true crime

No one was more charmed by Ted Bundy than the judge who sentenced him.

Ted Bundy was one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century.

But he also would’ve made a great lawyer, according to Judge Edward D. Cowart, the Florida judge who sentenced Bundy to death in 1979.

Cowart’s comments feature in Netflix’s new documentary Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.

“You’re a bright young man,” Cowart said in an exchange with Bundy, who studied law, after his sentencing.

“You’d have made a good lawyer. I’d have loved to have you practice in front of me. But you went another way, partner.”

That other way led to Bundy becoming infamous as a serial killer and rapist linked to the killings of at least 30 women across seven US states.

Ted Bundy is one of the most well-known American serial killers of the 20th century. Image: Getty, 1978.
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Conversations with A Killer focuses on a man whose personality, good looks and social graces defied the serial killer stereotype, allowing him to hide in plain sight as he committed his many brutal sex-crime murders before being caught in 1978.

His charm was not lost on Cowart, who presided over Bundy's 1979 trial for the murder of two students at Florida State University sorority house Chi Omega.

Cowart described Bundy's crimes as the evil acts that they were but also, taken in by his charm, offered sympathetic remarks in court before the convicted killer was taken away.

"The court finds that both of these killings were indeed heinous, atrocious and cruel, and that they were extremely wicked, shockingly evil and the product of a design to inflict a high degree of pain and utter indifference to human life... It is ordered that you be put to death by a current of electricity, that that current be passed through your body until you are dead," Coward said at the end of the trial.

"Take care of yourself, young man," he added. To that, Bundy said "thank you."

"I say that to you sincerely; take care of yourself, please," Cowart continued. "It's a tragedy for this court to see such a total waste, I think, of humanity that I have experienced in this court."

It was then that he lamented Bundy choosing murder over a law career.

"I don't have animosity to you. I want you to know that. Once again, take care of yourself."

Cowart died of a heart attack in 1987 while Bundy was still on death row.

Bundy was executed on January 24, 1989.

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