John Henry Browne and the Plea Bargain

If you’re interested in Ted Bundy’s case, you certainly heard of John Henry Browne. The man is known for showing up in as many documentaries about Bundy as possible, making of kind of claims (Ted supposedly confessed to him that he killed over 100 people and also killed a boy, among other things). How is John Henry Browne linked to Ted Bundy’s case? On a legal point, John Henry Browne actually never had to defend Ted. He was his legal adviser for the Washington murders, in case Keppel and co ever find something linking him to them. In a recent documentary called “In Defense Of” Browne take credit for the plea bargain for the Chi Omega and Lake City cases. If you put together a timeline of the events you can easily see that none of his claims happened : 

On the night of February 15, 1978, Ted Bundy was put under arrest by David Lee. Norman Chapman, Don Patchen and Steve Bodiford started to interview him up until February 22, 1978. In the evening following his arrest, John Henry Browne claimed that Ted called him and he then spent the night thinking about telling the detectives Ted’s real name. This event never happened. Ted asked Chapman and Patchen to call Browne only on February 18 and at this time he already revealed his name : 

On Feb. 15, 1978 he tried to call Millard Farmer but he wasn’t available. On Feb. 16, as he used the name “John Doe” he asked again to call his lawyer in Atlanta (which was Farmer). By considering this transcript he talked about revealing his real name to Farmer :

After this phone call, he gave them his real name. On February 17 he talked with more lawyers :

On February 18, they mentioned Ted talking with Farmer about a possible deal to find a way for him to get back to Washington to be closer to his parents. By the end of the tape he asked to call John Henry Browne but from what I understood they wouldn’t let him as he was taken back to his cell.

Ted eventually managed to make a call to Browne in the following days. He also wrote him later to ask him to come over for some legal advise : “I’ve asked John Browne to come down here so that I can draw upon his legal talent and advice. I am sure he will give me much of the insight that I am currently lacking.“ Browne wasn’t his attorney of choice for his legal defense in the murder cases though, and he did everything he could to keep Millard Farmer as his attorney. Farmer (and Joe Nursey) fought to obtain Ted a guilty plea and convinced Louise and Carole it was the best way to go.

Interesting bit from John Henry Browne’ in the documentary about the plea bargain : “Did it bother me more because it was someone I was involved with? Probably, because I knew I could have saved his life. I actually had a program to save his life, which he turned down. So I think I was sad that he hadn’t taken the plea bargain and chose to live, rather than what I think he really did, which was choose to die.”

Browne take full credit for the plea bargain even though Millard Farmer (with obviously the help of Ted’s appointed lawyers, notably, Mike Minerva) was the one who negotiated the plea bargain and flew back to  Seattle to obtain the help of Louise and Carole.

“The agreement was initiated by Atlanta lawyer Millard Farmer and signed by prosecutors for the two judicial circuits embracing Tallahassee and Lake City — as well by Bundy and his lawyers. It called for Bundy to be sentenced to serve a minimum of 75 years, 25 years for of the three murders.”

Was Browne present for the plea? Yes, he was asked to come over to help Farmer convince Bundy to take the plea and that’s it. I spent hours looking through newspapers and files trying to link him to that plea but couldn’t find a thing beside him just being present once the plea was already negotiated.

Post originally from July 13, 2018. Updated and reformated.

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