In the normal practice of love-making, it is sometimes arousing to gently bite your partner. There is something forbidden about it, something animalistic. Certainly many people in consenting couplings have enjoyed a tender nip on the earlobe, maybe on the shoulder, without fear of horrific pain. Though not much is known about Ted’s sex life, his former fiancée Liz Kloepfer, wrote that Ted was a passionate lover who was into “normal sex,” except when he wasn’t. She recounts times when he encouraged her to engage in sex acts that weren’t satisfying to her and when she balked, he finally stopped mentioning them. One can only imagine the violence his victims endured before the final act of strangulation came upon them. Though many of his early victims’ bodies had decomposed before police located them, the women he brutally murdered in Florida bore evidence of aberrant and bestial violence. On sorority sister, Lisa Levy, police identified a savage bite mark left behind on her left buttock. This evidence would later be used to convict Bundy in the first of his two trials in the Sunshine State.
Odaxelagnia is described by Wikipedia as “a sexual paraphilia concerning individuals who derive sexual pleasure and arousal through biting or being bitten.” According to the Forensic and Medico-Legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Practices, odaxelagnia is “mild sadism used in necrophilia.” One thing we know about Ted, through his own admission, is that he was a true necrophiliac. He returned to his victims’ bodies over and over until there was nothing left with which to engage. The biting of his victims would be considered normal behavior for someone who enjoys intimacy with the dead. Many biters fantasize about chewing, biting, or otherwise using the mouth or teeth aggressively or destructively. German serial killer, Fritz Haarmann, killed his juvenile victims by tearing out their throats with his teeth. Fictional murderer, Francis Dolarhyde from Thomas Harris’ book, “Red Dragon,” had dentures made so he could bite his victims while in his imagined dragon form. However, most juvenile biters will tend to outgrow this behavior once they’ve learned new ways of dealing with their anger.
It has been observed that bite marks can provide both physical and biological evidence against the perpetrator of the wound. However, bite mark evidence has recently come under scrutiny. This type of evidence is no longer seen by many as a valid tool to convict criminals. Jo Handelsman, the former assistant director of the White House Office of Science and Technology policy noted that “bite mark evidence lacks scientific foundation.” She also stated that results and accuracy were “widely varied.” There has been an unusually high error rate falsely identifying suspects as the guilty party. The trial of convicted offender Paul Aaron Ross was overturned due to questions about bite mark evidence and the Innocence Project claims more and more guilty verdicts have been vacated as the use of bite mark evidence has been questioned and reanalyzed.
Chris Fabricant from the Innocence Project states that “bite mark analysis is subjective speculation, masquerading as science.” In 1989, Steven Chaney was convicted of a double murder and sentenced to life in prison based mostly on bite mark evidence found on one of the victims. Dentist Jim Hales told the jury the evidence was conclusion to the point of “one in a million” chance anyone else could have bitten the victim. He later stated that his conclusion was scientifically unsound. Further testing has provided myriad false positive results when attempting to match bite marks to a suspect’s teeth because human skin cannot accurately record a bite mark since wounds stretch, swell, and heal.
Though Bundy was executed in 1989 for the murder of 12 year old Kimberley Leach, not Lisa Levy, it’s interesting to consider how he was convicted at his 1979 trial. We know he was a horrific murderer, necrophile, and rapist, but how much to we really know about Bundy’s love bites?
Webb, David. Journal of Forensic Sciences. “Forensic Implications of Biting Behavior.”
“Aggrawal, Anil. 2009. “Forensic & Medico-Legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes & Unusual Sexual Practices.”
Augenstein, Seth. July 24, 2015, Forensic Magazine. “Is This the End of Bite-Mark Evidence?”
Kaplan, Sarah. October 13, 2015, Washington Post.“Texas inmate’s 1989 conviction overturned after bite mark evidence discredited.”