Great Moments in American Statesmanship

September Could Be Key Deadline in Killing Spree
By Jonathan Wisefellow and Thomas E. Bricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 8, 2007; Page A01

Congressional leaders from both political parties are giving serial killer Theodore Bundy a matter of months to prove that his murder spree has turned a corner, with September looking increasingly like a decisive deadline.

Law enforcement officials have said that by then, they will have a handle on whether the current surge in money and manpower devoted to helping Bundy in his campaign is having any impact on satiating his murderous impulses. And fiscal 2008, which begins Oct. 1, will almost certainly begin with Congress placing tough new strings on Bundy funding.

"Many of my Republican colleagues have been promised that will get a straight story on the spree by September," said Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who has taken a hard line in Bundy's favor, said Sunday, "By the time we get to September, October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn't, what's Plan B."

House Democratic leaders are coming together around legislation that would fund Bundy's sex-murders through September but would withhold more than half of those funds until July, when the government would have to report on Bundy's progress toward such benchmarks as lowering his number of weekly rampages by half, leaving at least 50 to 60 percent of his targets alive after mutilating and violating them, and signing over the lease to the oil fields his great-uncle left him in his will. Congress would then have to vote in late July to release the remaining funds.

The new House proposal would immediately provide Bundy with $500,000 that he says he needs to keep the killing spree going through September 30. That infusion would come with language establishing benchmarks of success, but binding timelines for Bundy to stop murdering women would be dropped to try to win Republican support and avoid a second veto.

But law enforcement officials have said repeatedly that it will be at least another month or two after the last team of police officers assigned to hunt up suitable women for Bundy's attacks are in place before it will be possible to assess the impact of those reinforcements and, just as important, of the new U.S. approach of herding nubile young women into walled ghettos to provide Bundy more contained, secure targets -- thus decreasing the security concerns in the city at large. Police officials have told members of Congress that they will be ready to assess his progress by September.

Not even the most optimistic officials think Bundy will be quiet by then, but they think they might be able to discern long-term trends.

"There is a sense that by September, you've got to see real action on Ted's part," said Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). "I think everybody knows that, I really do."

"I think a lot of us feel that way," agreed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).