George R. Dekle Sr.

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George R. Dekle Sr.
Dekle in 2006
BornGeorge Robert Dekle
(1948-05-23) May 23, 1948
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Florida (BA, JD)
Occupation(s)Legal Skills Professor, UF, Levin College of Law; writer
Known forLead prosecutor in the Orlando Ted Bundy murder trial
Notable workThe Last Murder: The Investigation, Prosecution, and Execution of Ted Bundy (2011)
Spouse Lane Dicks ​(m. 1972)​
ParentDonald James & Anne Coleman Dekle

George Robert "Bob" Dekle Sr. (born May 23, 1948) is an American lawyer who was an Assistant State Attorney in Florida's Third Judicial Circuit from 1975 through 2005. During this time, he served as lead prosecuting attorney in the 1980 Orlando murder trial of serial killer Ted Bundy, which ultimately delivered the death penalty that was carried out in 1989. Dekle's book on the case, The Last Murder: The Investigation, Prosecution, and Execution of Ted Bundy, was published in 2011.

Dekle served as a Legal Skills Professor at Levin College of Law, University of Florida, from 2006 through June 2016. He writes books on trial advocacy and legal history and has lectured extensively nationwide. Dekle is also a chess variant inventor.

Early life

Dekle was born May 23, 1948, in Gainesville, Florida, the eldest child of Donald James and Anne Coleman Dekle. He has one brother, William Ervin Dekle, and one sister, Lucy Dekle Daniels. Dekle lived with his family on a farm in Lake Butler, Union County, Florida. Dekle's mother was a teacher; his father was a deputy in Lake Butler and also a colonel with the Department of Corrections. Dekle's grandfather was a sheriff in Union County; his great-grandfather was a teacher and also a county judge. At the age of 9 or 10, Dekle was inspired about the possibility of a law career: while visiting a small town with his family, he saw a building with many books behind the picture window, and learned from his father that it was a law office. "Even at that age, I was a bookworm, and I thought it would be wonderful to have a job where you worked with so many books." In 7th or 8th grade, he skipped school to watch the closing arguments of a double murder trial in Lake Butler. "I came away knowing that I wanted to be three things: a lawyer, a trial lawyer, and a prosecutor."

In 1961 Dekle's family moved to Lake City, Florida, where he played defensive guard on the Lake City Columbia High School (CHS) football team.


After graduating from CHS in 1966, Dekle completed a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Florida (UF) in 1970. As a freshman in 1966 he played defensive tackle for the Florida Gators freshmen football team, which went 4–0 that season. After completing his B.A. he taught history at CHS for one year. Dekle then returned to UF and completed a Juris Doctor in 1973.


From 1973 to 1975, Dekle was Assistant Public Defender of the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida. He became Assistant State Attorney for the Third Circuit in 1975, serving 30 years until retiring in 2005. As Assistant State Attorney, Dekle investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of criminal cases. From 2006 through June 2016 he has been Legal Skills Professor at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law, overseeing the Prosecution Clinic.

Dekle has lectured extensively to prosecutor's associations nationwide. He has also served as faculty at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina. In an interview in 2016, Dekle summarized the hardest lesson he learned as a trial lawyer:

you should try your case, not fight opposing counsel. Cordiality to opposing counsel usually makes it easier to try your case. Sometimes opposing counsel won't allow you to be cordial, but whenever you can you should try your case with an air of collegial professionalism.

and a lesson that he would like to pass on to new trial lawyers:

You have a job to do as a prosecutor, and sometimes the people and incidents you deal with aren't very pretty. But you should never lose sight of the fact that a prosecutor is a minister of justice, not a vigilante avenger.

State of Florida v. Theodore Robert Bundy

The trial of Ted Bundy in Orlando was the second murder trial of serial killer Bundy, who had previously been convicted and received two death sentences for two homicides in the Chi Omega proceedings in Miami in June 1979. The Orlando trial, for the February 9, 1978, abduction and first degree murder in Lake City of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, the youngest and last Bundy victim, occurred six months later, from January to February 1980. Dekle led the prosecution team. Bundy was found guilty on all counts and was sentenced with death for a third time. After multiple stays of execution by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and being upheld on appeal, the sentence was carried out nearly nine years later on January 24, 1989, by electrocution at Florida State Prison.

The Bundy case was Dekle's first Murder I prosecution. At age 30 and with three years experience as a prosecutor, he worked intensely on trial preparation from 1978 to 1980. He said, "That's where I learned to be a lawyer—prosecuting that case... It was such a vast-sprawling case that I had an opportunity to learn all kinds of aspects of criminal trial practice and all aspects of forensic science that probably would've taken years to learn about otherwise." Of the more than 350 jury trials in which Dekle had been lead counsel, the Bundy case was his most memorable. Fibers with an unusual manufacturing flaw allowed Dekle to connect Bundy's jacket to Bundy's van and to Kimberly Leach's body. The presentation of fiber evidence was the most memorable moment in Dekle's career as trial lawyer.

