Nita Neary and Eyewitness Testimony in Trials

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.

Was his hair brown or black under that ski mask?

Was his hair brown or black under that ski mask?

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.

This is some of the worst eyewitness testimony I've ever heard.

This is some of the worst eyewitness testimony I’ve ever heard.

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.

Reference:
The Innocence Project: http://www.innocenceproject.org/understand/Eyewitness-Misidentification.php

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6 thoughts on “Nita Neary and Eyewitness Testimony in Trials

  1. I love how interesting your blog is!! You have so much information on him that I didn’t know about. For example, his obsession with socks! I know the scene in the movie Ted Bundy you mentioned, when he pulls out his sock drawer and it’s all organized, but I never realized what that meant until I found your blog!
    I live in Utah and I’ve been trying to visit most of the places he went to while he was here. A few days ago some friends and I went to his house that he lived in by the University of Utah. When we went, some people who lived there talked to us about it. They explained some of the details to us. It was pretty cool! There definitely was a creepy vibe there. Anyway, sorry to rant on…I’m just excited to find someone who finds Bundy as interesting as I do! He’s a very intriguing person.
    Also, quick question. Why do you think he maintained so many relationships outside of his killings? Do you think he really cared about the women he dated (and didn’t harm)? Or do you think it was more of a cover to make it even more believable that he was just the boy next door? I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit. Why didn’t he harm those women? Just curious on your thoughts…
    Thanks for your time! Keep posting! I will definitely follow!!

    • MsPen4…thanks for the feedback! I’ve studied Bundy for over a decade & even I keep finding out new things about him. He was quite a mystery and a popular one at that. Books are always being published about a different aspect of his personality. A REALLY good book about him is called “Ted & Ann.” It’s not just about the Ann Marie Burr murder, it’s something of a study about him as a kid. Check it out.

      How interesting that you’ve been to some of Bundy’s old haunts in Utah! On a trip to Glenwood Springs, CO, I saw the prison (it’s a law center now) where Bundy escaped the 2nd time in 1977. It was fascinating to see the mountains surrounding the area & realizing it was the backdrop to his successful retreat from the area!!

      I think he maintained relationships with women because he both needed & was repulsed by them. He always needed someone with whom he could reconnect to his dream of being a family man of sorts, but he also wanted to destroy them. As an organized killer, he knew if he killed anyone with whom he had a connection, he would be caught. Killing strangers, in his mind, meant he couldn’t ever be caught. As many serial killers think, Bundy thought he could outsmart the cops for the rest of his life. That was just part of his unrealistic view of the world & his narcissism. He didn’t care about those women except on the surface. Think of what he did to his poor fiancée, Liz!!

      Thanks for the follow. Any questions you have, just let me know.

      ~Em

  2. Thanks so much for the reply! And thanks for book reference. I’ll definitely check it out!

    That’s so cool you have been there! I really want to go to the prison that he was held in here in Utah. I think that would be pretty cool. Today I went to the pizza parlor that Melissa Smith was last seen at…that was spooky too! I read up a little bit on her and realized that she went to Hillcrest High School. That sparked my curiosity because that is where my dad went to high school. I immediately grabbed his yearbook and looked through it. I found her class picture and everything. I asked my dad if he knew who she was and he explained how when that happened the whole school was just devastated. It’s just so crazy how after so much time everything is still so close to home!

    I also figured out some crazy information today that I thought would interest you! I saw your post about that lady in that picture with Ted when they are washing dishes. You said her name was Carol Bartholomew and that that picture was taken when he was here in Utah. I dug a little deeper and found an article from the 80’s after he had been put to death from a local newspaper. They had interviewed Carol’s husband Wynn Bartholomew who had gone to law school with Bundy at University of Utah, so this morning I asked my friend if she had a woman named Carol marry into her family. She said yes! I asked her if her husbands name was Wynn and she said “yes, that’s my dad’s brother!” So that lady pictured with Ted is my friends aunt!! I thought that was so crazy! I love making little connections like that. Again, it is so weird to think how close to home it is.

    Anyway, thanks for your time! Sorry I keep telling you useless info, I just thought you might find some of it interesting. Ha ha! Thanks again!

  3. How interesting that you know Carol Bartholomew’s aunt! Very cool. You have a link to our Teddy Poo in a small way. Also, that your dad knew of Melissa Smith’s death when it happened. How tragic. Don’t think you’re bothering me with the info. I like reading this stuff.

    I’ve been meaning to head to Florida to see the Chi O house. A trip to Tacoma would also be nice. Posting some pics to the blog would be good too!

    Again, thanks for the feedback! Stay tuned for more amazing insight from yours truly!

  4. Why was Nita fearful of someone coming down the stairs in her Sorority House? I’ve never understood that, did she ever explain why.

    Wouldn’t the normal assumption be that it was a member of the Sorority or was she thinking it might be a boyfriend of a member and she didn’t want to embarrass anyone who might have been sneaking out at 3 a.m. after a late night tryst?

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