Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: 1984 Interview

Ed Kemper’s house in Santa Cruz

In the summer of 2018, I went to Santa Cruz, California, and visited places that were important in Ed Kemper’s story. Of course, I went to see the house where he lived with his mother and where he murdered her and her friend, Sally Hallett. 

The house is located in Aptos at 609A Ord Road (ground floor), but it appears under 609 Harriet Avenue on Google Streetview. The two streets meet, and the other house is behind Kemper’s. It’s a bit unclear and I remember that Kemper had mentioned in his 1984 interview for No Apparent Motive that the police had confused the two addresses when they came to take away his .44 magnum gun in 1973. 

It’s located in a really lovely and quiet residential neighbourhood. When you come from the highway, you pass through a wooded area before getting to the residential area. Kemper’s house stands out as it is one of the only ones on the street that has two floors. There are a lot of trees and flowers in the neighbourhood. 

I was hoping to see the inside of the house. As I was gathering my courage to go ring the doorbell, a SUV arrived and parked in the driveway. A woman and her young daughter came out and headed for the 609A door. I approached the woman and told her why I was there. She was aware of Kemper’s story. I asked if it was possible to see inside the house. She said no, but that it was ok to take pictures outside. She said that a lot of people come to see the house. 

The backyard where Kemper buried Cindy Schall’s head is now made of concrete.

The house has been regularly for sale since the murders. It is currently off the market, as it sold in May 2019 for more than 1,5 million dollars USD.

Photo sources: Edmund Kemper Stories / realtor.com

“Well, I’m not an expert.”

Ed Kemper: “Well, I’m not an expert. I’m not an authority. I’m someone who has been a murderer for almost 20 years.”

Interviewer: “Can you say how many people might be doing crimes like you were doing?”

Kemper: “It would be a guess, but it’s far more than 35. It isn’t that impossible in this society. It happens.”

Interviewer: “Are there more people?”

Kemper: “They didn’t give up. He, she, didn’t give up. I did. I came in out of the cold. And what I’m saying is there are some people who prefer it in the cold.”

Interviewer: “What people see?”

Kemper: “A nice guy.”

Interviewer: “You were able to appear like an ordinary person, non-threatening, to…”

Kemper: “I lived as an ordinary person most of my life. Even though I was living a parallel and increasingly sick life. Other life.”

Source: Excerpt from documentary Murder: No Apparent Motive (1984)

1985 – Ed Kemper parole hearing

Convicted mass-murderer Edmund Kemper III decided not to go through with a parole hearing yesterday when he saw a television camera inside the hearing room.

Kemper, serving eight concurrent life terms at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, sent a message to the three-man parole board stating he wasn’t suitable for parole and would wait three years before requesting another hearing.

Assistant Santa Cruz County District Attorney John Hopkins, who went to Vacaville to argue against parole, said Kemper told him later he was ready for the hearing and wanted to tell the parole board about his progress, but changed his mind moments before it was to begin. Hopkins said Kemper changed his mind when he saw a television camera inside the hearing room as he walked toward it.

The hearing, Kemper’s fifth, was being video-taped by a Sacramento television station. Reporters from the Register-Pajaronian and the Santa Cruz Sentinel were also present.

Corrections Department Lt. Joe McGrath said yesterday Kemper felt “he couldn’t adequately state his case in front of the press.”

McGrath said the six-foot nine-inch Kemper has a “spotless record” and is an above-average worker at the prison. One month ago Kemper took over as coordinator of the prison’s Blind Project, supervising 15 inmates who record books on cassette tapes and repair Braille machines, McGrath said.

Assistant District Attorney Hopkins said he talked with Kemper for two hours after the hearing was cancelled. Kemper told him he was concerned that only five or 10 seconds of his comments would be used by the press and it would distort his remarks, increase his notoriety and make it more difficult for him to gain a release in the future.

Hopkins said today he would have told the board there aren’t “words strong enough to express how much the community of Santa Cruz is against (Kemper’s) release.”

McGrath said Kemper regularly participates in psychiatric therapy while in prison, although he suffers from no psychiatric illness. In a psychiatric report prepared for the hearing, Vacaville psychologist Jack Fleming states Kemper keeps his life “an open book” to people who are helpful to him. The psychologist said he has “no hesitation” recommending Kemper for work assignments that involve female staff.

Source: “Mass-murderer Kemper backs out of parole hearing”, Register-Pajaronian, by Guy Lasnier, June 4, 1985 / “Kemper backs out of stating his case”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, by John McNicholas, June 4, 1985 / Image: from documentary Murder: No Apparent Motive, 1984

Emotionally impotent

“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.”

WHEN ASKED WHY HE KILLED WOMEN, ED KEMPER CITED HIS OWN INSECURITIES (from 1984 documentary “no apparent motive”)

Image: Promotional still from “Kemper on Kemper” (2018, documentary aired on Oxygen)

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)