Edmund Kemper was born in 1948 on the 8th of December in Burbank, California, United States. He was the only boy child in a family of three children. Kemper was the son of Clarnell Elizabeth Kemper (1921-1973) and Edmund Emil Kemper (1919-1985). After his parents divorced in 1957, Kemper decided to move to Montana together with his mother and his two sisters. During his childhood, he was emotionally and psychologically abused by his alcoholic mother. She was very judgmental, and he kept on blaming her for all his troubles. At the age of 10, Kempers mother forced him to reside in the dark basement. She did this out of the fear that he might harm his two sisters in some way.
Kemper started showing signs of trouble at an early age. He exhibited antisocial and psychopathic traits such as being cruel to animals. Back in the basement, he decapitated and removed the hands of his sibling's dolls. Kemper also tricked his sisters to play a game that he called, gas chamber, where he was to be blindfolded and put him on a chair, on which he faked to twist in pain until he died. When Kemper was ten years old, he took their family pet cat and buried it alive. After the cat died, he beheaded it and mounted its head on a spike. Kemper also killed another cat by stubbing it at the age of 13 (Cencich, 2012).
When he was 14 years old, Kemper ran away from home and went to his fathers place in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California. He found that his father had married another wife and had a stepson. He lived with his father for a short while until he was sent away to the mountains of North Fork to live with his grandparents, Edmund Kemper and Maunde.
Kemper did not like the life in North Fork since his grandparents lived on a ranch. He had already learned how to use firearms before he went to North Fork and even owned a rifle. His grandparents took the gun away from him after he killed several small animals and birds. On the 27th of August 1964, Kemper argued with his grandmother. And out of anger, he shot his grandmother in the head and twice at the back. He then hid her body in the bedroom. Kempers grandfather had gone for a grocery shopping, and when he came back home, Kemper shot him and hid his body. Being unsure of what to do next, Kemper decided to call his mother who informed him to talk to the police. After being questioned by the police, he confirmed that he murdered his grandmother to see what it felt like and that he murdered his grandfather for him not to find out that he has killed his wife. Kemper was taken to the California Youth Authority for having committed these crimes. After being diagnosed by court psychiatrists, it was found that Kemper possessed a very high IQ and that he had paranoid schizophrenia. He was then taken to a maximum security facility, Atascadero State Hospital (White, Lester, Gentile, & Rosenbleeth, 2011).
Imprisonment and release
Psychiatrists and social workers at the security facility failed to agree with the diagnosis of the court psychiatrists. Their report was different. Kemper humbled himself to his psychiatrists and became a model prisoner. He was taught how to give psychiatric tests to his fellow inmates. He also joined the Jaycees while in prison where he acquired new skills. In 1969 at the age of 21, Kemper was released from police custody. He went to his mothers home in Santa Cruz, California despite the recommendations of his doctors not to go to his mother. The reason was that of her cruelty and his psychological issues with her. While living with his mother, Kemper was admitted to a community college. He did a variety of jobs before finally being employed by the Department of Transportation in 1971 (white et, al., 2011).
Kemper always dreamt of becoming a trooper, and thus he applied to become one. He did not succeed due to his size. He was 6 feet tall and weighed about 300 pounds. However, Kemper used to hang around with the Santa Cruz police officers who nicknamed him Big Ed because of his size. One police officer gave him handcuffs and a training school badge. The other officer lends him a gun. He even owned a vehicle which looked like a police cruiser. During this same year, Kemper got employed by the highway department where he was knocked down by a car when he was on his motorcycle. He was given a 15,000 dollars settlement after filing a suit against the car driver. He bought a new car with some of the settlement money in which he stored lethal tools that he could use for his psychopathic desires. These tools were a gun, handcuffs and a knife.
Kemper began by picking up female hitchhikers and letting them free. But when he offered Mary Ann Pesce and Anita Luchessa, (university students), a ride, he never allowed them to reach their destination. Both were reported to be missing by their parents, but nothing would be known until 15th of August when Pesces head was found in the woods near Santa Cruz. The remains of Luchessa were never fond. Kemper later explained that he stabbed them and carried their bodies to his apartment, had sexual activity with their corpses and then he removed their hands and heads (Hickey, 2013).
