Bundy and the Parkway Murders
The SandPaper (of Ocean City, N.J.)
Psychologist Says He Is the One
Ted Bundy’s Last Words
On the Jersey Shore
“I’m convinced that he did it. And I believe that it was the first two murders he got into. He had no reason to lie.” –
By WILLIAM KELLY
Shortly before serial-killer Ted Bundy was executed last month he was asked if he had murdered anyone in the state of New Jersey. He said no.
After Bundy died however, Dr. Arthur Norman, a forensic psychologist who had interviewed him on numerous occasions, was freed of the bond of confidentiality with his former patient. And Norman now says otherwise.
On October 31, 1986 on Death Row of the Florida State Penitentiary, Bundy talked with Norman about his trip to the East Coast in 1989 when he lived with his aunt in Philadelphia and attended Temple University.
Bundy, “…trying to get this thing from the East Coast to the West Coast. Sort of a symbolic transition. So he spent that whole winter going to New York and doing that thing on 42nd Street. You know, talk about getting pushed to the edge with the most sophisticated, explicit pornography available in this country. And everything else is going on.”
“So he decided to take a little bit of a jaunt to what they call the shore – the Jersey Shore. This is early summer (1969). So after being more or less detached from people for a long period, the preceding period of which he didn’t have any friends, didn’t go anyplace, just had school and entertained himself with this pornographic hobby, he drove to the shore and walked on the beach.”
“…He sees young women lying on the beach. It was like a kind of over-whelming kind of vision, which you know – Evidently he found himself tearing around the place for a couple of days. Eventually, without really planning anything, he picked up a couple of young girls, and it ended up it was the first time he had ever done it. So when he left for the coast, it was not just getting away, it was more like an escape.”
Ted Bundy said those things to Norman during one of a dozen interviews that stretched over some 50 hours. Norman was trying to get a psychological portrait of Bundy to determine whether he was competent to stand trial for the murder of two young women in Florida.
“This has to be put into proper context,” Norman said in a recent telephone interview from his Portland, Oregon office. “I don’t believe he was lying because he never lied to me again. This was a totally different kind of interview, not like one he had ever done before. He was talking about himself in the third person, then in the first person, and he was on a roll, so I just let him talk.”
When Norman fist heard Bundy discuss these things, he did not know that on Memorial Day weekend in 1969 Susan Davis and Elizabeth Perry, both 19-year old college students, were found dead in the woods along the Garden State Parkway, not far from the Ocean City beach and boardwalk.
“I’m convinced he did it,” Norman said. “And I believe that it was the first two murders that he got into. He had no reason to lie to me, and if he was lying, he had been saving this information for 20 years just to con somebody. Or is this just an amazing coincidence, that he just happened to be there on Memorial Day before he went back to the West Coast, and two girls disappeared in that area at the time? That is an amazing coincidence then, and I don’t think he had a little book of crimes that he knew about that he could use to throw his psychologist off. Everything else he told me has been borne out, so why should he lie just about that? I believe him.”
Law enforcement officials are less certain. The prosecutor in Atlantic County called Norman’s repot inconclusive. And it was not viewed as substantial enough to include the New Jersey case at an FBI conference this week in Virginia, where the law officers from around the country are re-examining a number of unsolved crimes in light of Bundy’s last-minute confessions.
Lt. Barry Robenson, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Police said, “The FBI is aware of our Perry-Davis double homicide, however, we were not invited or notified about the Bundy conference, and do not have anyone there.” He said that the meeting was limited to law enforcement officials who had strong evidence linking Bundy to certain crimes.
This case has long been lacking strong evidence. Police were frustrated from the start. Although the state police had Susan Davis’ 1965 blue Chevrolet convertible towed off the parkway hours after the murders, they didn’t locate the bodies until three days later, enough time to stifle any quick solution to the killings.
At the time of the original investigation, Raymond Perry, the father of one of the victims, defended the police work in a open letter saying, “I comprehend their quality quite more clearly than do other residents who presume to criticize them. This is not to suggest that every last man on the force is a Sherlock Holmes, but it was apparent to me, and I’m sure I can speak for Mr. Davis, that they are dedicated and competent people trying to do a job against great odds.”
More recently, Mr. Perry was interviewed by Dick Larson, a reporter for the Seatle Times. Larson, who wrote a book about Bundy called The Deliberate Stranger, which was made into a TV movie, said that now, after 20 years, the father can talk about his daughter’s death. “Mr. Perry, who is now retired and living near Seattle, insists that there was excellent law enforcement work and the officers involved did their very best,” said Larson.
“As far as Bundy is concerned, they were interested, but cautious, not knowing quite what to make of it,” he said. “You realized the oddity we have here. These folks, the Perrys, whose daughter has just been murdered in New Jersey, come out here to live in the Seattle area and settle down. Then they hear in the news here that we start having girls disappear, the victims all being young girls who all look quite a bit alike. There was absolutely no reason for them to think Bundy was in any way at all linked to the death of their daughter.”
They also told Larson that they did not believe Bundy’s life should have been spared if he cooperated with authorities by confessing to other, unsolved crimes.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey Blitz, who is currently responsible for the investigation of the case, said, “I spoke to Dr. Norman. He relayed information that he had interviewed Bundy years ago and that he had come to the conclusion that Bundy was responsible for the co-ed murders.”
“I asked him if Bundy said he did it, and Norman said no. But based on what Bundy said, Norman said he could draw the conclusion that Bundy was responsible. That’s not satisfying,” Blitz said. “There are no details. And in Bundy’s confession a couple of days before he was killed he said nothing about New Jersey.”
“It’s a piece of evidence, a piece of that will be looked at as any other new piece of evidence will be. But you have to talk it for what it’s worth.”
On the status of the investigation of the co-ed murders today, nearly 20 years after the fact, Blitz said, “It’s an unsolved case.”