ABC-CLIO

The Last Murder

The Investigation, Prosecution, and Execution of Ted Bundy

by George R. Dekle, Sr.

 

While awaiting execution, America's most notorious serial killer Ted Bundy confessed to having murdered 12-year-old Kim Leach. But the details of his confession turn out to be false. What were his motivations for lying? And how do investigators get down to the truth? In this case, details like a handful of sand and a pile of mildewed cigarette butts helped reveal the truth.

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Cover image for The Last Murder

May 2011

Praeger

Pages 263
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Crime/General

This eye-opening book uses the case of Ted Bundy to show how a case against a serial killer is investigated, how problems common to such cases are overcome, and how the prosecution team marshals and presents the evidence at trial.

The Last Murder: The Investigation, Prosecution, and Execution of Ted Bundy follows the facts and circumstances of Kim Leach's disappearance and the investigation and prosecution of Ted Bundy in rough chronological order, from Bundy's escape from a Colorado jail in 1977 to his execution at Florida State Prison in 1989. It provides an inside look at the intricacies and complications of this historic case that spanned many states and jurisdictions, documenting how unselfishness and dogged determination were key to solving the case.

The story is told from the vantage point of one intimately involved in both the investigation and prosecution of the criminal, clearly showing how friction between agencies can impede the investigation and how cooperation can expedite a solution. The book emphasizes the important role played by circumstantial evidence and forensic science, explores the impact of pervasive publicity upon such an investigation, critiques the investigation and prosecution of Bundy, and offers suggestions on how—and how not—to deal with "celebrity killers" in the future.

Features

  • Major figures in the investigation and prosecution vetted the descriptions of events in which they were involved
  • Extensive newspaper clippings, the prosecution trial brief, the FDLE case file, and portions of the actual trial transcript served as sources of reference for the book
  • Illustrated with photographs of evidence, crime scene diagrams, and charts demonstrating the relationship of various items of evidence

Highlights

  • Describes how sociopathic defendants manipulate the criminal justice system and disrupt criminal prosecutions
  • Examines issues related to interagency cooperation in the prosecution of peripatetic serial killers
  • Demonstrates the importance of forensic science to both the investigation and the prosecution of serial murderers
  • Shows how attention to minutiae can make the difference in solving cases and how seemingly insignificant errors can impede a prosecution
Author Info

George R. Dekle, Sr., is a retired prosecutor who now serves as legal skills professor at University of Florida Levin College of Law, Gainesville, FL. His published works include Prosecution Principles: a Clinical Handbook and Cross Examination Handbook: Persuasion, Strategies, and Technique.

Reviews/Endorsements

Endorsements

"Bob Dekle has written a true-life murder mystery about the arrest and prosecution of serial killer Ted Bundy that will fascinate both seasoned lawyers and arm-chair detectives. Dekle takes the reader 'behind the scenes' to show that homicide investigations are arduous, unglamorous processes that can be sidetracked by both dead end leads and bureaucratic pettiness and that the resulting trials often experience unexpected legal and evidentiary potholes. Bundy’s eventual conviction is a testament to dogged hard work by Dekle, his fellow prosecutors and assisting law enforcement." —Judge Michael D. Marcus (ret.), Author of Trial Preparation for Prosecutors, Third Edition

"A riveting narrative, Dekle gives the reader a harrowing mystery with layer upon layer of intrigue. Readers gain an introspective view of the desperate search for evidence, diligent trial preparation and manipulations of one of America’s most famous sociopaths, Ted Bundy, as law enforcement officers seek to end his reign of terror. Suspense, horror and anticipation lead you through a story that delivers a shocking twist and solves a puzzle that had previously been thought to have already been pieced together. Attention grabbing and scintillating, Dekle has shared a tale of absolute truth that will linger with the reader long after reaching the conclusion."—D. Shane Read, Law Professor and Author of Award-Winning Textbook Winning at Trial

"Bob Dekle has proven not only to be an excellent prosecutor, but a compelling story teller as well. Dekle’s insider account provides the reader with never before published details of the investigation and prosecution of Ted Bundy’s final homicide. The Last Victim is a fascinating account of how the efforts of dedicated and tenacious police, crime laboratory scientists, and prosecutors combined with just plain good luck to result in the execution of America’s most notorious serial murderer."—Jerry M. Blair, State Attorney (retired), Third Judicial Circuit of Florida

"Bob Dekle, the last Ted Bundy District Attorney, uniquely and accurately describes the arrest and prosecution of the most notorious serial killer of our time in his book, The Last Murder. Dekle is highly qualified to spin the final Bundy story. His work on this book has informed the mainstay of Bundy aficionados of information absent from their many Bundy literary collections. The truth about Bundy’s last murder has never been so keenly written."—Robert D. Keppel, PhD, University of New Haven, Criminal Justice Department; Coauthor of The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt the Green River Killer

"The Last Murder is a compelling first-hand account of the investigation, trial and execution of Ted Bundy. Dekle’s recounting of these events is suspenseful, riveting, and served with a touch of Southern wit and grace. Dekle is as exceptional a storyteller as he was an exceptional prosecutor of the notorious serial killer."
—Ronald Clark, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, Seattle University School of Law, Coauthor of Trial and Pretrial Advocacy, and former Senior Training Counsel for the National College of District Attorneys at the National Advocacy Center

"The Last Murder provides readers an insider’s look at the prosecution of one of America’s most infamous serial killers, Ted Bundy. The book also offers a compelling account of the challenges facing a young prosecutor in a high profile murder case. Dekle’s book should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand how the criminal justice system really operates."—Rodney J. Uphoff, Elwood Thomas Missouri Endowed, Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law and Author of Ethical Problems Facing the Criminal Defense Lawyer: Practical Answers to Tough Questions

"The Last Murder is a meticulous and homespun account of the final prosecution of America’s most notorious villain. Dekle’s wisdom, humility, and humanity shine through an otherwise tragic and horrific chapter in modern criminal justice. The reader learns not only how the investigation and prosecution of a complex circumstantial case is put together, but also the terrifying truth that there is often a gap between what we know and what we can prove."—Michael L. Seigel, Research Foundation Professor of Law, University of Florida, Editor of Race to Injustice: Lessons Learned From the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case

"George R. Dekle has done a great service in providing his first-hand knowledge of the events that finally ushered Theodore Bundy into the electric chair. The Last Murder is a comprehensive look into the killer’s final crime, and the ultimate destruction of the madman. As such, it is a must-read for those who desire an in-depth look at what it took to bring this diabolical killer to justice, and generations of students of Bundy’s murder spree in Florida will forever be grateful."

—Kevin M. Sullivan, Author of The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History

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