Episode 69: Kathy Kleiner Rubin, Ted Bundy Survivor
In our season finale, Karen speaks with Kathy Kleiner Rubin who was a student at Florida State University and a member of the Chi Omega Sorority. She was living in the sorority house in 1978 when serial killer Ted Bundy broke into the house, murdered two of Kathy’s sorority sisters and attempted to kill Kathy and her roommate Karen. Kathy and Karen survived Bundy’s brutal attack, and Kathy is here to share her story.
Intro Voices 00:04
Where do I go? It only happened once. I think I was singled out. The phone calls began about one month ago. What is hazing? Something happened to me when I was younger. I'm worried about my safety. He said he was sorry. Can someone help me? Where can I get help? Can someone help me? This is You Matter, a podcast for the NYU community developed by the Department of Public Safety.
Karen Ortman 00:36
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to You Matter, a podcast created to teach, inspire and motivate members of the NYU community who have been victimized in some form or fashion and to identify resources both on and off campus that can help. I am your host Karen Ortman, Associate Vice President of Campus Safety Operations at the Department of Public Safety, and a retired law enforcement professional. Today I welcome Kathy Kleiner. Kathy was a student at Florida State University and a member of the Chi Omega sorority, living in the sorority house in 1978. When serial killer Ted Bundy broke into the house, murdered two of Kathy's sorority sisters and attempted to kill Kathy and her roommate, Karen. Kathy and Karen survived bundys brutal attack. And Kathy is here to share her story. Kathy, welcome to You Matter.
Kathy Kleiner 01:30
Thank you very much. And I appreciate you asking me to to tell my story.
Karen Ortman 01:35
Well, it's my pleasure. So where did you grow up? Kathy?
Kathy Kleiner 01:39
I grew up. I was born actually in Miami. And I live with my brother and my sister, my mom and dad. We had a small house. I remember it was not air conditioned. So we had fans all over. I remember my dad used to come home at night and we play Chinese checkers. And one night, I set up the board and daddy didn't come home. And I asked Mama, Where's dad? And she said, Well, he's up in heaven. He won't be coming home anymore. And then it was just the three of us. And I remember being sad but thought, Well, now this is life without daddy. This is going to be our new normal.
Karen Ortman 02:20
That must have been hard.
Kathy Kleiner 02:22
My mom remarried and I was adopted by my stepfather who is wonderful. He's a wonderful dad that stepped up and was always always there for me.
Karen Ortman 02:34
How old were you when you lost your dad?
Kathy Kleiner 02:36
I was five years old when daddy died.
Karen Ortman 02:39
So you grew up with your your new stepfather and your mom and your siblings. At some point, you get to high school and you decide I guess where your future academic career is going to take you and you decide on Florida State University. How did that happen?
Kathy Kleiner 02:58
When I decided to go as a senior in high school, I was looking to where my friends were going, of course, and they were going to different colleges. My mama was very protective of me. And so I decided to go to Florida State because it was as far away from Miami as I could get and still get in state tuition. My big ambition.
Karen Ortman 03:24
So you were from Miami. What town is Florida State in?
Kathy Kleiner 03:29
It's in Tallahassee.
Karen Ortman 03:30
Okay. So you graduate high school in 1976. And you begin at Florida State? At what point did you decide that you wanted to join a sorority?
Kathy Kleiner 03:45
As a freshman, I was so excited. I had freedom. I moved into a dormitory with my friends going to Florida State. We had fun. I was in a dormitory called Reynolds Hall, which was an all woman dormitory. My friends were all in coed dorms. I decided to go through rush, which is when women of university want to join a sorority. And there's a week at a time where the sorority sisters invite the women who want to be entered into a sorority. At the end of that week, the sorority and the girls get to decide if they're a good match. And I was able to join up with Chi O, my sister was not in college. She had not joined a sorority. So I was like the first one and being told how wonderful sorority was. I wanted to be part of that I wanted to be part of that experience.
Karen Ortman 04:50
Yeah. So at some point you join a Chi Omega sorority and you begin living in the sorority house. How did you come to that decision? Did everyone have to live in the sorority house?
