Legislature authorizes 9,368 new beds, including six new prisons and work camps.
OBIS: New databases implemented this year include the Health Services System (HSS). The Health Services subsystem is designed from scratch, (there were no similar programs available at the time), and the Florida DC becomes one of the leading authorities on computer-based health services systems. This new medical record system initially provides medical profile information, tracks medical contacts and assists with appointment scheduling (medical call-outs).
Ted Bundy is executed on January 24, 1989. "Ted Bundy's most apt - and accurate - single-sentence self description was offered not to us but to the group of north Florida cops who interrogated him soon after his final arrest in Pensacola in February of 1978. Said Bundy to the police, "I'm the most cold-blooded son of a bitch you'll ever meet." Excerpt from Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer by Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth.
According to Robert D. Keppel, Ph.D., a former investigator for the Washington State Attorney General's office, just before his execution, Bundy "confessed to 30 killings but admitted in detail to only a handful in an orchestrated effort to trade information for two or three months of life. It didn't work."
Keppel is one of only two law enforcement agents who visit Bundy on death row shortly before his execution who agrees to let the Department disclose their names to the press at the time. The other is Dennis Couch, of the Salt Lake County (Utah) Sheriff's Office.
Bundy was sentenced to death twice in 1979 for killing two Florida State University sorority sisters in Tallahassee, Lisa Levy, 20, and Margaret Bowman, 21, and again in 1980 for killing 12-year-old Kimberly Leach in Lake City. He is executed for the Lake City murder on January 24, 1989.
Richard Dugger is the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections during the Bundy execution, but he also knew Bundy personally because he had previously been the Warden (then called Superintendent) at Florida State Prison, where Bundy is housed. While much has been made of Bundy's intelligence, the authors of some books on the subject agree with Dugger's assessment.
Ted Bundy and the Warden
Ted Bundy was a perverse, demented serial rapist and murderer. He was arrogant and clever but did not seem particularly brilliant or articulate as some reports have suggested. His murderous crime spree and avoidance of early capture was likely more attributable to his geographical mobility rather than his "intellect" or "charm."
During my tenure as Warden at FSP, my most vivid recollection of Bundy's case was the occasional sad and haunting phone calls and letters from the mother of a victim seeking my personal reassurance that Bundy would be executed and justice served in the murder of her only daughter. She never expressed anger or bitterness but deep sadness seemed interwoven in her written lines and spoken words.
While I never heard from her again following Bundy's execution, I doubt that it brought her any particular relief or closure.
Thoughts of the Ted Bundy case and execution do not routinely re-occur to me except as the subject of a grieving mother's sad voice that I still "hear" from time to time.
Ted Bundy and the Media
I was working as a Public Information Officer in the Department of Corrections' press office in Tallahassee when Bundy's death warrant was signed. At that time, there were only three of us working there: Information Director Bob Macmaster, me, and our secretary, Pam Davis. Normally, Bob would go to Florida State Prison (the site of the execution) the day before the execution was scheduled, but in this case he went down early because the need for a Department spokesperson was so great with the crush of media who had already gathered there. Somebody said the satellite dishes were popping up like mushrooms in the field across the highway from the prison.
So Pam and I were left in the Tallahassee office to answer questions from there. Typically, reporters wanted to know who was visiting Bundy, what his mood was like, was he going to do any interviews, what did he request for his last meal, etc. (Bundy declined a last meal, so he was offered the traditional steak, eggs, hashbrowns, toast, milk, coffee, juice, butter and jelly about 5 a.m. on the day of his execution.)
What I remember most about that time is that our two phone lines never stopped ringing from the moment the warrant was signed by Governor Bob Martinez until after the execution. Even afterwards, when Bundy's autopsy photos surfaced in the tabloids, the ringing continued. (A reporter had told me days earlier that tabloid reporters were offering large sums of money to anyone who could get a picture of Bundy after the autopsy. It appears someone took them up on their offer. Bundy was no longer in the Department's custody when those pictures were taken.)
