Eleanor Louis Cowell birthed Theodore (Ted) Robert Cowell in Burlington, Vermont on November 24th, 1946. Due to Eleanor’s religious beliefs, she had given her son to her parents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ted’s real father is unknown. Eleanor married Johnny Bundy and Ted was given his last name to deter from the fact that he was illegitimate. Eleanor and Johnny had brought two girls and one boy into the world. Ted was made to believe that Eleanor was his sister and, 20 years later, Ted found out the truth. However, he did not express that he was upset by the fact that this was hidden from him for years. He seemed to be fairly understanding, from his point of view.
At the age of 18 years old, Ted was arrested for suspicion of burglary and auto theft and had his record expunged after the fact. Ted was involved in track at school, and there is not much history as far as peer groups go. Ted averaged a B through out high school and was heavily focused in his studies. He was an introvert, socially awkward and kept to himself. He wasn’t much for going out and involving himself in activities and didn’t go out on dates very often. He had a few girlfriends growing up and further down the line, when he is interviewed for his crimes, he expresses his love for women, and he was obsessed with pornography. He grew up to be very educated and graduated in 1972 from the University of Washington with a degree in psychology. He aspired to become a lawyer but wouldn’t be very successful in pursuing that further.
Ted was brought into custody in August of 1975 after being pulled over in his tan Volkswagen, bug. He was in possession of burglary tools and there were several suspicious items in his trunk. At the time, there was a lot of murders being investigated in Salt Lake City, Utah and in Colorado. He was put away in jail when he was eyed out by a woman in a line up. She was a victim that got away when he attempted to kidnap her. He was posing as a police officer and luckily, she was able to slip away after a rigorous fight with Ted. Little did he know, she would be the one to start the domino effect in the series of incarcerations he would have. In Colorado, he was able to slip away and jumped out a 25 ft story window. Ted was now on the loose and would be soon unleashing horror in the city of Pensacola, Florida.
There was an incident at the Chi Omega Sorority house in Tallahassee, Florida where, two girls were viciously molested, murdered and the others, injured. This act alone, tells you what little respect for life the intruder had. Ted was linked to these incidents and, to the kidnapping and murder of little 12-year-old, Kimberly Leach. Ted had told his attorney that he was going to take the plea bargain, but when he got up the stand, he made a scene and ultimately represented himself. He seemed very charming, intelligent, and charismatic. Certainly, he was using what he learned from his psychology degree because he was deflecting quite a bit. When he went to court, it was presented to the jury that Ted was a match because of the teeth marks that were left on the deceased bodies. He was charged with and found guilty of the murder of Kimberly Leach. He ultimately, was given the death penalty.
Ted thought of himself a straight edge guy. He generally had a calm demeanor but there would be small outbursts from time to time. He profiled himself to be nonviolent and an average Joe. The evidence in these cases could not have been more far from the truth. During his trial, his friend Carol Ann Boone became his wife. She had snuck drugs into the prison vaginally, and he received the drugs rectally into the prison. While in prison, they must have not been watched very carefully because they ended up having a baby girl together.
Ted was asked to help with finding information about serial killers. He held promised on what he was capable of. On the positive side, he was able to help law enforcement find leads on criminal cases. During the last few weeks of his life, he admitted to killing around 30 women. Upon the confession, he also admitted to performing necrophilia, rape, and kidnapping. Interesting enough, he was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. When his attorney’s tried to plea that he was incompetent to stand trial, this diagnosis was not made and although it was after the fact, there wouldn’t be anymore adjustments made to the case. There was also a point where a possible brain tumor was discussed in Ted, because he felt absolutely no empathy. If there was a brain tumor in the Limbic System of the brain, it could have most certainly caused some problems. It was too late in the process to further assess the what if’s and what could be. It was done and Ted would be soon sitting in the electric chair.
On January 24th, 1989 Ted was pronounced dead after his time in the electric chair.