Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Month: March 2019 (Page 3 of 4)

List of 17 books narrated by Edmund Kemper for Volunteers of Vacaville – The Blind Project (Part 1 of 2)

Ed Kemper has read onto tape cassettes more books for the blind than any other prisoner. He has spent more than 5,000 hours in a booth before a microphone in the last 10 years and has more than four million feet of tape and several hundred books to his credit. The full list of these books has not been found yet.

Star Wars
By: George Lucas
Read by: Ed Kemper
Date Recorded/Cataloged: 6/21/1979

Rosary Murders, The
By: William Kienzle 
Read by: Ed Kemper 
Date Recorded/Cataloged: 1/1/1981
Mystery and detectives

Flowers in the Attic
By: V.C. Andrews
Read by: Ed Kemper
Date Recorded/Cataloged: 5/8/1984

Web Between the Worlds
By: Charles Sheffield
Read by: Ed Kemper
Date Recorded/Cataloged: 2/2/1987

Windmills of the Gods
By: Sidney Sheldon 
Read by: Ed Kemper
Date Recorded/Cataloged: 8/12/1987

Dune, Book 4: God Emperor of Dune
By: Frank Herbert
Read by: Ed Kemper
Date Recorded/Cataloged: 5/2/1988

If Tomorrow Comes
By: Sidney Sheldon
Read by: Ed Kemper
Date Recorded/Cataloged: 5/11/1989
Crime fiction

Petals on the Wind
By: V.C. Andrews
Read by: Ed Kemper
Date Recorded/Cataloged: 4/28/1993

Glass Key, The
By: Dashiell Hammett
Read by: Ed Kemper
Date Recorded/Cataloged: 2/6/1994
Mystery and detectives

Ed Kemper and the Blind Project

Since 1960, prisoners at Vacaville have been recording books–best sellers, textbooks, mysteries, science fiction, Westerns, children’s books and cookbooks–on tape for blind men, women and children all over America. It is the oldest and largest projects of its kind in the nation.

“Their visit here is so special for us. We get letters of thanks from our blind patrons, but they never come inside the prison to meet us,” said Edmund E. Kemper III, 38, the inmate who runs the program.

Kemper, a confessed mass murderer, has read onto tape cassettes more books for the blind than any other prisoner. He has spent more than 5,000 hours in a booth before a microphone in the last 10 years and has more than four million feet of tape and several hundred books to his credit.

Two large trophies saluting Kemper for his dedication to the program, presented by supporters outside the prison, are on display in the Volunteers prison office, which has eight recording booths, two monitor booths and a battery of sophisticated tape duplication equipment.

“I can’t begin to tell you what this has meant to me, to be able to do something constructive for someone else, to be appreciated by so many people, the good feeling it gives me after what I have done,” said the 6-foot, 9-inch prisoner.

Source: Blind Couple See Only Good, Not the Guilt of the Helpers, Los Angeles Times, January 29, 1987 / Some of the photos courtesy of

When asked why he killed women, Edmund Kemper cited his own insecurities.

“My frustration. My inability to communicate socially, sexually. I wasn’t impotent, but emotionally I was impotent. I was scared to death of failing in male/female relationships. I knew absolutely nothing about that whole area, even of just sitting down and talking with a young lady.”

Source: documentary No Apparent Motive (1984)

“I would have died too fast that way.”

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.

“One thing I learned at Atascadero was you don’t get far if you regret anything.”

In August 1974, a UCSC symposium entitled “Minds on trial” took place with 5 experts on the criminal mind: John Monahan, assistant professor on social ecology at the University of California at Irvine; District Attorney Peter Chang; Joel Fort, MD specialist in crime and violence and author of the “Pleasure Seekers”; Jerome Neu, assistant professor of humanities at UCSC; and David Marlowe, expert witness in numerous murder trials.

Moving into the Ed Kemper murders, the panel explored the possible motives behind the eight killings and discussed Kemper’s childhood and personality. “I don’t think we’ll ever know why he did what he did,” said Marlowe. “He wasn’t particularly different from many people. He wasn’t crazy. The question is ‘What accounts for his loss of control?’ Many others with similar fantasies and upbringings never commit a violent act.”

While author Fort said sexual repression, large physical size, a need to be near his father and his lack of friends were all contributing motives to the killings, Kemper could not pinpoint which special event led to his need to murder.

“To him and other mass murderers, killing is as acceptable as eating a meal or brushing your teeth. This type of behaviour didn’t bother him in the least.” District Attorney Chang added other dimensions to Kemper’s personality. “One side of him really had a conscience. I think he really wanted to confess.” However, Chang also said “Ed never showed remorse or guilt. He told me ‘One thing I learned at Atascadero was you don’t get far if you regret anything.’”

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, Sunday, August 18, 1974

“Just like, it amazed me so much because one second she’s animated and the next second, she’s not, and there was absolutely nothing between. Just a noise and absolute, absolute stillness.”

Edmund Kemper killed Cynthia Ann “Cindy” Schall with a single bullet to the head as she lay in the trunk of his car. She died instantly.

He decapitated her the next morning after engaging in sexual acts with her body. He disposed of her remains and her things, except for her head that he kept and buried in the backyard, just under his mother’s bedroom window.

Artwork by: @kkdtrooper /

Ed Kemper’s confession tapes

The prosecution yesterday rested its case against Edmund E. Kemper III. The state’s final evidence was a videotape showing Kemper’s lengthy confession of eight grisly murders. While the video confession was being played for the jury of six women and six men, Kemper buried his head in his hands.

His attorney, James Jackson, interrupted the proceedings to ask Judge Harry Brauer if Kemper could be excused. The judge agreed and Kemper was allowed to leave the courtroom.

Kemper’s confessions were introduced previously in the trial, but the video recording was shown to give the jury an impression of the defendant’s attitude while he was recounting the crimes for investigators last April 28, shortly after he surrendered in Colorado. 

Source: San Bernardino Sun, 1 November 1973 / Video: Kemper on Kemper, Oxygen TV

Ed Kemper’s cryptic note

After killing and decapitating his mother, Clarnell Strandberg, early on the Saturday before Easter of 1973, Ed Kemper scrawled a cryptic note for police and spent much of the day drinking. That evening, he invited his mother’s co-worker and close friend Sara Hallett to a surprise dinner, then choked her to death and fled in her car.

“Not sloppy + incomplete, gents, just a “lack of time.” 

Got things to do!!! 

Appx 5:15 AM Saturday.

No need for her to suffer anymore at the hands of this horrible “murderous butcher.” 

It was quick – asleep – no pain. The way I wanted it.”

“I had been living with people older than I was for so long that I was an old fogey.”

Ed Kemper blamed the court for counteracting the plan of Atascadero doctors to release him in stages geared to get him accustomed to the world outside again. He said they planned to send him to a “halfway house” environment where he would still have counselling, have a chance to get acquainted with girls at social functions and become aware of persons in his own age group.

“When I got out on the street (in 1969) it was like being on a strange planet. People my age were not talking the same language. I had been living with people older than I was for so long that I was an old fogey.”

Source: Front Page Detective Magazine, March 1974, by Marj von Beroldingen

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