Kathy Kleiner 05:05
I was very fortunate my parents made arrangements for me to live in the sorority house. There are about 80 women in Chi Omega at that time and less than 30 lived in the house. So it was an honor to be able to live there. My mom and dad were concerned for me to live in the dorm that the safety and making sure that I was secure, upstairs in my room, so they made arrangements for me to move into the into Chi Omega, for the fall of 1977. I was so excited and looking forward to what happened in the future. I can't imagine, excuse me, the angst they must have felt to put me in Chi Omega at that time when they thought it was the best to do and,
Karen Ortman 05:57
and the safest place. Right.
Kathy Kleiner 05:58
That turned out to be different.
Karen Ortman 06:00
Right. But they they thought you would be the safest in a sorority house.
Kathy Kleiner 06:05
Yes. They thought that with the house mother that lived in the sorority with us and the big doors with bolts and and combination locks that I was in the safe, safest place I could be.
Karen Ortman 06:18
Yeah. On January 15 1978. In the early morning hours, which was a Sunday, your life, your life changed?
Kathy Kleiner 06:29
Yes. My life changed forever.
Karen Ortman 06:31
So take me back to 1978. The evening of January 14, which was Saturday into the early morning hours of Sunday, January 15. Take me back to those two days and tell me what you recall.
Kathy Kleiner 06:53
I remember waking up on Saturday, the 14th. And it was really cold and rainy and just a drab day. I was though to go and have a wonderful wedding experience two friends of mine, or two. Were getting married. And it was it was a great time I was looking forward to. Cold and dreary outside. I remember wearing my dark blue corduroys and a big woolly sweater and going to the wedding which was held at noon. On that Saturday. After the ceremony, we went to a hotel downtown in Tallahassee and had the reception, which was great because we got all the food we wanted. We had drinks and you know being college kids, it was just a good time. Right time. That was a good time. Afternoon of the wedding. After the reception, went home. Back to the sorority house. I was going to go out with some friends and go to a movie. But once I got back to the sorority there were girls talking on what they did that day and sisters, you know, laughing and what they were going to do that night. So I decided since the weather was so yucky outside that I would just stay home and study for a test that I was going to be having on Monday. I went up to our bedroom. We were on the second floor.
Karen Ortman 08:17
What time was this?
Kathy Kleiner 08:18
that was about I came home about eight. And decided at that point to stay home for the evening.
Karen Ortman 08:25
Okay, so what time did you go up to your room?
Kathy Kleiner 08:28
went up there about probably about 830 Our room was the sorority was two floors. I lived on the second floor, our room face the back of the sorority which was the parking lot. So that's our windows. were facing the parking lot and we had a beautiful room with great sunshine because we always kept our curtains open.
Karen Ortman 08:53
How many roommates did you have?
Kathy Kleiner 08:54
I had one it was Karen and I in our room.
Karen Ortman 08:57
Okay. So you're up in your your room in a sorority house. And at some point you go to bed. What time was that?
Kathy Kleiner 09:07
We both decided to go to sleep. Karen was also studying about 11:30 that night.
Karen Ortman 09:14
Okay. You both go to sleep, is the light on or off?
Kathy Kleiner 09:19
Our door was open. Our lights were turned off in our room.
Karen Ortman 09:23
your bedroom door was open.
Kathy Kleiner 09:24
Yes. We always left it unlocked in and most of the time it was open but I do believe that night we had it close unlocked and windows were open with our curtains. Open in the back.
Karen Ortman 09:39
Okay. So you fall asleep both of you. At what point are you awakened?
Kathy Kleiner 09:47
It was real early in the morning, not knowing exactly what time it was still dark outside. I heard our our bedroom door kind of slide against the carpet. And that Kind of just made me wake up a little bit at three o'clock in the, in the morning I was, you know, pretty hard sleeper. But that made me wake up a little bit when I heard that noise.
Karen Ortman 10:10
So you think it was about three o'clock in the morning?
Kathy Kleiner 10:12
Yes, yes, it was.
Karen Ortman 10:16
So you hear the door slide open, you awaken somewhat.
Kathy Kleiner 10:22
Yes, I did wake up a little bit. And the next sound I heard, which really startled me I heard between our twin beds, we had a little foot locker, a small locker where we get clothes and extra things. And we had our books and my glasses were on that little trunk, I heard that noise where someone slammed into it and knocked everything over. And it was loud enough for me to wake up now and try to wake it up. It was I was fuzzy and the room was dark. So I was just trying to focus on seeing what made the noise. What was that noise. That noise was someone who had come into the room was standing next to my bed, but accidentally had kicked that foot locker. So it made so much noise falling over that that's when I woke up.