The other thing I remember is the unprecedented media coverage. There had not been an execution that generated that type of coverage before, though there may have been a few since. Reporters were clambering to get in to see the execution. Others were offering money to see and/or film the execution. A guy who identified himself as a producer for a major network news show offered the Department $1 million if they could film the execution. I remember asking him if he was serious. He says he was. I took that offer to then-Secretary Richard Dugger, who joked "cash or check?" before dismissing it out of hand. Some radio station from out west (where Bundy is alleged to have murdered several women) called me live and said they were collecting money to pay for the electricity to execute Bundy and how much did they think we'd need? They also wanted a copy of the death warrant to give away to one of their listeners. A politician's wife, who is also a journalist, called and actually said "Do you know who I am?" after I told her she couldn't be on the witness list. Ironically, the media witness list is not drawn up by the department, but by the Florida Press Association and the Florida Association of Broadcasters. We had absolutely no control over who from the media could attend the execution. All the major networks called, as did authors of various Bundy books and international media. The public was also making itself heard in the form of those cheering the execution on, including students from my nearby alma mater, the University of Florida, and from those opposed to the death penalty, who were seriously outnumbered by those in favor. Several people referred to the "circus-like" atmosphere, and people were sporting signs that said things like "Tuesday is Fryday." (He was executed on a Tuesday.)
At that time, we didn't have email or cell phones, so communication was difficult between the office and the prison, because we were both inundated with calls and the lines were always busy. I found out from a reporter that Bundy had cancelled his group press interview. (Inmates about to be executed are entitled to a one-on-one interview with the journalist of their choice and a group interview with a pool of journalists.) For the past several years, Bundy had refused all media requests, so we didn't really expect him to agree to any now. I think everyone was surprised that he decided to do a one-on-one interview, and with whom he chose to do it. He picked James C. Dobson, Ph.D., president of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization that produces a syndicated radio show. My notes from that time indicate that he is from Pomona, California and that he brought with him cameramen Steve Stiles and Charlie Barth, and soundman Tom Wheatley. (It's interesting to note that in the book mentioned at the beginning of this article, Bundy talks about how much he loves listening to radio talk shows.) The gist of the interview is that Bundy said pornography greatly influenced his life of crime. I got the sense there was a lot of skepticism about Bundy's sincerity, and some just viewed it as Bundy manipulating "the system" for his own purposes one last time.
Paula Tully Bryant
Ted Bundy and the Execution
Even after 16 years, it is difficult for me to look back with full clarity on those three days in January, 1989, that ended in the execution of Ted Bundy. It's not that the execution itself was much of a departure from the routine that occurred whenever the state carried out a sentence of death. What differed about this execution were the actions and emotions of the hundreds of people who crowded into the green concrete cellblock or filled the nearby field on State Route 16 east of Raiford.
For two years, it had been my job to escort media witnesses into the Q Wing of Florida State Prison (FSP), and then commit to short-term memory the events of the next fifteen or so minutes that it took to strap a killer into the electric chair, hear their final words, watch the body stiffen under 45-seconds of searing 2000-volt current, and await the final pronouncement of death. The Bundy execution, like most of the others, was carried out with clockwork precision.
I left Tallahassee a day earlier than usual to get a handle on the situation at the prison and to lay out some ground rules for the news media entourage that was assembling outside the prison. The atmosphere was charged, due not only to the numbers of reporters, but their intense interest in every detail of the event that was unfolding. My phone in the room next to Prison Superintendent Tom Barton's office rang constantly through the first day, mostly reporters from outside the area who wanted details about Bundy's waning hours. At my office back in Tallahassee, Information Specialist Paula Tully (Bryant) fielded a similar barrage of calls.
Along with the routine tasks at hand, prison staff somehow managed to squeeze in final visits from law enforcement investigators who were still trying to close some of the dozens of murders linked to the man who was now awaiting his turn with death.
Bundy had been offering up promises of more details to come, if only the law would listen. Barton, an experienced warden, had a hunch of where this would lead, and told me to scrounge up a spare tape recorder - something which normally was excluded from the execution area. The personnel manager finally found one and gave it to Barton.
