January 1976 – Sitting erect in the witness chair, his hands folded in his lap, Bundy faced the prosecutor one morning of the trial. Circling the witness stand for hours, Yocum went through his entire repertoire – accusing, cajoling, provoking. Bundy answered each question in a firm, clear voice, addressing the prosecutor as “Dave” or “Mr. Yocum.” He reminded some people of a man interviewing for a job.

The day of the DaRonch kidnapping, Bundy explained, his car had broken down. This was corroborated by a cancelled check from a gas station and a receipt for an ignition part. That night, he said he had gone out for a few drinks and a movie.

“Did you check the ads to see what movie was playing November 8th?” Yocum asked Bundy.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to tell you something that’s not true,” Bundy asnwered.

“Are you telling the truth about seeing a movie on November 8th?” Yocum asked.

“Yes, sir,” Bundy answered. “I’m under oath.”

Bundy then said that he had found the handcuffs at the city dump and had kept them as a curio. He had placed them in a paper bag so they “wouldn’t rattle.” He said he wore the nylon stocking mask under his ski mask to keep warm.

He said he had been using a crowbar to repair the front seat.

“When you’re in a hurry, getting a Volkswagen seat on its runner becomes a rather tragic affair,” Bundy said.

“Is a crowbar useful in repairing your auto?” Yocum asked.

“Well,” Bundy said, “it’s a useful tool. What can I say, Dave?”

At noon, the judge called a recess.

“I felt devastated after that first hour of cross-examination,” Yocum recalls. “I remember sitting in my office and thinking, ‘He’s tearing me apart. I can’t let this happen.’ The guy intimidated me. I was not dealing with your average career criminal with a sixty IQ. This was a guy with an IQ of 122 or 125 – very bright. He was answering the questions the way he wanted, no matter how I asked them. I just couldn’t find a chink in his armor.”

At two o’clock, Yocum walked into the courtroom with a blunt question he was convinced would crack open the case. Why, Yocum asked Bundy, did he run from Sergeant Hayward that night in Granger? It was like turning on a tape recorder.

“I decided to explore an area of the city I hadn’t been in before,” Bundy said. “And, well, it’s kind of embarrassing, but I was feeling pretty good and all of sudden I became frightened, paranoid. I can’t describe to you the feeling, but I knew that what I was doing was definitely illegal, that I was smoking dope. And also, you know, I have always been paranoid about it because I was a law student… I would be damned if I was going to let myself be caught with that in the car. I didn’t tell the truth because I don’t imagine they would have been too thrilled by my explanation that I had been smoking dope in their neighborhood.”

Yocum hit Bundy with a dozen more questions. Skirting the questions, Bundy kept telling his story.

“Mr. Bundy,” Judge Hanson repeatedly instructed, “would you please answer the question?” Bundy would pause and loop up at the judge.

“What was the question?” Bundy would ask.

Yocum left the courtroom triumphant.

“He was not thinking about the questions I asked him,” Yocum later said. “The story was so implanted in his mind, so rehearsed, that he was only thinking about how he was going to get it our. And it came out very clearly that he was telling a goddamned bunch of lies. Why did he run? – that question nailed him.”

Carol DaRonch Trial : Cross-examination

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