On 14th of September, 1972, a 15-year-old Aiko Koo who was going to a dance class was picked by Kemper after she decided to hitchhike rather than to wait for the bus. Aiko Koo also met Pesce and Luchessas fate (Hickey, 2013).
In 1973 January, Kemper picked up Cindy Schall and ended up shooting and killing her. Kemper went to her mothers home to hide Cindys body in his room. During the following day, he cut off her limbs and threw the parts in the ocean and buried her head in the backyard (Dogan, Demirci, Deniz, & Erkol, 2010). Kemper used his mother's parking sticker which allowed him to move freely around all the places on the campus. And on 5th February 1973, he offered a ride to two university students, Alice Liu and Rosalind and shot them dead. He then drove past the gates with the two dead girls in his car. He chopped off parts of their bodies and removed the bullets from their heads and threw the other pieces in different locations (Schlesinger, 2000).
There were two other serial killers during the time of Kemper's murders. These were, Herbert Millins and John Linley Frazier. This Murders resulted in Santa Cruz gaining the nickname Murder Capital of the World. Kemper was also nicknamed Co-ed Killer and the Co-ed Butcher.
Kemper committed his last two crimes in April 1973. When he visited his mother on the Good Friday, they engaged in an unpleasant argument. He attacked her when she was asleep, knocked her head with a hammer, and then slit her throat with a knife. Just like his other victims, he beheaded her and chopped off her hands. He also removed her vocal cords and disposed of them in the garbage (Beard, Hunter, Kern, & Kiley, 2014). He then hid the remaining body parts and went forward to call Sally Hallett, a friend to his mother. Kemper welcomed Sally to the house and strangled her dead moments after and placed her body in a closet. On the following day, Kemper fled to Pueblo, Colorado. And on 23rd of April the same year, he confessed his crimes to the Santa Cruz police. The Santa Cruz police did not believe at first, that Big Ed was a murderer. But after interrogations, Kemper led them to all the pieces of evidence to prove to them that he was indeed a killer (Leyton, 2008).
Trial and imprisonment
On October 1973, after being charged with several counts crimes of murder, Edmund Kemper was taken for a trial for his crimes. The court found him guilty of all of his crimes. When the judge asked him to decide the fate of his punishment, he told them to torture him to death. However, he was given eight concurrent life sentences. Currently, he is serving his life sentence at California Medical Facility in Vacaville.
Cencich, J. R. (2012). Serial killers, spree killers, and mass murderers. Encyclopedia of Street Crime in America. doi:10.4135/9781452274461.n152
White, J. H., Lester, D., Gentile, M., & Rosenbleeth, J. (2011). The utilization of forensic science and criminal profiling for capturing serial killers. Forensic Science International, 209(1-3), 160-165. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.01.022
Hickey, E. W. (2013). Serial murderers and their victims. Cengage Learning.
Beard, V., Hunter, S., Kern, L., & Kiley, B. (2014). Death-related crime: Applying Bryants conceptual paradigm of thanatological crime to serial homicide. Deviant Behavior, 35(12), 959-972. doi:10.1080/01639625.2014.901053
Schlesinger, L. (2000). Serial homicide. Serial Offenders. doi:10.1201/9781420039009.pt1
Leyton, E. (2008). Serial and mass murderers. Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, & Conflict, 1901-1914. doi:10.1016/b978-012373985-8.00160-4
Dogan, K. H., Demirci, S., Deniz, I., & Erkol, Z. (2010). Decapitation and dismemberment of the orpse: A matricide case. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 55(2), 542-545. doi:10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01266.x
Lauerma, H., Voutilainen, J., & Tuominen, T. (2010). Matricide and two sexual femicides by a male strangler with a transgender sadomasochistic identity. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 55(2), 549-550. doi:10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01280.x
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