Commenting that he was “trying to keep a light air here, rather than being extremely serious,” Edmund E. Kemper III Wednesday told the Community Release Board, “I don’t see a place for me in society ever again.”
At the second of his parole hearings, John Brooks, chairman of the three-man panel, told the six-foot nine-inch murderer he is “unsuitable for parole.”
The release board hearings are conducted on the second floor of the California Medical Facility, in a room with dark paneling and broad tables. The proceedings are tape recorded and a court reporter also takes notes of the discussions.
Wednesday, someone had tied a small noose in the end of a venitian blind cord across the room from where Kemper calmly sat in his blue denim prison uniform.
Kemper criticized the news media for interpreting his remarks at his first, half-hearted parole hearing last year as meaning he does not want to be released from state prison.
“I have tried the door, gentlemen, and I assure you all is secure,” he told the release board last year, adding that the State of California has “more than enough reason to keep me locked up for the rest of my life. I have to say eight people are dead and I murdered them.”
At Wednesday’s hearing, Kemper seemed to show more interest in seeking his own release from prison, but he appeared like a small boy in a candy store, not only afraid to reach out and touch the candy, but also unwilling to admit to himself or others that he wanted some.
“I literally sink my own boat and I do it quite frequently,” he said. But he said the issue is not a matter of his not wanting to be released, it is the fact that he believes he can find no place for himself in society. He said he is a “maniac” in the eyes of society, and he believes he has 230 million enemies in the United States and 5 billion beyond its borders.
“I might as well be on Mars,” he went on. “I don’t see a parole in my future, so I’ve made no formal plans” for his life following release from prison, which is a routine question asked by the board.
In addition to objecting to the presence of four reporters at his hearing, Kemper also said the presence of a deputy district attorney and investigator from Santa Cruz County turned what he interpreted as an “information exchange” hearing into an adversary proceeding.
Prison psychologist R.J. Brooks advised the panel Kemper has “narcissistic and schizo-typical personality disorders” and said he is constantly suspicious of other people’s motives, as well as his own.
However, the psychologist said Kemper is learning to accept criticism and made a difficult emotional decision in the past year which led to his quitting the prison project making tapes of books for the blind, at which he spent 3,600 volunteer hours during his incarceration.
Santa Cruz Deputy DA John Hopkins argued, however, that Kemper lacked a basic understanding of the enormous atrocity of his crimes and seemed to “gloss” over the events. Kemper’s victims were dismembered after they were brutally slain.
Hopkins said Kemper’s crimes were “especially heinous and atrocious” and they were committed in a “dispassionate and calculated manner, with no real explicable motive.”
“He seems to gloss over things, despite his attention to minute detail, and seems unable to really contemplate what underlies this” hearing, Hopkins said. He is making every “effort to distract attention from what’s really been done.”
Kemper, on the other hand, said he has wasted 25 years of his life and feels “an obligation to do something positive, not just sit here and cry for society.”
After approximately 45 minutes of deliberation by the board, Brooks told Kemper he is still “unsuitable for parole.” Adding that his murders were extremely violent, including dismemberment and decapitation of his victims, which showed “a total disregard for human dignity.”
Brooks said the board would follow his psychiatrist’s recommendation that he be held for “a long period of observation.”
“No parole for homicidal giant,” by James E. Reid, The Press Democrat, May 1st, 1980