Karen Ortman 11:16
And then what happened next?
Kathy Kleiner 11:18
I'm laying in bed, and I'm looking. And I focus in on a figure a silhouette of someone standing next to me next to my bed. And as I look, this person standing there and he raises his arm, his right arm up above his head. And he was holding something in it I couldn't tell at that time. And he struck me so hard in the face with that, with that, stick that excuse me, he crushed my jaw in three places, shattered my shed my chin, and with what he was holding was a piece of firewood that he had brought into the sorority that would cut my cheek open from my lips up to the corner of my ear. I almost bit my tongue off. And I remember that hit that initial hit felt like a thud. It didn't hurt. It just felt like a thud.
Karen Ortman 12:28
Could you see that person? And could you see this person's face?
Kathy Kleiner 12:32
I could not see any features of this person I did not have my glasses on. And I'm still foggy from trying to wake up. So no, I could not see any description or any any features.
Karen Ortman 12:46
Did this person say anything to you as he struck you?
Kathy Kleiner 12:50
There was no sound from him. It was it was just the sound of of this, and the thing on my head. And just in my head. It was screaming but he did not talk nor make a sound.
Karen Ortman 13:04
And what was your roommate doing at this time?
Kathy Kleiner 13:07
I'm not sure she started to stir. I know in the beginning, I made a noise just before the blow. Because afterwards, I couldn't make a sound because of my jaw. But she then started to stir. And this person just kind of turned around to her side of the bed, it's a real small, little room between our beds. And he went over and attacked her also with the same log that he had used to attack me.
Karen Ortman 13:39
Could you hear any words spoken by your roommate?
Kathy Kleiner 13:44
I could not hear any words. I think at that point. I was in and out of consciousness. So I did not hear or I did not know what was happening over there.
Karen Ortman 13:57
What made this person stop attacking you and your roommate if you know.
Kathy Kleiner 14:06
With our window curtains open in the back of the room. The parking lot was there also, lights showing up into our bedroom. It was so bright it seemed to just illuminate the whole room. And as the light shone up, he thought he was seen. He was standing there looking out the window and looking at me and I'm still cringed in my little ball afraid and waiting for the hit. And I keep my eyes open and this person he became really spooked. And he ran out of the room and I am laying there and the lights slowly faded. And he was gone and I didn't get hit anymore.
Karen Ortman 14:52
At this point did you and your roommates say anything to each other?
Kathy Kleiner 14:57
Not until I really I was yelling and screaming for help, and I was only making gurgling sounds from the blood in my in my mouth. I couldn't scream or talk. And I believe she was also unconscious at that point. So there was a time where the room was just quiet.
Karen Ortman 15:17
Can you describe your injuries, as a result of this attack?
Kathy Kleiner 15:22
my face was severely beaten. And my jaw was broken in three places, and it barely was attached to the joint up to my ear. My chin was severely shattered, there was no bone left in it. My tongue was bitten so severely that it had it was just swollen and and it did not allow me to talk, I could not talk because of that. And my cheek was cut open from the corner of my mouth up to my ear. And that was so wide open and flap that you could see the inside of my mouth.
Karen Ortman 16:06
How long would you say the attack took place?
Kathy Kleiner 16:13
I think the attack may have lasted just a few minutes. In reality, because the when he came in and attacked me, it seemed like it was lasting forever, that it was never going to stop. But I in reality, it did not last that long, maybe five minutes when he was in the room attacking both of us.
Karen Ortman 16:36
At some point he runs out of the room. Were you ever able to have a conversation with Karen about her experience during that? Potentially five minute attack?
Kathy Kleiner 16:53
I did not speak with Karen both of us had our jaws were both broken. And I was in my little pain and in my little world and she was as well. So we did not communicate at that time.
Karen Ortman 17:08
At what point? Did Emergency Medical Services arrive? Police? When did you get any sort of help?
Kathy Kleiner 17:19
I was told that Karen got up out of her bed and walked out into the hallway. And then they said that the one of the sorority sisters turned around and walked her back into our bedroom and flipped on the light at that point. And that's when she saw me so severely injured. She called the police. The police came. I remember when I first saw them. It was like as scared and confused as I was. I knew the police were these people weren't going to let this person come and get me again. So it's definitely a feeling of security, having that police officer looking and being with me. At some point not long after the paramedics came.