Later that first day, I received word that Bundy wanted to cancel his previously agreed-to group media interview scheduled for the following afternoon. That eased my burden, as we already had spent many hours deflecting the barrage of media requests for exceptions to the procedure used to select participants. It also gave me a first glimpse of Bundy's changing demeanor. He would now only speak with one media representative. Maybe he wasn't so sure of himself after all.
I was joined the following morning by Rev. James Dobson, a California-based broadcaster, and with cameraman in tow we made our way through prison security to a visiting area inside FSP. We found several corrections officers waiting there for us, with Bundy handcuffed and seated at a metal table.
During the interview, Bundy seemed to be trying to convince us all that his one-man path of evil and horror had somehow grown from his childhood exposure to pornography. He did little to convince me of anything but his guilt. I was surprised only at his preoccupation with the interview and the image that he was trying to project, with the execution just hours away. At the end of an hour, Dobson said Bundy wanted to speak to me, to say thanks for arranging the interview. Who was this person? He appeared too relaxed and in control, too "normal" to be a crazed killer. He looked even smaller than I had expected. But as I approached, I saw the eyes - they looked distant, as if betraying his awareness of what was to come. I escorted Rev. Dobson back outside, and then left for the media area to brief reporters on what had transpired.
That final night was a blur for me - while Bundy talked with his last visitors at FSP, I returned to my motel for an evening of telephone calls, visits from prison staff, and a wakeup call at 3 am on the morning of January 24 from the Best Western night clerk.
I drove through the gates at FSP just before 4 am, went to Barton's office and was invited to join staff for a breakfast of sausage, eggs, grits and orange juice before we started the day's work. I wasn't hungry yet, so I downed the juice and a cup of coffee and started fielding calls. It was about this time that Bundy was offered his last meal - the traditional steak and eggs. He didn't eat it.
Shortly after 5 am the head classification officer - I think it was Dave Lear - joined me. We picked up a dozen news men and women in a DC van and took them to the prison for secure processing and a final briefing on what they were about to see. About a quarter before 7, we led them into the witness room adjoining the execution chamber, where they squeezed into the few remaining seats. The 10 official witnesses had already been seated in the front of the room, directly facing the electric chair.
I remember the look on Bundy's face as he was escorted to the well-worn oak chair, his head shaved clean, his steps faltering, and his eyes looking more desperate than they had the day before. They seemed to be searching in vain for a way out where there was none. I wonder how many of his victims had that same look. I don't recall his last words, just the look.
At 7 am Barton nodded to the executioner and Bundy's back arched tight against the wood chair as the hum of the transformer kicked in. Ten minutes later, we were walking out to the drive behind the prison, where a reporter (I think it was Ron Word of the Associated Press) waived a flag to tell the others it was complete.
The sun was rising but not enough to warm the chill of late January in North Florida. More than 100 reporters greeted me in the press area across from the prison, and I briefed them on what had transpired. Along the way, we saw hundreds of spectators who had come to be close to the execution. I understood the interest and the emotion. Who had not been touched by the plight of all the victims? But parts of it looked more like a crowd assembled for a circus side show, with spectators yelling and waiving banners like "Fry Bundy" and "Let's fire up Old Sparky." It seemed out of control. And then it was time to go back to the prison for more press calls.
Before noon, Barton approached me with a sealed manila envelope and asked if I could drop it by the Governor's Office when I returned to Tallahassee. I said sure, tucked it into my black briefcase and headed for home shortly after. I later learned that the envelope contained some of Bundy's last recorded words. Barton had expected Bundy to try talking his way out of this. As Bundy was being readied for his walk to the chair, he had offered to tell about more killings, more bodies, and where they could find them, if only they would give him a little more time. Barton reached into his pocket, switched on the tape recorder, and said something like: "OK, talk. You've got 15 minutes." With clockwork-like precision, Barton never missed a beat.
