‘Conversations with a Killer’ explores criminal chaos

Joe Brown, Reporter

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Ted Bundy, who was executed January 24, 1989, for the killing of 30 women, was unpredictable. He seemed to love the attention he got from the press and from being in the newspaper and court rooms. But when it came to the crimes of which he was accused he swore he was wrongly convicted. From the 1960s into the 70s, murder rates increased. Bundy was considered a conundrum among other serial killers. The new Netflix documentary series, “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” explores the long journey of capturing the violent, and reckless acts of Ted Bundy.

Bundy was a very odd and physically awkward kid in his childhood. He was insecure about his family’s poverty in a Seattle neighborhood. He also dealt with other significant problems as a child, like being rejected by his father and abandoned when he was younger. This shaped Bundy into the young man who went on to rape and murder several women. On various occasions he would break into a young woman’s house and attack them in their sleep.  One of his first victims, Karen Sparks, who survived one of Bundy’s vigorous beatings with a metal rod, made international headlines.

After a very long police investigation across Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, and Utah, Bundy’s disappearance shocked the public. Once the details of the case came out, the public was terrified that this man was still lurking in the streets.

In July 1974, two women disappeared on the same day at Lake Sammamish State Park, in Washington. At the Sundance Film Festival, multiple witnesses said they had seen a person who matched Bundy’s description but authorities had no physical evidence to pin on him. The police later found out that in the spring of 1974 the Bundy case had been assigned to a crime commission that was studying “The chaos and lack of consistency in police jurisdiction and the courtroom.” Some investigators say this disjointedness is the reason why Bundy was so good at being undetected;  he knew the weaknesses of the system so he exploited them and used them to his advantage.

This Netflix series is like a reality-based “Criminal Minds” episode.  It is a well-structured documentary showing several different point of view,  including actual recordings of Bundy while incarcerated. The personalities who worked the case are intriguing, and the show maintains momentum by revealing more and more frightening information up until the very end. The documentary is sourced by crime scenes photographs and materials, court case footage, and news coverage connected to the killings. The fact that Bundy  suffered multiple mental illnesses does not make some of the content easier to view. The series “Conversations with a killer: Ted Bundy Tapes” is a must watch, especially if you are looking for a show that explores the effectiveness of policing.

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