“You haven’t asked the questions I expected a reporter to ask,” Kemper said to reporter Marj von B.
“What do you mean,” she replied. “Give me some examples.”
He drawled, “Oh, what is it like to have sex with a dead body? … What does it feel like to sit on your living room couch and look over and see two decapitated girls’ heads on the arm of the couch?” (He interjected an unsolicited answer: “The first time, it makes you sick to your stomach.”)
Source: Interview with Ed Kemper by Marj von Beroldingen, published in March 1974 in Front Page Detective Magazine / Image ©Bay Area TV Archive
Recently managed to fetch a copy of this hard-to-find magazine. It features one of the most important and thorough interviews done with Ed Kemper. Reporter Marj Von B had covered Kemper’s arrest and trial, mostly for the Watsonville newspaper, the Register-Pajaronian. This interview was done on November 8, 1973, the day of Kemper’s conviction on eight counts of first-degree murder, in the killings of six coeds, his mother and her best friend. He was to be sentenced the next day to life in prison. Kemper had appreciated Marj Von B’s fair treatment of his case in her articles for the newspaper, and kept his promise to give her an exclusive interview before going to prison.
In the interview, Marj Von B gives her impressions of Kemper, as she spent the day and most of the evening with him, talking about the case:
“My visit with Kemper was an unforgettable experience, inducing a collage of feelings. As he talked on and on, he was many things.
- A lonely young man, grateful for companionship on the eve of what was certainly to be his last day outside prison.
- An angry and bitter sibling recalling what he felt was rejection and a lack of love from a divorced father who “cared more for his second family than he did us.”
- A son who alternately hated and “loved” a mother he described as a “manhater” who had three husbands and “took her violent hatred of my father out on me.”
- A sometimes wry and boastful raconteur, chronicling the events of his life and a person quick to see the humorous side of things and laugh, even if the joke is on him.
- An anguished and remorseful killer when speaking of the coeds whose bodies he had sexually assaulted after death and of the “pain” he had caused their families. “The day those fathers [of the Pesce and Luchessa girls] testified in court was very hard for me … I felt terrible. I wanted to talk to them about their daughters, comfort them … But what could I say?”
Kemper also was a person who momentarily precipitated in me a flush of terror and then allayed my misgivings by faultlessly assuming the role of the gracious host.”
Read the whole interview HERE.
This magazine is part of my collection of true crime collectibles.
These magazines are two instructive documents about Ed Kemper. The INSIDE DETECTIVE piece “I’ll Show You Where I Buried The Pieces of Their Bodies” from August 1973 details Kemper’s crimes and arrest. The FRONT PAGE DETECTIVE interview from March 1974 is one of the best pieces written about the Kemper case. Journalist Marj von Beroldingen met with Kemper a few hours after he was convicted on eight counts of first-degree murder. He had kept a promise and granted her an exclusive interview. It was not their first person-to-person talk.
You can access the documents here.
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