“Collect call for Polly Nelson from Ted Bundy. Will you accept the charges?”

Collect call for Polly Nelson from Ted Bundy. Will you accept the charges?
At least the long-distance operator was in on my reality. I wondered if she recognized my caller’s name.
“Yes,” I said.
This was it, the real thing. I realized suddenly I had no idea what he would be like, this death row inmate. He could be openly hostile, demanding to know my qualifications to take his case. He could be scared out of his wits. He could very well be psychotic, unintelligible, delusional. Suddenly, I didn’t feel ready for this.
“Go ahead,” the operator said.
Dead silence. Then I realized she meant me.
“Hello?” I said.
A gruff voice responded.
“Is this Polly Nelson?”
Oh, no — he’s hostile. This is going to be awful. “Yes, hello,” I said.
“Just a minute, Ma’am, I’ll put Bundy on the line.” Whew, only a guard.
Then another voice.
“Uh….Uh….hello?”
This voice was tentative; this man sounded insecure. I could handle that. I relaxed. I could deal with this man with a hesitant, deep, gravelly stammer. I could help him. (…)
“Hello. This is Polly Nelson. I think Mark Olive told you I would be representing you on the motions for a stay?”
“So you’re…you’re….taking the case then?” he stuttered.
What a question! It had never occurred to me that he, too, would think he’d have to make a pitch for his own case. A death warrant was pending, an execution was scheduled in three weeks — of course I was taking the case. I was shocked that he thought he might have to pass some sort of inspection first. I imagined him standing outside a prison cell on death watch, dropping dimes into a pay phone, calling law firm after law firm, trying to talk someone into taking his case as the execution grew closer and closer. What a grisly prospect. There arose in me a fierce protectiveness toward this man I’d never seen and knew nothing about. Except that they were trying to kill him. – Polly Nelson recall her first phone call to Ted Bundy, from “Defending The Devil, My Story As Ted Bundy’s Last Lawyer”

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