Vacaville – The state Board of Prison Terms denied parole Thursday to Edmund Kemper, telling the convicted murderer of eight he still is a threat to society.
It was the fourth denial in as many years for the 33-year-old Kemper, who was convicted of the murders in 1973 and became eligible for parole in 1979.
The three-member panel also agreed with requests by Assistant District Attorney John Hopkins and by Kemper, himself, that the next parole hearing be put off three years as provided for in a new state law.
Kemper was almost unrecognizable as he walked into the hearing room Thursday at the California Medical Facility here, where he has been incarcerated since his conviction in Santa Cruz Superior Court.
He told the parole board he has been exercising and jogging the past year and has shed 80 pounds from his 6-foot-9 frame. When he was convicted, Kemper weighed some 280 pounds. He is now sporting slightly longer and neatly-combed hair.
Kemper said he did not wish to testify at the hour-long hearing, but answered a number of questions from the panelists, describing his job as therapy clerk, volunteer work reading books on tape for the blind and the progress he said he has made in sessions with his psychiatrist.
But Kemper said in response to a question from Robert Roos, he doesn’t feel he’s ready to be returned to the street.
Ted Rich, chairman of the panel, later told Kemper that that admission played a part in the board’s denial of parole.
In announcing the decision after a short deliberation, Rich commended Kemper for his behavior inside the institution and for the progress reflected in the psychiatric report.
Kemper replied, “Thank you, I appreciate that.”
The report by Dr. R. Brooks said, in part, that Kemper “has made considerable progress in re-establishing his working relationship with his family, in many ways to a level which surpasses his highest functioning in the family in the past.”
Kemper told the panel he corresponds with his two sisters, but no longer with his father. “I blew it,” he said of the break-off of communication.
One of Kemper’s eight victims was his mother and he previously was convicted of killing his grandparents.
Brooks also wrote: “As he releases some of his intellectual defenses and experiences and expresses his emotional responses, he has become more ‘real,’ stepping out of his ‘monster’ role.”
Rich complimented Kemper for not being “contentious” as he had been at the previous parole hearings.
But, he reminded Kemper the murders were committed in an “especially heinous and atrocious manner” and that Kemper had “(sexually) abused and mutilated” his victims. (…)
Steve Bedient, Kemper’s appointed attorney, conceded Thursday that Kemper’s multiple murder conviction plus his former conviction stand strongly against him.
But, he urged the panel to consider the other factors required by law: Kemper’s behavior while institutionalized and the psychiatric report, which he said stand strongly in Kemper’s favor.
Bedient also said Kemper has shown remorse and added, “If 2 ½ million feet of tape (which Kemper said he has read for the blind) is not paying back society, I don’t know what is.”
But Kemper, arguing against his own release, said “I doubt I will ever understand what I did. I’ve made my own choice to try to become normal. I believe in a humane society. Some of my past actions have shown a disregard for the compassion of another person.”
His attorney, Steve Bedient, said Kemper estimated it would take at least 30 years before he could be released.
Kemper replied: “I don’t think it takes much effort for a person to realize that the notoriety of what I’ve done makes relationships with women a lot more difficult. It makes it rough, but it’s a challenge.”
Sources: “Mass murderer Kemper denied parole again”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, by Mark Bergstrom, June 25, 1982 / “Kemper agrees his place is behind bars”, Register-Pajaronian, June 25, 1982