The judge and the defendant came to know each other well during the six weeks Bundy was on trial. Despite being on the opposite sides of the bench, they seem to have developed compassion for and respect for each other.
“I have a great mixture of concern for him and for the victims,” Coward said.
A look of deep concern crossed Cowart’s face when a reporter commented that Bundy expects to be sentenced to death. Pausing for a long moment to think about it, Coward said, “I don’t know what he could base that on. We haven’t even heard the evidence.“
Coward expressed concern when the former Utah law student said he wanted to defend himself. As often as the 32-year-old defendant tried to take over his own defense, Cowart urged him not to. The judge said he was concerned about the “adequacy of representation” and likened it to letting a second-year medical student perform brain surgery.
This case was as serious as brain surgery, Coward said, “but I wondered sometimes if he understood the severity of it. It’s a shame he didn’t complete that legal training.“
There were many heated clashes between Coward and Bundy, but none with any apparent animosity. “I guess we had quite a few exchanges. I tried to be stern, but I’m not angry at the man.” – The Tampa Times, July 27, 1979