Nation: The Case of the Chi Omega Killer

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In the course of the investigation, police officers searching through his credit card receipts found that he had also been close to the scene of several recent murders in Colorado. After strands of hair from his car were identified as coming from Caryn Campbell, 24, a Michigan nurse who was murdered while on a ski vacation in Colorado in 1975, Bundy was extradited to Aspen for trial early in 1977. Late that year, he escaped by losing 35 Ibs. and wriggling through a lighting panel in his maximum-security cell.

Eight days later he took a room at a boarding house five blocks from the Chi Omega sorority in Tallahassee. Early one morning, according to the state, he bludgeoned the four women, killing Lisa Levy, 20, and Margaret Bowman, 21. Then, police say, he walked six blocks to a duplex and attacked a fifth young woman, who survived.

The prosecution's case against Bundy is largely circumstantial. Last week's testimony from one of the state's chief witnesses, former Chi Omega Sister Nita Jane Neary, 21, was out of the jury's hearing because its validity was challenged by Bundy. She claimed to have seen him fleeing the sorority house after the murders. But she admitted that the intruder wore a stocking cap pulled down over his ears and that she saw him for only about three seconds and only in profile as he paused briefly at the door. In 3½ hours of grueling crossexamination, she also admitted that she had been at a drinking party that evening and was feeling unwell. However, last Friday Judge Edward Cowart ruled that her testimony could be used as evidence before the jury.

The prosecution's other key evidence is a photograph of bite marks on Lisa Levy's buttocks. The state's expert witness, Dr. Richard Souviron of Coral Gables, told a seminar of pathologists last fall that Bundy's teeth perfectly fit the impressions found on the victim. But bite-mark testimony has rarely been used as evidence in trials.

Bundy is also seeking to block sworn depositions of his conversations with policemen shortly after his arrest. Although Bundy denied killing anyone, several statements seemed to reveal a man who had much to hide. According to a sheriffs officer, Bundy said that he had a "desire to cause great bodily harm to females" and that he would like to be placed in an institution in Washington where he could be studied "for whatever aberrations he may possess."

Until this week, Bundy's defense had gone well. He managed to have the original judge removed as prejudiced, won a change of venue from Tallahassee to Miami, and had the trial postponed four times. He even got a leg manacle removed so that he could move freely about the courtroom.

If Bundy is acquitted, however, he will hardly be a free man. Along with the Colorado murder charge and his original prison sentence in Utah, he faces 67 felony counts in Florida for stolen credit cards, forgery and auto theft—and a murder charge in yet another case, the sex slaying of a twelve-year-old girl in Lake City, Fla.,in1978. ∎

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