Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: DA Peter Chang

Ed Kemper’s sister testifies at trial

Testifying as the first defense witness in Ed Kemper’s trial, Allyn Kemper, 22, revealed under cross examination that both she and her mother thought Kemper might have been involved in the death of Cynthia Schall.

Allyn Kemper testified that she asked her brother directly whether he had anything to do with the killing – one of eight of which he is accused.

“No,” she quoted him in response, “but I was afraid you might be suspicious because of that cat thing. My mother has already asked me about it, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t bring it up again because it will just stir things up.”

The “cat thing” Miss Kemper explained, involved an incident when the family lived in Montana and her brother decapitated the family cat with a bayonet.

Under questioning by District Attorney Peter Chang, she also related that she herself was almost killed by Kemper.

That, too, happened in Montana. Kemper, she explained, had always had an interest in guns, and one day as she walked through the living room she heard a click.

As she turned, she said, a bullet from Kemper’s .22 rifle whizzed by her ear and buried itself in a bookcase.

“Oops!” she quoted her brother. “I thought it was empty.”

Sources: “Kemper tapes relate grisly details”, The San Francisco Examiner, October 31, 1973, by Don West / Photo of Allyn Kemper (17 years old) from the Soquel High School yearbook, 1968

Slain Torrance girl praised

A Torrance girl who wanted to change the world lies dead while Santa Cruz law officials wonder whether her killer is a man already charged with 10 murders [Herbert Mullin] or is still at large and unknown.

Alice Helen Liu, 21, had been reported missing Feb. 5. A week ago, authorities advised her parents that one of two bodies found at Santa Cruz might be that of their daughter. The possibility became stark fact Tuesday when Mr. and Mrs. James C. Liu were formally notified that dental X-rays and other evidence had confirmed the identification.

A car parked in the driveway of the Liu home at 22714 Fonthill St. still bears the UCI decal of Alice’s freshman year at the University of California at Irvine. Two years ago she had transferred to the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she was a junior.

“Originally she wanted to be a teacher but more recently she became interested in Oriental studies,” her father said Wednesday in a voice that fought to control his emotions.

James Liu never mentioned his daughter by name during the five-minute interview. The name would have caught in his throat.

Other names were avoided for another reason: to protect friends and relatives from prying reporters.

The records at Torrance High School, from which she graduated in 1969, show she was an active girl with wide-ranging interests. She was a member of the Future Teachers Club, served as treasurer of the California Scholarship Federation, was an officer in the Creative Writing Club, French Club and Interclub Council, and a member of the Tartar Ladies service organization.

Principal Harold Klonecky recalled her as a vibrant girl, who had appeared in the senior play and in modern dance recitals on behalf of the Youth for Nixon organization during the 1968 Presidential campaign.

“Alice was probably a sophomore when she was involved in the Indian project,” Klonecky said. “We brought a number of Papago Indian students here to Torrance High and she escorted them around. After they left she was active in collecting clothing and other items to send to them.”

In Alice’s high school file is this paragraph she wrote as part of a standard form for scholarship counselling:

“I want to change the world through government. I want to be involved with the core of people, and I can do both by being a political science teacher.”

Torrance City Councilman James Armstrong, a political science teacher at Torrance High, remembers her for those very reasons.

Armstrong said that the Torrance High political science teachers assign upper-classmen to become involved in the campaign of their choice as a class project during election years. He had these observations of her work in the 1968 campaign:

“She was interested in people, cared about all kinds of people. She understood about coming from a good home like hers and going to a good school and the difference it makes for those who don’t have the same advantages.”

“A death in these circumstances would be tragic enough with anyone,” he finished, “but with Alice you feel a real sense of loss and of waste.”

As a thousand University of California students listened in silence at UC’s open air amphitheater in Santa Cruz, Robert Edgar, provost of one of the colleges eulogized Miss Liu: “She was bright and lively. Like a bird, she was full of song. Struck down. I’m full of sorrow.”

Classes were canceled at Santa Cruz for the memorial convocation for Miss Liu and another coed found slain [Rosalind Thorpe].

Alice was last seen alive Feb. 5 in the college library. A week later her decapitated body and that of Rosalind Thorpe, 23, of Carmel were found near Castro Valley, a semirural area southeast of Oakland.

