives a letter from Ted and visits him, taking a photograph given to her by a detective. Liz demands the truth, but Ted continues to deny having anything to do with the murders. She then shows Ted the photograph — a crime scene image of one of his decapitated victims — and Ted admits that he sawed her head off. Liz leaves the prison in shock but is met outside by her teenage daughter and her husband, and she proclaims that she is okay.
As the film ends, archival footage and on-screen text say that Ted was executed in January 1989, aged 42 years old. Ted had confessed to over 30 murders days before and his ashes were scattered in the Cascade Mountains where he had deposited the remains of numerous victims.