November 1, 1973 – Kemper broke down shortly before 4 p.m. as he was being questioned by his attorney Jim Jackson about his suicide attempt Sunday morning in his San Mateo jail cell. Kemper’s cell is under constant surveillance by jailers by means of a television camera. But Kemper told how he avoided signalling his suicidal actions by simply turning his back to the camera and slashing his wrist with the flattened and sharpened casing of a ballpoint pen.
He said he had cut an artery, which was spurting blood, and a vein, which also was bleeding. Jackson interrupted him to ask why had he not, if he wanted to die, stuck himself in the throat. Kemper looked up blandly at the question and replied quietly, “I would have died too fast that way.” He explained that he could have cut an artery in his throat but he wanted to think about things as he bled.
“What were you thinking about, Ed?” asked Jackson.
Kemper looked down at his hands and began to reply slowly, “I was thinking about the girls who died… their fathers…” At this point, his voice broke and tears came to his eyes, which he brushed away.
Two fathers of his coed victims testified in court during the first week of the trial and Kemper had been unable or unwilling to look at them while they were on the stand.
Momentarily, Kemper recovered his composure and said, “Sorry,” and then continued “… their mothers, and I thought about what I did…” At this point, the young giant buried his face in his hands, apparently unable to continue.
Judge Harry F. Brauer immediately adjourned the court for the day, and Kemper jumped up from the witness chair and hastily headed for the back door of the courtroom, catching sheriff’s deputies across the room momentarily off guard.
Bailiff Don Chapman was the first to reach Kemper, and he patted him consolingly on the back as he led him into the jury room adjacent to the courtroom, where Kemper remained until Jackson went in to see him before he was taken back to San Mateo County jail.
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