January 24 last week marked 31 years since Ted Bundy, one of the most notorious serial killers to have roamed the US, was executed via electric chair at the Florida State Prison for murdering and decapitating as many as 30 women.
His crimes, and therefore his eventual execution, became the subject of a media spectacle. Hundreds gathered outside the prison in the early hours of the morning to await the officials’ confirmation that he had been put to death, and when that signal did come, it sparked wild celebrations.
To hear it, many saw his death as the end to a reign of terror that had seen women across the country fear for their safety even in broad daylight, as well as justice to the victims who had been so brutally murdered by him.
Most of those who knew the victims personally, however, will admit they felt no such elation at his death and speak of how more than three decades later, his crimes still impact their daily lives.
But it’s arguably Bundy’s younger brother, Richard, who has been most impacted by the serial killer’s wanton lack of regard for human life, and who continues to be haunted by a man he had thought to be a loving, almost inspirational figure.
Richard was around 18 years younger than Bundy (Amazon Studios)
Richard was considerably younger to Bundy — he was around 18 years his brother’s junior — and as per his own admission, saw his brother as the ideal man who had it all in life and was someone he could aspire to become. Despite the age difference, the pair were inseparable as he grew up, and he would travel to Seattle — where Bundy was studying at the University of Washington — 2-3 times a month to be with him and go camping and boating. Bundy, who at the time was in a long-term relationship with girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall, would take him along with her and her young daughter Molly in and around Washington state, and those who knew them said Richard was adored and doted on by the serial killer.
Richard admitted he began sensing something was wrong when he was around 9 or 10-years-old and Bundy, completely out of character, sent him back home from Seattle earlier than expected because he had something “important to do.” Then, at the airport, the younger brother recalls seeing a “look” on Bundy’s face that seemed to convey he was “horrified” and “disgusted” about something he had done.
It all began falling apart following Bundy’s arrest for attempted kidnapping in Utah, as well as his multiple escapes from prison in the months that followed. Richard admits he had desperately clung on to the hope that his brother was innocent, but that the notion was becoming increasingly difficult to hold on to as more and more evidence emerged he was a psychopath who targeted and killed young and vulnerable women.
Richard said none of those good times make up for even one of Bundy’s murders (Amazon Studios)
Any feeling of goodwill that Bundy had cultivated between them during all those years they spent camping and having fun together evaporated by the time he was convicted of multiple first-degree murders and sentenced to death.
Richard said he cannot even bear to look at those pictures anymore, and that all of those good times did not make up for even one life that his brother took, let alone 30. It’s apparent that Bundy’s crimes still weigh heavily on the younger brother, who now spends his days living in a small trailer with barely enough space to walk around.
“Some things make me really depressed, almost in a debilitating way,” he said. “I will sit in this chair for days. I’ll sometimes stay in this camper for two, three days at a time. I don’t know. I’m not really afraid of not having a normal life. I’ve gotten used to life being [this way.] I don’t recommend it to everyone, to live life precariously, but if I know I have enough to keep shelter and food for my cat and I, that’s the most important thing.”
Richard Bundy’s story will be explored by Amazon’s ‘Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer,’ which will attempt to reframe the infamous serial killer’s crimes from the perspective of his then-longtime girlfriend, her daughter, and the women who knew his victims.
It promises to uncover his “disturbing and profound” hatred of women and how it happened to coincide with the feminist movement and culture wars of the 1970s.
The docuseries will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on January 31.