Karen Ortman 18:11
Do you know who the roommate was, the sorority sister who came home and who's the vehicle that she was in the light shone in on the window and basically stopped this attack from happening or continuing?
Kathy Kleiner 18:29
The car was driven by the date of Anita Neary. She was the sorority sister that was actually coming home from the date that night. So his lights was the one that showed up into our bedroom. She, I was told then that she went around the corner to come upstairs to get to the second floor. But she saw this person running down the stairs and out the front door. And she said he was holding something in his hand. And at first she believed it to be an umbrella, which y'all this was making no sense to her. So that's when she went upstairs and found Karen in the hallway.
Karen Ortman 19:14
And at some point after this attack, you learned that you had two sorority sisters who were just murdered by this same attacker in their rooms of your sorority house,right?
Kathy Kleiner 19:30
Karen Ortman 19:32
Do you recall leaving the sorority house with emergency medical services?
Kathy Kleiner 19:37
I do remember I was put on the gurney after they attended me. And I they were carrying me down the front stairway and it was so cold and I'm laying there and I'm on the gurney cold and scared. And I'm looking up from the gurney up at the stars and as I am I see these head's looking down at me. And I was thinking, what are they looking at. And then I was carried toward the ambulance. And all of a sudden I see the lights of the fire truck and the police officer and the ambulance and all these lights were swirling around, and I could hear the squawking of the radios for the police and technicians. And at that point, in my mind, I was at a carnival. I had gone someplace that was comfortable that I wanted to be at that was safe. And then I was carried into the ambulance. And that as I was attended to by the EMS, I kind of knew where I was not going to be taken because I didn't know how severely I was hit. But I knew we were on the way to the hospital.
Karen Ortman 20:56
What happened once you arrived at the hospital?
Kathy Kleiner 21:00
I arrived at the ER and this wonderful police officer was still with me. And he held my hand I remember because I was so scared. And once I saw him I didn't want to let him go cuz I was safe now. But the hospital the ER was cold and there was all this going on. And finally I was given some medication. And I was allowed to go into medicated sleep, which is really what I needed.
Karen Ortman 21:31
Did you go into surgery that night?
Kathy Kleiner 21:33
Yes, they took me into surgery. I had my mouth wired shut and in Tallahassee, they stitched my cheek up as best they could. And again, when your tongue is is bit you can't fix it. It just has to heal. So I felt like I was wrapped up in a in bandages and I felt like a mummy when I finally did get to see myself.
Karen Ortman 22:00
At this point, had you ever heard the name Ted Bundy before?
Kathy Kleiner 22:05
I had not I did not know that name or anything about him.
Karen Ortman 22:10
At what point did you learn that Ted Bundy serial killer who kidnapped and raped and murdered numerous women and young girls during the 1970s. At what point did you learn that he was responsible for your brutal attack?
Kathy Kleiner 22:33
It was about three weeks later, I after I left the hospital in Tallahassee, I was flown back down to Miami where my parents were living. And at some point during that three week period, it was announced that someone had been arrested in Pensacola and actually this person was stopped for vehicle violation. When they arrested him, they finally found out who he was, and that the sheriff King Casares in Tallahassee wanted him to come to Tallahassee to be prosecuted and, and that's how we knew who he was and what he was. That's when I found out.
Karen Ortman 23:20
Talk to me about, you know, you received, obviously, medical care, and you recovered from the external injuries and perhaps internal injuries that you suffered as a result. But what resources were available for your mental health as a result of this brutal attack back after it happened?
Kathy Kleiner 23:45
While I was still in the hospital before release, I was visited by a psychiatrist, and he wanted to help me answer the questions that detective were always asking Who was it? What did you see? And with my mouth wired, I could not speak very well, but I was actual actually hypnotized, so that I was able to give more information at that point, then what I thought I knew. So I was able to help a little bit with the questions I was being asked. After the hypnotist left, the psychiatrist said, You know, I don't think you need us anymore. You're doing good enough. So, um,
Karen Ortman 24:35
were you doing good enough?
