Edmund Kemper/Edmund Emil Kemper III
born December 18, 1948
in Burbank, California
Edmund Kemper is a well-known serial killer in America. He is responsible for murdering several young college women. He would pick them up while they were hitch hiking. Although he picked up and dropped off well over 100 young women, he did kill 6. As you will see, there were several warning signs that Kemper was a disturbed individual. Perhaps the fact that he was charming, well spoken, highly intelligent, and very sociable added to his ability to elude any attention being drawn to him.
Kemper has two sisters and is the middle child. He moved with his mother and two sisters to Montana when his parents divorced in 1957. His mother was an alcoholic who constantly had cruel words for Edmund. At 10 years old, he was forced, by his mother, to live in the basement. His mother claimed he was no good and didn’t want him around her or her daughters. During this secluded time, Edmund began having dark fantasies about killing his mother. He would cut off the heads of his sister’s dolls. He persuaded them to play a game he called “gas chamber.” He made each of them blindfold him and lead him to a chair, where he would pretend to writhe in agony until he “died.”~~Now, I gotta add here…This “game” makes little sense to me! I’m sure this information, found during research, is supposed to shed some sort of light on the outcome of his thoughts and actions. But this game that he loved so much seems to be about electrocution. Did he want to do bad things in order to get caught so he could be put “in the chair?” Was his ultimate goal to be caught?
At the age of 13 he killed his cat with a knife he nicknamed The General. He began causing all sorts of trouble and making his mother and sisters uncomfortable. He was sent to live with his father but soon ended up right back at his mother’s house. She soon decided he was too troubled so she sent him to live with his paternal grandparents in North Fork, California. Problems soon began here too. He hated living with his grandparents and they grew to fear him. After killing several birds and various small animals, they took away his rifle.
At 15 years old he shot his grandmother in the kitchen. He waited for his grandfather to get home and walked outside. He met him at his car and shot him. He then hid they body. He claimed to have shot his grandmother just to see what it was like and shooting his grandfather was just so that he wouldn’t have to find out that his wife had been murdered. He seemed to look at the first killing as curiosity and the second as sympathetic. Hmmm… Anyway, he called his mother after the murders and told her what he had done. She instructed him to call the police and tell them what he had done.
He was sent to the California Youth Authority soon after. He went through several tests there. It was determined that he had a very high IQ and suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He was then sent to the Atascadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. In 1969 he was released…at 21 years old. By this time, his mother had moved to California after ending her third marriage. Kemper began living under his mother’s roof even though she had abused him in the past. People say the Court advised against it, but being released at 21 with nowhere to go, he felt he had no choice but to go to her.
He attended community college for a short time and then went to work for the California Highway Department in 1971. He attempted to become a state trooper but was denied due to his brute size. Kemper is 6 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 300 lbs. He did, however, become friends with quite a few men on the police force. They would frequently talk and have a few drinks at a local bar together. His car even resembled a police cruiser. Some speculate that he fancied police officer and some think that he just wanted to stay “in the loop” and learn police tactics.
Some time thereafter he received a $15,000 settlement after he was hit by a car while riding on his motorcycle. He filed a civil suite against the driver because his arm was badly injured and caused him to be out of work. Being bored, while out of work, added to his dark fantasies about women. He began to notice several young women hitchhiking in the area. He bought a new car with some of his settlement money and kept a gun, knife (The General), handcuffs and other tools in his trunk.
In the beginning, he would pick up various women and let them out at their desired destinations. Kemper claims he did this for about 150 women. As time went by though he became intrigued by how easy they got in his car and how his fantasies may have the possibility to become reality. On May 7, 1972, he picked up Mary Ann Pesce and Anita Luchessa. They were both Fresno State College students. They never made it to their destination. In fact, right after the murders he was stopped for a broken tail light. If the officer had conducted a simple search he would have found the two bodies in the trunk. Reported missing by their families, a search went underway. Their fates were realized on August 15th after hikers found Pesce’s head in the woods. Luchessa’s body was never found. Kemper admitted later that one was stabbed to death and the other was stabbed and strangled. He said he took the bodies back to his apartment and cut off their heads and hands. He then engaged in sexual activity with their corpses.
