During the summer of 1979, Ted Bundy went to trial for the deaths of 2 women in the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University. Though the state had compelling bite mark evidence to present a convincing case of guilt, they still put a witness on the stand. Nita Neary arrived at the Chi O house around 3 A.M. on January 15, 1978. Upon her arrival in a nearly dark sorority house, she heard someone coming down the stairs. Not knowing who was coming, she hid around a corner and saw a dark figure walking down the stairs. He had a block of wood in one hand and was grasping the door knob in the other. He hesitated, then yanked the door open, running into the night. Nita later said she could see a right profile of a man with a protruding nose wearing light pants, a dark jacket, and a ski cap.
To put it into perspective, she saw a dark figure in generic clothing from his right side. That gives us no specific information on which to draw the conclusion that she saw Ted Bundy in the sorority house. The Innocence Project’s web site states: “Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in nearly 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing.” Even if Nita had seen something more than a dark figure that night, the odds are that she would have misidentified the perpetrator anyway.
Despite pointing directly to Ted Bundy when asked whether “that man” was in the courtroom today, she couldn’t possibly give credible evidence. It’s an insult to any court case to bring in a witness whose testimony is as weak as this one. Truth be told, Nita’s testimony was little more than prosecutors parading a pretty girl in front of the jury. Perhaps it was to really drive home how innocent his young victims were but, it was all for naught. Ted Bundy was convicted on strong bite mark evidence in the Chi Omega murder trial, not eyewitness testimony and justice was done, at least in this trial.
The Innocence Project: http://www.innocenceproject.org/understand/Eyewitness-Misidentification.php