Kathy Kleiner 24:37
I didn't know. You know, my parents were there and I was there and scared and I didn't know if I was good or bad at that point, mentally. When I was when I was taken back to Miami. There was no there was not any. Any way that someone contacted me and said, you know, let me help you through this. Actually when I was 13, I was diagnosed with lupus. It was a very trying year for me. They told my parents, I probably would not survive the year because they didn't have enough knowledge back then in the 60s of what lupus was, I was given experimental chemo and allowed to stay home the year my seventh grade, I was not allowed to leave the house. Because I was so sick and I was so tired and just the the chemo made me lose all my hair. So in seventh grade, I was home bound alone, my parents worked. And I was just always so sleepy and, and I remember I would so lonely, I would dial zero for the operator, just talk to somebody. And sometimes they would talk to me and other times they couldn't. But this time in my life was was something I didn't want to live. I didn't want to continue life like this. And I was very, very sure in my heart in my head that I was going to get through this. When toward the end of the year, I talked to mom and dad as a really want to leave the house. They get let me go to church one day, so went to church. And not two weeks later, I came down with shingles. And this now was, was trying on my nerves. But I knew again, I didn't want to live like this. So I came out of that life. I wanted to be away from that. And slowly I healed and I was allowed to return back to school, which was high school. That's where I entered theater. I loved theater so much. It was such an outlet for me. I could act and do and be anything I wanted to be, except that sick little kid that was home with no hair. So theater was a very good outlet for me. After the attack of Bundy and I was home in Miami trying to recuperate, I would have these thoughts that what a horrible time that was and then felt, Wow, this is this is worse. You know, here I am laying in bed so much and recuperating and thinking that I can get through this by myself. And I couldn't I did need the help of my family. I was not allowed or I was not offered the psychiatrist help or therapist. We just kind of as a family, my parents and my aunts and uncles kind of stood around me during that time and helped me process what was going on.
Karen Ortman 27:55
Yeah. So you had a lot of family support. And then
Kathy Kleiner 27:58
yes, I did
Karen Ortman 27:58
sounds like your experiences as a child really gave you the strength to get through this horrible attack. But I also know, back in the 70s and early 80s, there was not a huge response to trauma experienced by victims. So I applaud you for coming out on top for sure.
Kathy Kleiner 28:28
Karen Ortman 28:29
Yeah. Tell me about the next time you returned to your room at the sorority house, if ever did you ever go back?
Kathy Kleiner 28:39
Actually, when I left the hospital about a week later, after the attack, while I was to be taken to the airport and driven and flown back to Miami. The police officers took me back to Chi O. And they wanted me to look around the room to see if anything was missing.
Karen Ortman 28:58
How did you feel? As soon as you walked into that room? How did you feel before you got into the house?
Kathy Kleiner 29:06
I was so scared and I had a police officer on each elbow helping me walk up those those stairs that were huge at this point. And I turned the hallway and I saw that the yellow crime scene crime tape was around Margaret, Lisa's, Margaret Bowman's room and Lisa Levy's and also around my door. There was lots of tape. And Margaret Excuse me,
Karen Ortman 29:31
I'm sorry, but Margaret and Lisa are the two sorority sisters who were murdered.
Kathy Kleiner 29:36
Yeah, yes, they were my two sorority sisters that Ted Bundy killed. When I walked into my room, all I could see was the black dust for fingerprint testing, and there were technicians and people walking around. And at that point, I I just couldn't see if anything was missing. I didn't remember what was on the dresser but
Karen Ortman 30:00
How did you feel looking at the black powder used for dusting fingerprints.
Kathy Kleiner 30:07
It struck me as odd just because it was all over everything. And it just, you know, it was confusing to me. I knew what it was, but it didn't really register why it was there.
Karen Ortman 30:20
Was the blood gone?
Kathy Kleiner 30:22
As I look toward my bed, my, my comforter and my bed were covered in blood, it was now Brown was brown blood and all messed up and in my head, I'm going, man, that's a new bedspread. You've got all messed up. And you know where your mind goes when you're doing something and processing. And I saw my bed and I saw the dry blood. And it really did help me because I saw where this happened. I knew it did happen. I didn't have to think of it in my head and say what's this, you know what happened. And it was kind of like, like, just right in front of me. And I think it helped helped me a lot at that point to, to see that. And after they. After I left my room, I was like rubber legs. And they walked me down the stairs and I was taken to the airport.
Karen Ortman 31:20
Did there come a time where you saw Ted Bundy face to face. After the attack?