Santa Cruz authorities, continuing their marathon probe of the area’s 15 murders, are studying possible relationships between their deaths and those of two other coeds, Mary Anne Pesce, 19, and Cynthia Ann Schall, 19, and the disappearance of another girl, Anita Luchessa, 18. Pesce’s head was found on Loma Preita Mountain near Santa Cruz last August but her body has not been recovered. Parts of Miss Schall’s body were carried ashore by the tide near Santa Cruz and Monterey in January.

Miss Luchessa, a friend of the Pesce girl, has disappeared and is feared dead, but no traces of her have been found.

Meanwhile 10 murder indictments are being sought by Santa Cruz County District Attorney Peter Chang against Herbert W. Mullin, 25, of Felton. Mullin had already been arraigned on six counts and was in custody when four more bodies slain with the same two guns were discovered Saturday.

His fingerprints also were found in the confessional booth of a Catholic priest who was stabbed to death in Los Gatos, but no charges have been brought against him in that case.

Investigators have reported no links between Mullin and the four dead coeds, but are still examining that possibility.

Source: Slain Torrance girl praised; Santa Cruz probe continues, Independent, by Bob Andrew, Staff Writer, February 22, 1973

Police Say Three Coed Slayings Are Related

Interesting how police were initially looking into Herbert Mullin possibly being responsible for the deaths of Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu. Herbert Mullin was a serial killer active in Santa Cruz at the same time as Ed Kemper. Another interesting fact was that Ed Kemper was considered a possible suspect for the murder of Mary Guilfoyle. It was eventually determined that Mullin killed Guilfoyle.

Santa Cruz – Because of the “skillfulness” of the decapitations of the two UCSC coeds found near Castro Valley last week, Police Lt. Charles Scherer said today that they were probably slain by the same person or persons who killed Cindy Schall a month ago.

“From all appearances and from listening to the pathologist, it appears that all three of the girls were killed by the same person,” Scherer said.

The headless bodies found in Castro Valley last week were identified Tuesday afternoon as Alice Helen Liu, 20, and Rosalind Thorpe, 23. They were found in a canyon near Castro Valley, discarded over a cliff near a remote country road, authorities said.

Parts of the butchered body of Cindy Schall washed ashore in both Monterey and Santa Cruz counties in January.

Scherer said that there are no clues in the case, and there are no suspects.

No connection has been made at this time between the slayings of the coeds and the killing of Mary Guilfoyle, the Cabrillo College coed whose skeletal remains were found in the mountains near Bonny Doon Feb. 11. Sheriff’s investigators reported that there is no evidence to indicate that Miss Guilfoyle’s body had been dismembered. They said she was stabbed five times.

But autopsies of the three other slain coeds showed virtually identical cutting techniques and that extremely sharp instruments were used in all the cases, Scherer said.

In another development, Municipal Court Judge Donald O. May has revoked bail on Herbert Mullin, accused murderer of 10 people. Acting on the court’s own motion, May “reconsidered the question of bail in view of events occurring subsequent to the arraignment.” May had set bail at $300,000 at Mullin’s arraignment which charged him with six murders. At that time, May indicated that “there should be no bail at all.”

Since the arraignment, Mullin was charged with the murder of David Olicker, 18, Robert Michael Spector, 18, Brian Scott Card, 19, and Mark Johnson, about 19. Because of this development, May indicated that under state law, the court had the right to revoke bail.

Earlier this week, District Attorney Peter Chang said that he will ask for indictments charging Mullin with 10 murders.

Presently, Mullin is being held in custody at San Mateo County jail. Authorities said he is not being held at the Santa Cruz County jail because of the lack of facilities to keep him protected from the other inmates.

Sources: The La Crosse Tribune, Feb 22, 1973 / Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 22, 1973

“There’s nothing to worry about. Just wait.”

Kemper, who arrived at the courthouse with two guards this morning greeted the barrage of cameramen with a smile but his demeanor became more subdued as he sat in the courtroom when the parents of the murdered girls began to take the stand. He did not look at either of the fathers as they testified.

Gabriel Pesce of Camarillo was the first to testify. A man of medium height but solidly built, Pesce was the picture of controlled agony as he stood before the court clerk to be sworn in. He was asked by [DA Peter] Chang, “Did you have a daughter named Mary Anne Pesce?”

“Yes, I did,” said Pesce, and his eyes turned fastened on the giant young defender seated at the counsel table. Under questioning from Chang, Pesce said his daughter, though she weighed only about 100 pounds and was about five feet tall, had been an expert skier and aspired to try out for the Olympics. He said she was a good student and had been a trophy winner on her high school debating team.

