Truth is Stranger Than Florida utilizes a mixture of reenactments featuring actors and interviews with real-life participants, the show will devote each episode to a different true crime case from the annals of the Sunshine State. Each episode will introduce a different case both famous and infamous.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Truth is Stranger Than Florida - Ted Bundy - Netflix
Theodore Robert Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. Shortly before his execution and after more than a decade of denials, he confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978. The true victim count is unknown and could be much higher. Many of Bundy's young female victims regarded him as handsome and charismatic, which were traits that he exploited to win their trust. He would typically approach them in public places, feigning injury or disability, or impersonating an authority figure, before overpowering and assaulting them at more secluded locations. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes for hours at a time, grooming and performing sexual acts with the decomposing corpses until putrefaction and destruction by wild animals made further interaction impossible. He decapitated at least 12 of his victims, and for a period of time, he kept some of the severed heads as mementos in his apartment. On a few occasions, he simply broke into dwellings at night and bludgeoned his victims as they slept. In 1975, Bundy went to jail for the first time when he was incarcerated in Utah for aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault. He then became a suspect in a progressively longer list of unsolved homicides in multiple states. Facing murder charges in Colorado, he engineered two dramatic escapes and committed further assaults, including three murders, before his ultimate recapture in Florida in 1978. For the Florida homicides, he received three death sentences in two separate trials. Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989. Biographer Ann Rule described him as “a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human's pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death, and even after”. He once called himself “the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you'll ever meet”; Attorney Polly Nelson—a member of his last defense team—wrote: “Ted was the very definition of heartless evil.”
Truth is Stranger Than Florida - Death row and confessions - Netflix
Shortly after the conclusion of the Leach trial and the beginning of the long appeals process that followed, Bundy initiated a series of interviews with Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth. Speaking mostly in third person to avoid “the stigma of confession”, he began for the first time to divulge details of his crimes and thought processes. He recounted his career as a thief, confirming Kloepfer's long-time suspicion that he had shoplifted virtually everything of substance that he owned. “The big payoff for me,” he said, “was actually possessing whatever it was I had stolen. I really enjoyed having something ... that I had wanted and gone out and taken.” Possession proved to be an important motive for rape and murder as well. Sexual assault, he said, fulfilled his need to “totally possess” his victims. At first, he killed his victims “as a matter of expediency ... to eliminate the possibility of [being] caught”; but later, murder became part of the “adventure”. “The ultimate possession was, in fact, the taking of the life”, he said. “And then ... the physical possession of the remains.” Bundy also confided in Special Agent William Hagmaier of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit. Hagmaier was struck by the “deep, almost mystical satisfaction” that Bundy took in murder. “He said that after a while, murder is not just a crime of lust or violence”, Hagmaier related. “It becomes possession. They are part of you ... [the victim] becomes a part of you, and you [two] are forever one ... and the grounds where you kill them or leave them become sacred to you, and you will always be drawn back to them.” Bundy told Hagmaier that he considered himself to be an “amateur”, an “impulsive” killer in his early years, before moving into what he termed his “prime” or “predator” phase at about the time of Lynda Healy's murder in 1974. This implied that he began killing well before 1974—though he never explicitly admitted doing so. In July 1984, Raiford guards found two hacksaw blades that Bundy had hidden in his cell. A steel bar in one of the cell's windows had been sawed completely through at the top and bottom and glued back into place with a homemade soap-based adhesive. Several months later, guards found an unauthorized mirror hidden in the cell, and Bundy was again moved to a different cell .