Kathy Kleiner 31:28
There was. I was flown back up to Tallahassee for a deposition. In that room in the deposition, it was like a huge conference room. And there was a large conference table with the defense on one side attorneys and the prosecutor attorneys on the other. And at the head of the table, sat Ted Bundy. And I walked in in the room and I'm just looking around, I'm scared to death. I sat at the other end of the table and I looked and I saw him and I I didn't I wasn't scared. I was surprised. And just angry. I was I was really angry that he was there.
Karen Ortman 32:13
Was he dressed in civilian clothes or prison clothes?
Kathy Kleiner 32:20
He wore. I could see a shirt. I don't know if he had a jacket with him. But I remember he had a light light colored shirt.
Karen Ortman 32:27
Yeah. Tell me about the first time you looked at his face. Was he looking at you?
Kathy Kleiner 32:33
Yes, he looked right at me. And I looked at him. And I don't remember looking at anything else. I think I looked straight at him and answered whatever questions I was being asked and, you know, telling my story. But my eyes never was I never took my eyes off of him.
Karen Ortman 32:54
And did he have any response in terms of facial expression to anything that you said?
Kathy Kleiner 33:01
No, I could not see, I could not see any expression on his face.
Karen Ortman 33:06
Did you testify in his ultimate trial? Where he was tried for murder?
Kathy Kleiner 33:13
Yes. So a year after the attack, well, actually, it was June of the next year. I was to test testify at the court case. And when it was my day to testify, I remember getting up early and going to the courthouse with my parents. And they actually separated me from them. And again, I was taken into a big conference room. There were the paramedics that was attending me that day and other people in the room and it was just a hug fest. I didn't want to let go of them. Now it's my turn to go testify. And they took me into this little room to wait. And I was in there alone. Just waiting to go into the courtroom. And when I did across the room, sat Ted Bundy at a table. And I went in I sat in the, in the box to give my testimony and was sworn in. And I just, I again, I just didn't take my eyes off of him. And I think at this time, I felt I felt like I had some power. I had power over him because I was on this side of good. And he was on the other side and he was going to get something and it wasn't going to be good.
Karen Ortman 34:35
Do you recall the outcome of that trial you participated in?
Kathy Kleiner 34:40
Yes, I do know he was found guilty.
Karen Ortman 34:43
And then there was a penalty phase to that murder trial. Did you participate in in that in terms of testimony as well?
Kathy Kleiner 34:55
No, I did not.
Karen Ortman 34:56
Okay. Do you know the outcome of the penalty phase?
Kathy Kleiner 34:59
Yes, I do. He was found guilty. And he received the death penalty.
Karen Ortman 35:06
Okay, do you know when he was ultimately executed?
Kathy Kleiner 35:11
It was in January of 1989.
Karen Ortman 35:15
Were you present for that?
Kathy Kleiner 35:17
No, I was not my father and my mother and I, we were all offered the opportunity to go there. And none of us wanted to it was not anything that we wanted or thought we should do.
Karen Ortman 35:30
Do you have fear today? As a result of what happened to you? All those years ago.
Kathy Kleiner 35:39
I did have a terrible fear when it first happened. And I was recuperating. I began to have the had the feeling that I was afraid of unfamiliar men, that anyone, anytime was going to come and attack me again. I knew I didn't want to live this way. I didn't. That was not something I wanted to have in my head. After I had my jaw unwired and opened, I went to work at a lumberyard in South Miami. I wanted to see where I could find the most unfamiliar men as I could find. And I wanted, I wanted to help me, so I went, became a cashier at the lumberyard. It did help me get over that fear of unfamiliar men.
Karen Ortman 36:32
Yeah, so you pat yourself in situations where you sort of forced yourself to face that which concerns you or caused you some level of anxiety. I'm sure you're aware that there is a Netflix special about Ted Bundy? Have you seen it?
Kathy Kleiner 36:52
Yes, I have.
Karen Ortman 36:54
And what did you think about what you saw?
Kathy Kleiner 36:59
The the tapes of Ted Bundy, I watched, actually all in one evening, there were four tapes. I kind of wanted to get it over with but I wanted to know as much as I could about Bundy, I always found that the more I knew about him as as a human as flesh and blood, it helped me to see the the other side that was so negative and so ugly, that I always wanted to have the perspective of both both sides of him. I watched the tapes. And it was the tapes of Bundy. And it took us from the beginning when he started killing through the end when he was actually in, in for his execution in his cell. And I found it so ironic that at the end of the story, when he was being interviewed, he was saying, Please don't kill me. I'll tell you more about other women just do anything. Don't kill me. And I thought that those must have been the last words of the beautiful women that he killed. And I found it quite ironic that he was now repeating those words
Karen Ortman 38:15
And begging for his own life.
