Defending the Devil


Defending the Devil

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 My Story as Ted Bundy's Last Lawyer

By Polly Nelson

Charged with defending the convicted and unrepentant mass murderer Ted Bundy during the last three years of his life, newly-minted Washington, D. C. attorney Polly Nelson fought to keep him out of the electric chair. In the now-classic Defending the Devil, she recounts with powerful honesty her own challenging role in the drama.

Viewing herself as a compassionate humanitarian first, Nelson reveals her struggle to uphold her professional vow to represent her client (and try to save his life) while simultaneously being deeply mortified by the magnitude of his heinous crimes.

Bundy’s legal proceedings are meticulously recounted here, offering an eye-opening glimpse into the complex judicial appeals system. In addition to her fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the court proceedings, Nelson offers her unique insight into the mind of the killer.  She paints a portrait of him as something less-than the diabolical evil genius suggested by his notoriety. While making no excuses for his despicable actions and acknowledging his “absolute misogyny,” Nelson explores psychological angles to the case that many previously ignored. Showing a decidedly humanist slant, she brings Bundy’s overt mental illness to the fore and makes a compelling case against the use of capital punishment.

While ultimately unable to stay Bundy’s execution, Nelson found a true calling in the fight to appeal the sentence. With candor and wit, she shares her own personal journey of emotional and intellectual transformation as a lawyer.  “I was born to represent Ted Bundy,” she writes.

Page Count: 322

ISBN: 9781635617757 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 9781635617917 (Paperback)

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