The Last Murder

In his book The Last Murder: The Investigation, Prosecution, and Execution of Ted Bundy, published May 2011, Dekle conveys that a successful third conviction in the circumstantial evidence case was anything but certain. He documents the enormous amount of work and preparation needed for the high-profile case, including the intricacies and complexities of investigation and prosecution, often across multiple states and jurisdictions. According to Hon. Michael D. Marcus (ret.), author of Trial Preparation for Prosecutors:

Dekle takes the reader "behind the scenes" to show that homicide investigations are arduous, unglamorous processes that can be sidetracked by both dead end leads and bureaucratic pettiness and that the resulting trials often experience unexpected legal and evidentiary potholes. Bundy's eventual conviction is a testament to dogged hard work by Dekle, his fellow prosecutors and assisting law enforcement.

Dekle's first objective for his book was to tell a Lake City story that "needed to be told". The book is an "easy read" according to Lake City Reporter publisher Todd Wilson, while also a detailed historical chronicle of events. Dekle credits numerous law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and investigators who worked closely on the case for contributing to its success. His second objective was "to offer guidance to any young prosecutor". The book is classified as a textbook. The 1980 case did not have the benefit of DNA testing, which was developed later. Dekle: "It is a case that would have been a slam dunk today because of DNA, but it is also a look at how to proceed with a capital case."

Dekle dedicated his book "To the memory of Kimberly Diane Leach."

Other cases

Dekle was also successful as lead prosecutor in other significant Murder I cases in Florida:


Dekle received awards of recognition from the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association (FPAA):

Civic and personal life

Sports: Dekle coached football in 1970 at his alma mater Columbia High School (CHS). He coached football for the Lake City Columbia County Boys' Club, Youth league. He also was President of CHS Wrestling Boosters Association.

Medical: Dekle has served on Florida Advisory Council on Emergency Medical Services, as well as on LCCC Advisory Committee on Emergency Medical Services, for which he was also Chairperson.

Church: Dekle was Sunday School Director for Eastside Baptist Church in Lake City, as well as budget committee Chairperson. He has also served as Chairperson of Deacons, and Trustee for the Lake City First Baptist Church.

Dekle married Lane Dicks in June 1971. Lane was a nursing instructor at Lake City Community College. Together they have one daughter, Laura (born 1972); and two sons, George (born 1975) and John Thomas (born 1978). John Thomas Dekle is a lawyer.


Dekle began playing chess at age 5. He became a member of the Lake City Chess Club, as well as a certified USCF tournament director, and directed a few local tournaments. He became an avid international postal chess player, including games of shogi, and was an active member of NOST. Dekle has invented a number of chess variants and shogi variants which were published in D. B. Pritchard's two chess variant encyclopedias and included in Michael Keller's World Game Review. Many of his variants involve adaptations of chess or shogi to novel gameboards or board cell geometries. Dekle has also researched and written about chess history.

Published works

See also


  1. ^ Marcus, Hon. Michael D. (2010). Trial Preparation for Prosecutors (3rd ed.). LexisNexis. ISBN 978-157911183-0.
  2. ^ NOST (kNights Of the Square Table), a (now defunct) correspondence game club formed in 1960 by Bob Lauzon and Jim France, enjoyed several hundred active members (Pritchard 1994:210).


  1. ^ a b Downey, Lindsay (2006-01-29). "A love for the law". Lake City Reporter. Lake City, Florida. pp. 1C, 3C.
  2. ^ a b c Wilcox, Elliott (2012). "Five Questions with... George R. (Bob) Dekle". Trial Theater, LLC. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  3. ^ a b Voyles, Karen (2011-09-11). "Getting Bundy: UF professor writes book about his most famous case". Gainesville Sun. Gainesville, Florida. p. 3D.
  4. ^ "The Last Murder". ABC-CLIO. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  5. ^ a b c Wilson, Todd (2011-06-12). "The Last Murder". Lake City Reporter. Lake City, Florida. pp. 1D–2D.
  6. ^ Dekle, George R. Sr. (2011). The Last Murder: The Investigation, Prosecution, and Execution of Ted Bundy (Hardcover ed.). Praeger Publishers. p. v. ISBN 978-031339743-1.
  7. ^ Blewett, Joe (1985-10-09). "Checkmate is a way of life for Bob Dekle". Lake City Reporter. Lake City, Florida. p. 9.
  8. ^ Pritchard, D. B. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. Games & Puzzles Publications. ISBN 0-9524142-0-1. and Pritchard, D. B. (2007). Beasley, John (ed.). The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. John Beasley. ISBN 978-0-9555168-0-1.
  9. ^ Keller, Michael, ed. (June 1991). "A Panorama of Chess Variants". World Game Review (10). Michael Keller. ISSN 1041-0546.
  10. ^ Dekle, George R. Sr. (2011). The Case against Christ: A Critique of the Prosecution of Jesus. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. xiii. ISBN 978-144383194-9.

External links