Charlotte Correctional Institution (Punta Gorda, FL), Liberty Correctional Institution (Bristol, FL) and Madison Correctional Institution (Madison, FL) open. River Junction C.I. and Lantana C.I. are converted to female facilities.
Portions of the following are from an article by Rick Schuster in Labelle, Florida's Caloosa Belle newspaper on August 23, 1989.
Inmate Drunk on "Buck"
Disturbance at Cross City Correctional Institution
On October 3, 1989 at 6:30 p.m. at Cross City Correctional Institution, a group of about 20 black inmates attack several white inmates near the inmate housing area. Several officers intervene and attempt to break up the assault. The group of black inmates turn on the officers and attack them. One officer is beaten, kicked and knocked unconscious. Two suffer broken jaws and one a concussion. Inmates use pipes and other makeshift weapons during the assault. Additional officers come to the aid of the first group and help the injured to the Control Room area. Tower officers fire four shots (from AR-15s) into the ground to keep the inmates from moving toward the fence or into other areas of the compound. (Keeping the inmates out of the recreation yard where they could pick up weight bars as weapons is a consideration.) It is later learned that the apparent goal of the inmates is to take over the institution.
Local law enforcement is summoned for backup. Officers from the Florida Highway Patrol, Dixie County Sheriff's Office, the Game and Freshwater Fish Commission and Cross City Police Department take position around the perimeter of the institution so that DC officers are free to go inside the prison.
During this time, the attacking group, which grows to between 50 and 75 in size at the height of the disturbance, refuses to return to their specific housing units.
About 30 minutes after the initial incident, a Confrontation Control Force Squad, (a prison version of a SWAT team) including 12 officers armed with shotguns, enters the yard and orders the inmates to return to their housing units. Only then do the inmates comply with the order to return to their quarters.
Initially, three officers are transported to hospitals. The most serious injuries sustained are by Sgt. Larry Edmonds and Sgt. Richard Biss, both of whom receive broken jaws. Four inmates are taken to Shands Hospital: two for injuries sustained at the hands of other inmates, including a fractured skull, and two who sustain seizures which may or may not have been related to the incident.
57 inmates are transferred to Union C.I. after the incident. Cross City C.I.'s main unit is locked down.
At 7:15 p.m. the compound is declared secure and by 7:55 p.m. all inmates have returned to their dormitories. At 8:50 p.m. teams trained to deal with disturbances from nearby institutions arrive to assist with the transfer and relocation of the rioters. Staff response to this point had been timely, appropriate and in accordance with Department rules.
Between 9:00 p.m. and midnight, certain officers are assigned to identify inmate participants in the disturbance and escort them to the visiting park area for processing and transfer to a more secure correctional institution.
Seventeen inmates already in confinement are designated for transfer to make more confinement space available in case there are further problems. All 17 of these inmates report being physically abused by the officers.
In carrying out the process of identifying and transferring inmates, a group of officers go from dormitory to dormitory. It is during this process and the process of moving inmates from confinement that many allegations of physical abuse and destruction of property are made by inmates. In response to these complaints, an intensive investigation is undertaken by the Department Inspector General's Office. The investigation, which includes interviewing over 250 individuals, leads investigators to believe that a number of inmates did suffer physical harm at the hands of officers in the aftermath of the disturbance. The collected testimony and physical evidence indicate that a group of officers, ranging in rank from Captain to Correctional Officer, went through the dormitories on at least two occasions, during which some inmates were abused physically and personal property was destroyed. Two inmates were hospitalized, one suffering a broken jaw and one received injuries which necessitated the surgical removal of his eye.
As a result of the investigation, criminal charges are filed by the State's Attorney against seven correctional officers. Five are found guilty and receive sentences ranging from three to almost seven years in Federal prison. They are also fired by the DC and eight others are suspended.When a riot or similar incident occurs at a prison, a specialty squad or Rapid Response Team (RRT) from a non-involved institution is brought in to gather the suspects. The RRT platoon concept, which helps officers become familiar with each facility's layout by cross training them at each other's prison compounds, enables the Department to use outside teams to handle such sensitive incidents as that which occurred at Cross City C.I.