Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Love and Death: The Sunset Strip Killers


Doug Clark continued to insist on his innocence.   He wrote a court petition for a new trial, but it was dismissed.  He continues to seek a lawyer who will defend him more ably than he claims his string of fired lawyers have done.  In June 1992, the California Supreme Court affirmed his death penalty.

When prison reform activist Jennifer Furio put together a collection of her correspondences with serial killers, published in 1998, Doug Clark was among her correspondents, and she printed a selection of his letters to her from a two-year period.   In her preface, she indicates that Clark claims to be innocent.  Indeed his first letter reiterates how he was framed by Carol Bundy and her boyfriend, Jack Murray.  He insists that a DNA analysis of the biological evidence will exonerate him.  He denies having been Carol Bundy's lover.  At best, they were casual acquaintances.  He calls Carol a "sadistic lesbian serial killer."  He also notes that Furio's project may just be a way for her to get vicarious thrills.

In these letters, his sentences are erratic and he never fails to add some sexual content to try to draw Furio into giving him a thrill.  There's no doubt that he likes lesbians and he hints that she might want to try that.  He also never fails to mention that it's impossible to prove that he is guilty of the murders and that he expects a retrial to happen very soon.

After her book was published, Furio wrote in her next book on team killers about how she went on a talk show and Clark called in.  "Douglas is incredibly tricky," she wrote.  She went on to say that he had portrayed himself in his letters as an honestly lustful man, not an unstable, repressed person like Carol Bundy.   Because she kept secrets about her deviant sex life, she's logically the killer, not him.  Being out of touch with her needs led to the kind of anger it takes to murder people so brutally.  Yet when he called in to the talk show, he claimed that he'd given Furio details to excite her lonely existence.  She was just like Carol.

But Furio had the last word, as she reframed his ideas as manipulations and his ruse as one of his many masks.   She then tried to enlist Carol Bundy in her attempt to understand team killers, but Carol did not cooperate.  Furio dismissed her as emotionally dissipated.  In the end, she decided that Clark was guilty and had manipulated Carol through her instability and desperation to be loved—exactly what Carol may well have manipulated many people to believe.

Larry King devoted a show to the murders in 1992, in which he interviewed witness Mindy Cohen, author Louise Farr, and author Mark MacNamara, who argued in an article for Vanity Fair that Clark may be innocent of the charges.  He claimed that there were only three pieces of actual evidence against Clark—the fact that the gun was found in his workplace, Bundy's testimony, and the testimony of a woman who claimed that Clark had once attacked her.  He believed each piece, when closely examined, fell apart.  It was his contention that the trial did not establish Clark as a killer.  (Farr accused him of being a mere mouthpiece and alter ego for Clark.)

Nothing was resolved on this show.

Nico Claux
Nico Claux

Freed serial killer Nico Claux wrote to both Clark and Bundy, and received a postcard from Carol in 1995 to the effect that she was going blind.  She also could not afford stamps to France, where he lived, so she declined to engage in an ongoing correspondence with him.  She thanked him and wished him a happy new year.  He posted the letter online with several photos of the crime scenes from the Sunset Slayers.  

Michael and C.L. Kelleher indicate that there is some belief that Bundy and Clark were responsible for many more murders than those with which they were charged—possibly as many as fifty (probably based on Bundy's testimony about 47).   They maintain, probably correctly, that the true relationship between these two may never be known.  Those who have spent time with them claim they are both manipulative.

Louise Farr, a magazine writer, is the only person to have gone through the 52 volumes of courtroom transcripts and to have tracked down many people involved, including Clark and Bundy.  She commented that researching these crimes had an emotional impact on how she now views violence.  For an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she said, "Crimes like these reverberate outward and the circle keeps getting bigger and bigger."


Post Script:

Carol Bundy died at age 61 on December 9, 2003

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