Sometime during this period, Bundy was attacked by a group of his fellow death row inmates. Though he denied having been assaulted, a number of inmates confessed to the crime, characterized by one source as a “gang rape”. Shortly thereafter, he was charged with a disciplinary infraction for unauthorized correspondence with another high-profile criminal, John Hinckley, Jr. In October 1984, Bundy contacted Robert Keppel and offered to share his self-proclaimed expertise in serial killer psychology in the ongoing hunt for his successor in Washington, the Green River Killer. Keppel and Green River Task Force detective Dave Reichert interviewed Bundy, but Gary Leon Ridgway remained at large for a further 17 years. Keppel published a detailed documentation of the Green River interviews, and later collaborated with Michaud on another examination of the interview material. Bundy coined the nickname “The Riverman” for Gary Ridgway, which was later used for the title of Keppel's book, The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer. In early 1986, an execution date (March 4) was set on the Chi Omega convictions; the Supreme Court issued a brief stay, but the execution was quickly rescheduled. In April, shortly after the new date (July 2) was announced, Bundy finally confessed to Hagmaier and Nelson what they believed was the full range of his depredations, including details of what he did to some of his victims after their deaths. He told them that he revisited Taylor Mountain, Issaquah, and other secondary crime scenes, often several times, to lie with his victims and perform sexual acts with their decomposing bodies until putrefaction forced him to stop. In some cases, he drove for several hours each way and remained the entire night. In Utah, he applied makeup to Melissa Smith's lifeless face, and he repeatedly washed Laura Aime's hair. “If you've got time,” he told Hagmaier, “they can be anything you want them to be.” He decapitated approximately twelve of his victims with a hacksaw, and kept at least one group of severed heads—probably the four later found on Taylor Mountain (Rancourt, Parks, Ball and Healy)—in his apartment for a period of time before disposing of them. Less than 15 hours before the scheduled July 2 execution, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed it indefinitely and remanded the Chi Omega case for review on multiple technicalities—including Bundy's mental competency to stand trial, and an erroneous instruction by the trial judge during the penalty phase requiring the jury to break a 6–6 tie between life imprisonment and the death penalty—that, ultimately, was never resolved. A new date (November 18, 1986) was then set to carry out the Leach sentence; the Eleventh Circuit Court issued a stay on November 17. In mid-1988, the Eleventh Circuit ruled against Bundy, and in December the Supreme Court denied a motion to review the ruling. Within hours of that final denial, a firm execution date of January 24, 1989, was announced. Bundy's journey through the appeals courts had been unusually rapid for a capital murder case: “Contrary to popular belief, the courts moved Bundy as fast as they could ... Even the prosecutors acknowledged that Bundy's lawyers never employed delaying tactics. Though people everywhere seethed at the apparent delay in executing the archdemon, Ted Bundy was actually on the fast track.” With all appeal avenues exhausted and no further motivation to deny his crimes, Bundy agreed to speak frankly with investigators. He confessed to Keppel that he had committed all eight of the Washington and Oregon homicides for which he was the prime suspect. He described three additional previously unknown victims in Washington and two in Oregon whom he declined to identify (if indeed he ever knew their identities). He said he left a fifth corpse—Donna Manson's—on Taylor Mountain, but incinerated her head in Kloepfer's fireplace. (“Of all the things I did to [Kloepfer],” he told Keppel, “this is probably the one she is least likely to forgive me for. Poor Liz.”) He described in gory detail his abduction of Georgann Hawkins from the brightly lit UW alley—how he lured her to his car, clubbed and handcuffed her, drove her to Issaquah and strangled her, spent the entire night with her body, and revisited her corpse on three later occasions. He also admitted, for the first time, that he returned to the UW alley the morning after Hawkins's abduction and murder. There, in the very midst of a major crime scene investigation, he located and gathered Hawkins's earrings and one of her shoes, where he had left them in the adjoining parking lot, and departed, unobserved. “It was a feat so brazen,” wrote Keppel, “that it astonishes police even today.” “He described the Issaquah crime scene [where the bones of Ott, Naslund, and Hawkins were found], and it was almost like he was just there”, Keppel said. “Like he was seeing everything. He was infatuated with the idea because he spent so much time there. He is just totally consumed with murder all the time.” Nelson's impressions were similar: “It was the absolute misogyny of his crimes that stunned me,” she wrote, “his manifest rage against women. He had no compassion at all ... he was totally engrossed in the details. His murders were his life's accomplishments.” Bundy confessed to detectives from Idaho, Utah, and Colorado that he had committed numerous additional homicides, including several that were unknown to the police. He explained that when he was in Utah he could bring his victims back to his apartment, “where he could reenact scenarios depicted on the covers of detective magazines.” A new ulterior strategy quickly became apparent: he withheld many details, hoping to parlay the incomplete information into yet another stay of execution. “There are other buried remains in Colorado”, he admitted, but refused to elaborate. The new strategy—immediately dubbed “Ted's bones-for-time scheme”—served only to deepen the resolve of authorities to see Bundy executed on schedule, and yielded little new detailed information. In cases where he did give details, nothing was found. Colorado detective Matt Lindvall interpreted this as a conflict between his desire to postpone his execution by divulging information and his need to remain in “total possession—the only person who knew his victims' true resting places.” When it became clear that no further stays would be forthcoming from the courts, Bundy supporters began lobbying for the only remaining option, executive clemency. Diana Weiner, a young Florida attorney and Bundy's last purported love interest, asked the families of several Colorado and Utah victims to petition Florida Governor Bob Martinez for a postponement to give Bundy time to reveal more information. All refused. “The families already believed that the victims were dead and that Ted had killed them”, wrote Nelson. “They didn't need his confession.” Martinez made it clear that he would not agree to further delays in any case. “We are not going to have the system manipulated”, he told reporters. “For him to be negotiating for his life over the bodies of victims is despicable.” Boone had championed Bundy's innocence throughout all of his trials and felt “deeply betrayed” by his admission that he was, in fact, guilty. She moved back to Washington with her daughter and refused to accept his phone call on the day that he was executed. “She was hurt by his relationship with Diana [Weiner],” Nelson wrote, “and devastated by his sudden wholesale confessions in his last days.” Hagmaier was present during Bundy's final interviews with investigators. On the eve of his execution, he talked of suicide. “He did not want to give the state the satisfaction of watching him die”, Hagmaier said.
Truth is Stranger Than Florida - References - Netflix