Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: 1981 Interview

“She’s very much the reason I surrendered.”

“I didn’t go hog-wild and totally limp. What I’m saying is, I found myself doing things in an attempt to make things fit together inside. I was doing sexual probings and things, I mean, in a sense of striking out, or reaching out and grabbing, and pulling to me. But appalled at the sense that it wasn’t working, that isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, that isn’t the way I want it. You see what I’m saying? And yet I get, during that time, I become engaged to someone who is young, and is beautiful, and very much the same advantages, and very much the same upbringing, and Disneyland values. And, uh, she’s very much the reason I surrendered.”

ed kemper about getting engaged during his crime spree

Ed Kemper’s first date

“Three months after I was out, I was back into the fantasy bay. – My first date was an absolute disaster. It wasn’t her fault, you know. And I didn’t blame her even then. I’m saying – it was a terrible tragedy but boy was it – she never talked to me again, it was awful. Wasn’t sexual or [gr…] I was just such a dork, taking her to a John Wayne movie and at Denny’s. It was terrible. I’d never been on a date! At 16 that was cool, you know?! I’d never been on a date! You know? I was locked up since I was 15, but I can’t tell her that, ‘Oh gee, don’t mind me,’ you know. She got kinda hung up on my looks or whatever, I mean, she’s a gorgeous young lady, pure class, and she saw something there that wasn’t there, and boy, did she find out quick.”

Ed Kemper about his first date after his release from atascadero in 1969

Source: The Killing of America (documentary directed by Leonard Schrader)

“Wow, this is insane.”

“As I’m sitting there with a severed head in my hand talking to it, or looking at it. And I’m about to go crazy, literally. I’m about to go completely flywheel loose and just fall apart.

I say, ‘Wow, this is insane.’ And then I told myself, ‘No it isn’t, you’re saying that and that makes it not insane.’ I said, ‘I’m sane and I’m looking at a severed… Wait a minute, wait a minute, I’d seen old paintings and drawings of Viking heroes and talking to severed heads and taking them to parties, old enemies in leather bags. Part of our heritage.

That’s just me back then. In 1972, and ‘73. Unable to live with the fact that I just stabbed to death and cut the throat of an innocent young woman.”

ed kemper, about his victims’ severed heads, in the 1981 interview for the documentary “the killing of america”

The Hand of God

A wave of panic seizes him. The events of the last hours are jostling in his head. He thinks of his mother. The fact of having cut off her head does not disturb him more than that; after all, she is not the first to whom it happened! And, besides, she was already dead. He who read the Bible so much during his imprisonment [at Atascadero], to the point of identifying himself very much with the character of Job, he sees in the destiny of his mother, the hand of God. It is even more than a symbol when he thinks about it: “This hand is the left hand of the Lord, I have always considered my mother as a great being, someone very fierce and sinister. She has always had a great influence on my life, and when she died, I was very surprised to find that her death was like all my other victims, how vulnerable and human she was, which has left a mark on me and still shocks me today. The left hand of the Lord is the one he uses to punish, and I, that guilty and left-handed son, cut off my mother’s left hand. That’s enough to make me flip, right? ”

Source: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz de Stéphane Bourgoin / Images: The Killing of America