Soon after these crimes, he picked up 15-year-old Aiko Koo. He pulled out his gun and showed it to her. She began to panic and plead for her life. He pulled over and put the gun down. He then got out of the car and locked himself out. Aiko didn’t grab the gun, but instead unlocked the car to let him back in. The only sense I can make of this is the tremendous fear she felt and her age. I’m sure her thoughts were so chaotic at that point in time. Once back in the car, he choked her, making her black out and then raped her. When she came to he strangled her to death. Stuffed in the trunk and his satisfaction met, he drove to the local bar and had a few drinks. Later on he took her home and dismembered her.
In January of 1973 he picked up Cindy Schall and shot her. He hid her body in his room at his mother’s house. He cut her up the next day in the bathtub and dumped her body parts in the ocean. Several parts washed up on shore later on.
To add to the craziness, Kemper’s mom got him a campus parking sticker so he could pick her up in the evenings. He basically had a welcome sticker for his playground. On February 5, 1973 he had a huge fight with his mother. Using his parking sticker to get on campus, he picked up Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Lin. He shot both and drove right past campus security at the gate with both women fatally wounded. One was in the front seat slumped over and one in the backseat with blanket over her. It is said that he told the campus guards that the two women were just drunk and that he was taking them home. He decapitated both women and then dismembered them as well. He disposed of their body parts in different locations. Hikers, near Highway 1 in Mateo County, found some of their remains in March.
His last two murders took place in April of 1973. He went to his mother’s house and, of course, they had just one more argument. He waited until she went to sleep and hit her int he head with a hammer. He then cut her throat with a knife and removed her head. Kemper removed her larynx and stuffed it down the garbage disposal. He placed her head on the mantle and said what he wanted to and then threw darts at it. He said for the first time she didn’t argue with him. He hid her body and went out to the bar with his police buddies. He invited his mother’s friend, Sara Hallett, over to the house. He killed and hid her body too. He fled the area and drove to Colorado where he called the Santa Cruz police to confess his crimes. They were in total shock, believing this to be a joke. Once he began giving details and locations they knew he wasn’t joking.
He went to trial in October of 1973 claiming her had committed 10 murders in all. Before the trial began he tried to kill himself twice by slitting his wrists. Failing both times and being found sane, the trial began. He was found guilty on all 8 murder charges. The judge asked what he thought his punishment should be and Kemper replied that he should be tortured to death (hence the “chair game” from when he was little, maybe?!?). The judge issued 8 concurrent life sentences for his crimes.
A few quotes…
“When someone put their hand on my car door handle, they were giving me their life.”~~Kemper explaining his thoughts of power
“My frustration. My inability to communicate socially, sexually. I wasn’t impotent. I was scared to death of failing in male-female relaionships.”~~explaining some of his motive
during an interview~~Q- What do you think when you see a pretty girl walking down the street? A- “One side of me says, ‘I’d like to talk to her, date her. The other side of me says, ‘I wonder how her head would look on a stick.”
I have read articles and books pertaining to Kemper and his crimes. I have watched interviews and listened to him talk about his life, the murders, his reasoning…And I have to say…The man is very intelligent. He is so smart it’s scary. He fantasizes, he ponders, he plans, he uses logic…the man is down-right frightening but also intriguing. His thought process is that of a sane man, but his actions are anything but that. Through watching his interviews, he talks about the severed heads and how he would hold them and talk to them. I just don’t understand it. How can a perfectly sane human being do something so insane? Anyway, I’m glad he made that call and confessed. I wonder if he would have been caught had he not killed his mom and then made that call? He was very good at what he did and that kind of craziness makes me nervous.