Throughout the trial, the relationship between the impressive judge, Ed Cowart, and the defendant-former law student was a fascinating subplot.
There were times when the judge’s quips from the bench had Bundy – and everyone else in the courtroom – laughing.
There were other times when Judge Cowart was miffed by Bundy’s courtroom methods. Bundy had wanted to be a lawyer for a long time, and he’d eagerly adopt that role.
If, acting as his own counsel, Bundy fumbled a point of law, the judge would tell him where he went wrong, and note « that’s what you learn in your third year of law school. »
Bundy hadn’t finished his second year of law school when he was convicted in Utah of kidnapping.
The judge was the totally dominant force in the courtroom. Bundy seemed to respect Judge Cowart, even though he once predicted that the judge would give him the death sentence.
Before sentencing, Bundy gave about a half-hour statement. Sometimes his soft voice choked. He said he’s innocent. He blamed the news media for, as he saw it, creating an image of monstrousness about Ted Bundy. And Bundy thought his public-defender lawyers hadn’t been competent.
Said Bundy : « If you gave me a violin right now, I’d try to play it. I’d try real hard. But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the experience and training.»
Judge Cowart interjected : « I hope, if you had seven years of schooling, you could at least play ‘Dixie ‘. »
Bundy : « Yeah, we heard a lot of ‘Dixie’ here. But we sure didn’t hear any Brahms. And that’s the problem. We didn’t get to the level of effectiveness (of defense counsel) that was required by this trial. »
The crowded courtroom strained to hear Bundy’s words as he stood before the judge and the two spoke to each other. Bundy said he expected the death sentence. But he wouldn’t give up. « This is an early round of a long battle, and I haven’t given up. »
Judge Cowart : « I don’t expect you to cry uncle, and I’d be disappointed if you did. »
The Seattle Times – August 1, 1979