Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: Criminal Mind (Page 3 of 3)

Kemper’s friendship with police

Drawing from David Jouvent for his upcoming graphic novel about Ed Kemper

“My relations with the police were much exaggerated at the time of my crimes. I knew two or three agents. The bar I went to wasn’t in front of the police station, it was more than sixteen hundred feet away, in front of the courthouse. The Jury Room, Joe Mandela’s Jury Room. ‘Come in and give us your verdict’, that’s the slogan under the sign. The establishment is rather quiet and a number of police officers frequent it. At the time I was committing my crimes, I used the friendship bonds that I’d woven with these policemen to learn more about the progress of the investigation.

Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, I had read it when I was younger. “(Kemper smiles.) With this criminal who feels the pressure building up inside: Are they following me? And he ends up cracking and confessing. This is a novel. I want to avoid all of that. I had no problem getting information out of these officers. Why? Because of the very structure of the police hierarchy, whose elite is represented by the criminal brigade. They see themselves as the cream of the crop and they like to brag about their exploits in front of other cops. So, there is a certain jealousy and friction between the different services.

As for me, I was doing a little dragging around these simple cops. I didn’t care about being their friend. I had already been in prison. I didn’t like the police. But they were talking to each other about what they’d heard about the case. I was on the periphery. They snubbed me, as they were snubbed by the ‘supercops’ of the Criminal. But I wasn’t bothered by their presence, I didn’t act weirdly in front of them and that’s something they must have felt.

Usually, any citizen who speaks to a police officer in uniform is clumsy, as if he’s guilty of something, even if he’s clean. And I think cops are sensitive to that kind of thing; as soon as they put on a uniform, they know right away that they’re no longer like the others. Relationships are skewed. It’s something that must hurt them somehow. But if I don’t act that way, if I don’t treat them like an insect under the microscope, then I’ve slipped a foot in the crack of the door. Little by little, you learn to pay for beers and get to know each other: ‘How’s it going, Big Ed’, ‘Great, and you, Andy, etc. And a year later, I phone them to tell them, ‘I’m the Co-Ed Killer. I want to surrender. ‘

Source: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin, 1998, Éditions Méréal)

Depriving people of their lives

Ed Kemper in 1989

“That wouldn’t have happened… I realize that if I’d never done it, it wouldn’t have happened, but if… What my original intention was to make it very quick and neither one of them to be aware of what was happening and it was not to keep them from stopping the crime. It was to keep them from suffering. I had a real bad problem depriving people of their lives. It wasn’t, huh, the aspect of killing them. It was the aspect of possessing their bodies afterwards. So, it was almost after, in effect, evicting someone from their human body. And, I’m sorry it sounds so cold, but that’s about what it analogizes to.” 

ED kemper about the murders of Alice Liu and Rosalind Thorpe whom he both shot to death in his car

Source: 1989 closed-circuit interview for the FBI Academy

1972 probation psychiatric report on Kemper

On September 14, 1972, Kemper picked up fifteen-year-old Aiko Koo hitchhiking to a dance class in San Francisco. He took her to a remote area, choked her into unconsciousness, raped her, and then finished killing her. He placed her body in the trunk of his car and on his way home stopped off for a beer. He took the corpse back to his apartment, dissected it, had sex with it, and cut off the head.

The next day Ed Kemper had a scheduled appointment with his probation psychiatrists. In the morning before heading out to the appointment, Kemper buried Koo’s body at one location and her hands at another, but kept her head. He then drove to the psychiatrists’ office with the head locked in the trunk of his car. Leaving his car in the parking lot, he went in for his interview.

The psychiatric report resulting from that day’s visit reads:

“If I were seeing this patient without having any history available or without getting the history from him, I would think that we’re dealing with a very well adjusted young man who had initiative, intelligence and who was free of any psychiatric illness . . . In effect, we are dealing with two different people when we talk of the 15 year old boy who committed the murders and of the 23 year old man we see before us now . . . It is my opinion that he has made a very excellent response to the years of treatment and rehabilitation and I would see no psychiatric reason to consider him to be of any danger to himself or to any member of society.”

