Ted Bundy's videotaped interview with a fundamentalist Christian psychologist James Dobson shortly before his January execution amounted to an 11th-hour "con game" on the part of the serial killer, a former friend of Bundy says.
Ann Rule, whose book about Bundy, "The Stranger Beside Me," is now in its 17th printing, made the comment in an interview at Utah State University, where she was speaking this weekend to the League of Utah Writers.Rule said she believes two agendas were operative in Dobson's interview, in which Bundy expressed remorse and blamed pornography for ultimately leading him to murdering dozens of women in five Western states, including eight in Utah.
"Dr. Dobson wanted someone to testify against booze and pornography, and Ted wanted to leave us all talking about him. He wanted to blame someone else for his crimes, and by saying it was us who left all those bad magazines on the racks, he became innocent in his own mind," Rule said Saturday.
She believes Bundy killed many more women than he admitted to in his confession, and that details about where some of his Utah victims were buried were possibly "a scheme to send police out slopping through the mud in vain, something Ted would enjoy."
Rule said she has received calls from many women who have purchased copies of the Dobson interview for $29.95 and say they have fallen in love with Bundy as they watched it over and over again.
"They see compassion and sadness in his eyes, but they are grieving for a shadow man who never existed," she said. "They must realize they were conned by a master con man."
For two years, starting in 1971, Rule was a volunteer with a crisis center in Seattle working alongside Bundy, then a student.
She said Bundy was warm and sensitive with callers, and "we saved lives together."
But she said she later learned that after she left, Bundy would often turn the telephones off and sleep the rest of his shift.
A former opponent of the death penalty, Rule said her own view has changed through her experience with Bundy and "other sadistic sociopaths" she has met and written about.
"Although part of me still cared for this long-time friend, I felt he had to die because Ted would have found a way to get out and then there would have been a blood bath," Rule said.
Bundy was angry when Rule's book first came out in 1980, but she said he kept in touch with her until three years ago.
"I got a lump in my throat and felt nauseous when I knew he was dead, and I said a little prayer because I knew he would need a lot of help when he got to the other side," she recalled.
Several days after Bundy died in Florida's electric chair, Rule said she signed a $3.2 million publishing contract. She has since updated her Bundy book.
She acknowledges that her friendship with Bundy boosted her career.
Rule said it was a case of being "in the right place, at the right time with the right background."