Defending the Devil: My Story as Ted Bundy's Last Lawyer

Polly Nelson, Author
Polly Nelson, Author William Morrow & Company $23 (336p) ISBN 978-0-688-10823-6
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
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Bundy, who admitted to at least 30 murders and was executed in Florida in 1989, was one of America's most publicized serial killers, which perhaps explains the publication of this rather tedious account of the legal maneuvering that preceded his death. Nelson, an inexperienced associate of a Washington firm specializing in corporate law, accepted the case without knowing what it might entail. Yet she came to believe, as she notes twice in the first two chapters, ``I was born to represent Ted Bundy.'' She went to work on the litigation in 1985, six years after Bundy had been convicted, drafting and/or presenting numerous appeals to various courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. But while the legal wrangling may interest lawyers, lay readers will not find it absorbing. The only material of general interest is Nelson's portrait of her client: she found him ingratiating but not especially bright, and adjudged him incompetent in legal matters, contrary to his own view. Illustrations not seen by PW. (July)
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