The second psychiatrist cheerfully added:

“He appears to have made a good recovery from such a tragic and violent split within himself. He appears to be functioning in one piece now directing his feelings towards verbalization, work, sports and not allowing neurotic buildup with himself. Since it may allow him more freedom as an adult to develop his potential, I would consider it reasonable to have a permanent expunction of his juvenile records. I am glad he had recently “expunged” his motorcycle and I would hope that he would do that (“seal it”) permanently since this seemed more a threat to his life and health than any threat he is presently to anyone else.”

One can only wonder what the psychiatrists’ diagnoses would have been if either of them had looked into the trunk of Kemper’s car that morning.

On November 29, 1972, Kemper’s juvenile record was permanently sealed so that he could go on with his life. In the meantime, he had moved back home with his domineering mother.

Excerpt from “Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters” by Peter Vronsky (2004, Berkley Books)

Ed Kemper’s fascination with beheading women

“When I was young, I was about 8 or 9 years old, I went to this little come-on, it was like a record store or something. And they had this crowd of kids there and there was a magic show. And this guy… You’ve probably seen it, the fake guillotine, hand-pressed and they put the potato there. And someone puts their neck in the brace and they slam this thing down and the potato down below chops in two, but the person’s head doesn’t fall off, right? And everybody gets very fascinated by that: Oh my god!”

“I’m out standing in this crowd watching this show and he wanted a volunteer out of the audience. And some quite beautiful little 16-year-old girl gets up there, and this big laugh, and they’re all giddy and stuff. And I started getting caught up in this. I said: Wow! Right at that moment, I departed reality because, logically, I should have been able to ascertain that that could not happen. You’re not gonna get away with chopping somebody’s head off in the middle of Helena, Montana. But the concept of it was so raw and it was titillating. I says: Wow, gee, gotta watch this. And he had her girlfriend come over and put her hands there to catch her head, so it wouldn’t fall in the basket, you know. And he was making jokes about this. I got caught up in this interplay between normal concerns-you don’t want to get a bump on her head-well hey, if you’re chopping her head off, it doesn’t matter, right? And this is catching in my mind somehow and I’m saying: Wow, and naturally, everybody let out a shriek and they’re all excited: Oh wow! And as he chops and the potato falls, and her head doesn’t go any place and he unlocks the brace and she gets out laughing, and he gives her some little prize for coming up and participating in the experiment. That’s the first time I’d ever seen a show like that. You know, you see things like that on TV, it’s one thing, but to be there and watch things like that, you get more caught up in it. And I went from there. That became another piece. That’s… the only event in my life that I can align that fascination with was the fact that she was a very alluring young lady.”

– Edmund Kemper discussing his fascination with the beheading of women and how it might have entered in his secret fantasy world.

 

 

“One thing I learned at Atascadero was you don’t get far if you regret anything.”

In August 1974, a UCSC symposium entitled “Minds on trial” took place with 5 experts on the criminal mind: John Monahan, assistant professor on social ecology at the University of California at Irvine; District Attorney Peter Chang; Joel Fort, MD specialist in crime and violence and author of the “Pleasure Seekers”; Jerome Neu, assistant professor of humanities at UCSC; and David Marlowe, expert witness in numerous murder trials.

Moving into the Ed Kemper murders, the panel explored the possible motives behind the eight killings and discussed Kemper’s childhood and personality. “I don’t think we’ll ever know why he did what he did,” said Marlowe. “He wasn’t particularly different from many people. He wasn’t crazy. The question is ‘What accounts for his loss of control?’ Many others with similar fantasies and upbringings never commit a violent act.”

While author Fort said sexual repression, large physical size, a need to be near his father and his lack of friends were all contributing motives to the killings, Kemper could not pinpoint which special event led to his need to murder.

“To him and other mass murderers, killing is as acceptable as eating a meal or brushing your teeth. This type of behaviour didn’t bother him in the least.” District Attorney Chang added other dimensions to Kemper’s personality. “One side of him really had a conscience. I think he really wanted to confess.” However, Chang also said “Ed never showed remorse or guilt. He told me ‘One thing I learned at Atascadero was you don’t get far if you regret anything.’”

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, Sunday, August 18, 1974

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