Douglas Clark and Carol Bundy

Start from the beginning

Three months later, during January 1980, Carol was pining in the country-western bar when she met Douglas Clark, and he immediately swept her off her feet. Clark moved into her home the same night, working by day in the boiler room of a Burbank soap factory, devoting his nights to a crash course in ecstasy that made Carol his virtual slave. She swallowed her pride when he brought younger women home for sex, dutifully snapping photographs on command. One of his conquests was an eleven-year-old, picked up while roller skating in a nearby park, but Carol made no complaint as kinky sex gave way to pedophilia, increasingly spiced with discussions of death and mutilation.

On June 11, 1980, half-sisters Gina Narano, 15, and Cynthia Chandler, 16, vanished from Huntington Beach, en route to a meeting with friends. They were found next morning, beside the Ventura Freeway near Griffith Park, in Los Angeles; each had been shot in the side of the head with a small-caliber pistol. At home, Clark gleefully confessed the murders to Bundy, regaling her with details of how he had forced the girls to fellate him, shooting each in the head as she brought him to climax.

In the predawn hours of June 24, Karen Jones, a 24-year-old hooker, was found behind a Burbank steakhouse, murdered by a single gunshot to the head. Later that morning, police were summoned to Studio City, where another female victim -- this one headless -- had been found by horrified pedestrians. Despite the missing head, she was identified as Exxie Wilson, 20, another veteran streetwalker.

That afternoon, while Carol Bundy's sons were visiting relatives, Clark surprised her by plucking a woman's head from the refrigerator, placing it on the kitchen counter. He ordered Carol to make up the twisted face with cosmetics, and she later recalled, "We had a lot of fun with her. I was making her up like a Barbie with makeup." Tiring of the game, Clark took his trophy to the bathroom, for a shower and a bout of necrophilic oral sex.

Newspaper headlines were already touting the crimes of a new "Sunset Slayer" by June 27, when Exxie Wilson's head was found in a Hollywood alley, stuffed inside an ornate wooden box. Authorities noted that it had been thoroughly scrubbed before it was discarded by the killer. Three days later, a group of snake hunters near Sylmar, in the San Fernando Valley, turned up a woman's mummified corpse, identified as Sacramento runaway Marnette Comer. Last seen alive on June 1, the 17-year-old prostitute had been dead at least three weeks when she was found. Like other victims in the series, she was known to work the Sunset Strip.

And the murders continued. On July 25, a young "Jane Doe" was found on Sunset Boulevard, killed by a shot to the head. Two weeks later, hikers in the Fernwood area, near Malibu, turned up another unidentified corpse, dismembered by predators, a small-caliber bullet hole visible in the skull.

Despite her hot romance with Clark, Carol Bundy had continued visiting John Murray at the country-western bar where he performed by night. She did not hold her liquor well, and after dropping several hints about her newest lover's criminal activities, she was appalled by Murray's comment that he might report Doug Clark to the police. On August 5, she kept a midnight rendezvous with Murray in his van, parked two blocks from the bar, and she killed him there. Found four days later, the singer had been stabbed nine times and slashed across the buttocks, his head severed and missing from the murder scene.

It had become too much for Carol Bundy. Two days after Murray's body was discovered, she broke down on the job, sobbing out to a fellow nurse, "I can't take it anymore. I'm supposed to save lives, not take them." Her friend tipped police and they called on Bundy at home, retrieving three pairs of panties removed from victims as trophies, along with snapshots of Clark and his eleven-year-old playmate. Arrested on the job in Burbank, Clark was still in jail four days later, when police retrieved a pistol from the boiler room. Ballistics tests would link the gun with bullets recovered from five of the known "Sunset" victims.

At his trial, serving briefly as his own attorney, Clark blamed Carol Bundy and John Murray for the slayings, contending that they had patterned their crimes after the case of Theodore Bundy. Jurors saw through the flimsy ruse, and on January 28, 1983, they convicted Clark across the board, including six counts of first-degree murder with "special circumstances," plus one count each of attempted murder, mayhem, and mutilating human remains. Strutting before the jury during the penalty phase of his case, Clark declared, "We have to vote for the death penalty in this case. The evidence cries out for it." The panel agreed with his logic, and he was sentenced to death on February 15.

At her own trial, for murdering Murray and one of the unidentified females, Carol Bundy first pled insanity, then reversed herself and admitted the slayings. According to her statement, John Murray was shot in the head, then decapitated to remove ballistic evidence. She had also handed Clark the gun with which he shot an unnamed prostitute, found dead along the Sunset Strip in July 1980. Convicted on the basis of her own confession, Bundy received consecutive terms of 27 years to life on one count, plus 25 years to life on the other.

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