Suwannee Democrat

Branford News

January 13, 2009

30-year career comes to an end for Jerry Blair

Storied state attorney was best known for prosecuting Ted Bundy

Live Oak's Jerry Blair, who served as Third Circuit State Attorney for 30 years, ended his career Jan. 6, with the swearing in of his successor, Skip Jarvis. Here's our tribute to a man whose prosecutorial skills were celebrated across the state - and nation.

Memorable cases

In high school Blair aspired to be an FBI agent. After earning a degree in agriculture and a short career in the military, he chose law instead.

Blair, 63, mostly handled murder and capital cases and grand juries. He is best known for prosecuting serial killer Ted Bundy -- a task he took on about a year after being first elected.

Bundy abducted and killed 12-year-old Kimberly Leach of Lake City then dumped her body in Suwannee County. It was the last of a string of murders Bundy committed before he was sentenced to death in the electric chair.

While awaiting the jury's verdict during the penalty phase of the trial, Blair had a face-to-face encounter with the killer. Bundy was representing himself and had been given an office to work on his defense. Blair's office was nearby.

Both men had stepped out into the hall. When Blair turned to go back into his office Bundy called out the prosecutor's name.

"He shrugged his shoulders and said, 'I'm sorry,'" Blair remembers. "I said, 'Yeah. I'm sorry, too, Ted.' And to this day I don't know what he was telling me that he was sorry for."

Blair remembers Bundy, a former law student, arguing his own case with lawyer-like skill. He also remembers the day Bundy showed up in the courtroom wearing a bow tie to conduct his own wedding ceremony. It was around Valentine's Day. Bundy, representing himself, called a witness, Carole Boone, to the stand for the purpose of marrying her. Blair objected, but the judge overruled the motion.

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