Kathy Kleiner 38:17
Karen Ortman 38:19
Was it painful, the anticipation of watching either the Netflix movie or listening to the tapes.
Kathy Kleiner 38:27
It wasn't painful for me. I knew what the story was going to be. The tapes themselves I felt did not at all talk about the victims that he killed. It did not mention how he killed these women and took them away from the world and from all of us so soon. It didn't talk about that. But then it was Bundy's tapes. And I understood what why I didn't see the victims portrayed. But I wasn't scared to watch it. I was just not so much fascinated as intrigued to learn the whole story since I had my own feelings. And bits of pieces of information that I was told over the years.
Karen Ortman 39:09
Do you have any advice for a listener who may have suffered a similar trauma as you have today?
Kathy Kleiner 39:19
I found that to help me, I I had to go within me and go deep inside and find my strength. And I pulled it out. And I use that strength and no one could take it away from me. And I used it to help me when things were bad or I was I was scared. I took that strength and I held on to it. And it really did. It really did help me get through that time and and I know it was up to me to take care of certain things by family and friends could be around me but it ultimately was up to me to face what happened. And I wasn't going to let Ted Bundy's journey of of killing and mutilating, I was not going to let me him take me on his journey. I wanted to make it my journey. And that's when I started to get better. And I walked the steps for myself.
Karen Ortman 40:22
Okay. Do you ever have any fear at night? When you're laying in bed and I don't know, you hear a noise?
Kathy Kleiner 40:32
I do not. I sleep well. I'm, you know, I feel like I'm healthy. And I'm strong. I'm in a good place. And I don't need to be scared of things at night. I just need to get a good night's sleep.
Karen Ortman 40:45
Okay. Why do you think Ted Bundy has been so glamorized in the media or seemingly so?
Kathy Kleiner 40:53
Ted Bundy was the first quote, serial killer, that was seen by by the audience. He was his trial was seen on TV and his good looks and, and his personal personality of being friendly. I think all that was his projection that he wanted people to see. And that the evil horrible thing was deep inside of him. But he portrayed himself like the good guy, you know, he kind of hammed it up and yeah, I'm, you know, I'm okay. Yeah. Look at me. I'm cute. And I think the public just kind of took that on and went with it. And that's why they portray him that way today.
Karen Ortman 41:39
Did you see any of those behaviors the times that you were in his presence?
Kathy Kleiner 41:42
I did not. I saw at first when in the deposition, I saw something that was that was like, like confident. I saw the confidence in his eyes. And during the trial. When I looked at him, he looked less confident. A little a little put back, I'd say and again, I was I felt the power. I looked at him and I didn't think he showed any power.
Karen Ortman 42:09
Okay, is there anything that you would like to add that I have not asked you today?
Kathy Kleiner 42:17
I would like to say that a lot of people go through so many horrible things in their lives. And they have to know, as I did, and I hope they can look into themselves, and know that they're only going to get over this, if they themselves take the initiative. No one can help them through it. They have to look at it and take baby steps if they need to, to overcome whatever it is that they have been through, and that they have to do it for themselves.
Karen Ortman 42:53
And there's such a wealth of resources out there today that were never available to you. in the 70s. And I agree with you, and I would hope that if someone needed resources, they would seek them out, because there are so many really great ones, particularly here in New York City area, but I'm sure that similar resources can be found throughout the country. And if not, then they can reach out to You Matter, and we will try and and provide whatever assistance we can. But thank you so much to my guest, Kathy, it's a it's an honor to talk to you and I'm, I feel very privileged that you came and shared your story with our listeners here on You Matter.
Kathy Kleiner 43:45
Thank you so much. Thank you.
Karen Ortman 43:48
And to all of our listeners for joining us for today's episode of You Matter if any information presented was triggering or disturbing, please feel free to contact the Wellness Exchange at 212-443-9999 or NYU's Department of Public Safety and their Victim Services Unit at 212-998-2222. Please share, like, and subscribe to You Matter on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Tune in or Spotify.