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Ted Bundy’s mug shots are a testament to the notorious serial killer’s ability to seamlessly alter his appearance as he stalked and killed women across the country — but one of the mug shots also reveals a clue to how Bundy finally landed behind bars for good.
In his mug shot taken in Pensacola, Florida, Bundy can be seen sporting a mustache and a bruise on his cheek.
The mark is evidence of the scuffle Bundy had with Pensacola Police officer David Lee in the early morning hours of Feb. 15, 1978 after Lee had pulled Bundy over for driving a stolen vehicle with no headlights on.
“I came up behind him and I activate my blue lights at the same time I am running the tag and the tag comes back as a stolen vehicle,” Lee recalled in the upcoming Amazon Prime docu-series “Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer,” premiering Jan. 31.
What Lee didn’t know at the time was that Bundy had been on the run for more than a month after breaking out of the Garfield County jail in Colorado on New Year’s Eve by climbing through a light fixture hole in his cell’s ceiling.
While on the run, Bundy had traveled to Florida where he snuck into the Chi Omega sorority house and brutally beat four women, killing two in the bloody rampage. Then he murdered 12-year-old Kimberly Leach in Lake City, after abducting the young girl from her middle school.
Lee was unaware of Bundy’s deadly killing spree when he pulled the stolen car over around 1:30 a.m. that morning after seeing the car pull out of a parking lot without any headlights on.
“I didn’t have a backup anywhere close by. There was only three of us working the entire city of Pensacola that night,” Lee would recall in the series. “I got him out of the car and had him laying on the pavement. He kept saying, ‘Officer, what’s wrong? ‘Officer, what’s wrong?’”
But Bundy wouldn’t go down without a fight.
“Initially when I was putting the handcuffs on him, he kicked my feet out from under me and struck me with a handcuff that had been placed on one wrist and of course knocked me off my feet and that’s when it started,” Lee said in a news clip played in the series.
Bundy took off running as Lee shouted “halt” at the fleeing suspect.
“Well, he turned and all I see was a nickel and thought it was a gun, so I leveled down and fired, so I said, ‘Oh my god, I’ve killed him,’” Lee recalled.
But as the officer approached Bundy to see whether he had been shot, the elusive killer grabbed his wrist and the pair began to struggle for Lee’s revolver.
“It’s a heavy pistol and when I broke it away, I swung and slapped him on the cheek and if you see pictures right after the suspect was arrested, there’s a big bruise on the side of his cheek and that was from my pistol barrel,” Lee said.
Lee successfully made the arrest, but initially authorities did not know who they had apprehended. Bundy had a fake identification and refused to give police his real name.
“By this time, everybody in investigation was saying, ‘Chapman, who do you have? And I say, ‘Well, I don’t know,” Norman Chapman, who had been with the Pensacola Police at the time, said in “Ted Bundy: Falling For a Killer.”
The Pensacola Police did not know their suspect’s deadly past, but they were unnerved their captive’s steel blue eyes.
“It was also a feeling. Once I got around him, I had this feeling I’d never felt before,” Chapman said. “It was a feeling of, I guess the best way to describe it was frustration and doom, and from then on, when I got this feeling, I knew I’d been around somebody who’d murdered somebody.”
Bundy even refused to divulge his identity to a judge at his initial appearance, but later struck a deal with police to give them his real name after he was allowed to make some phone calls.
Bundy used the time to call his long-time girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall to tell her that he had been arrested in Florida. He’d later call again and confess that he was controlled by a dark force he couldn’t contain.
“He told me that he knew now there was something that he couldn’t be around. And when I asked him, ‘What is that?’ he said, ‘Don’t make me say it.’ So I knew that he was meaning young, beautiful women,” Kendall said in the series. “He just was addicted to killing.”
Kendall, once known as Elizabeth Kloepfer, goes by the name “Elizabeth Kendall” now in the media after changing her legal name for privacy reasons.
Although Bundy managed to escape from jail twice while being held in Colorado, his arrest in Pensacola would be the killer’s last.
He was sentenced to death for his crimes in Florida and was executed in 1989.
“I feel like justice has been carried out. It was past due,” Lee said at the time, according to a 1989 UPI article.
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