He told of his efforts to file a missing persons’ report after her disappearance saying that in one instance, police told him, “There’s nothing to worry about. Just wait.”

Prior to the hearing this morning, Pesce told a reporter that he intended to listen to the testimony in the case because he thought it might help to “finalize” the loss of his daughter. He and his wife remained seated in the spectators’ section after he left the witness stand.

Source: Register-Pajaronian, October 23, 1973, by Marj von B

Kemper jury takes look at death car

Grim-faced jurors stare into trunk of Edmund Kemper’s car

Edmund Kemper’s car, in which six hitchhiking coeds were picked up and either stabbed, strangled or shot to death, was, in effect, “entered into evidence” today at his murder trial in Santa Cruz.

Just before the noon recess, Judge Harry F. Brauer, at the request of District Attorney Peter Chang, allowed Kemper jurors to leave the courtroom and examine the car, which was driven up and parked along the river levee walkway at the rear of the courthouse.

Kemper did not immediately join the group of persons from the trial, because he did not want to let his guard, sheriff deputy Bruce Colomy put handcuffs on him and a waist restraining chain before leaving the courthouse. Kemper has been allowed to appear in the courtroom, at Judge Brauer’s instruction, wearing only manacles around his ankles, with his hands left free. However, Colomy, as a security measure, insisted upon the additional restraint outside the courtroom, and Kemper finally relented.

As the jury was examining the car, Kemper, flanked by two guards, filed through the crowd of spectators.

Crowds of curious onlookers gathered on the courthouse steps in the morning sunshine as the young giant, dressed in his jail-provided orange jumpsuit, towered above the car in which he has admitted taking six human lives.

Earlier, expert witnesses for the prosecution had testified about the physical evidence found in the car, including a dried pool of human blood found in the back seat where one girl, Alice Liu, a UCSC coed, was shot to death and another, Mary Anne Pesce, a Fresno State coed was stabbed to death. Traces of blood were also found in the trunk where other coeds had been shot to death.

Source: Register-Pajaronian, October 26, 1973, by Marj Von B

Young giant readily agrees to extradition

A seemingly unconcerned young giant agreed yesterday to return to California to face charges of killing his mother and a family friend – two of eight women he confessed slaying in the Santa Cruz area in the past year.

Edmund Kemper, 24, a 6-foot-9, 280-pound labourer who killed his grandparents nine years ago, turned down a judge’s offer of an attorney and voluntarily signed papers allowing Santa Cruz authorities to fly him back from Pueblo, Colorado. [He was eventually driven back by car to Santa Cruz.]

Kemper, wearing a gray shirt and baggy blue jeans, refused District Judge Jack F. Feaby’s offer to appoint an attorney. “I don’t think it is necessary, your honor,” Kemper said, then signed six copies of extradition papers.

He laughed aloud on his way back to his jail cell when police lost the keys to his handcuffs. Kemper had asked them to remove the cuffs while he smoked.

“He was very cooperative,” District Attorney Peter Chang said after he and homicide detectives questioned Kemper for several hours about the killings.

Pueblo Police Chief Robert Mayer described Kemper as “big enough to beat a mountain lion with a switch.”

Source: The San Bernardino County Sun, Thursday April 26, 1973 / Getty Images

Ed Kemper’s sentencing

Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Harry Brauer sentenced convicted mass murderer Edmund Emil Kemper III to life imprisonment. He said the sentences on 8 counts of first-degree murder would run concurrently, a move that made the parole of 6-foot-9 Kemper a possibility.

Kemper had confessed the killing of six coeds, his own mother and her friend. He turned himself in to stop further killing and told officers he was sure if he were ever freed he would become a killer again. “I know you were not bragging, but you were speaking in anguish and remorse,” Judge Brauer said.

The tension in the courtroom came to a climax following Kemper’s sentencing when the judge commented: “May God have mercy on your soul, Mr. Kemper, but you understand I have to protect the rest of the people from people like you.”

Following the hearing, Kemper, restrained by foot shackles, made his way over to the prosecution counsel table and shook hands with District Attorney Chang. “Mr. Chang, I want to thank you for your restraint during this trial,” said Kemper.

Kemper also expressed his gratitude to the judge for allowing him to remain in court unshackled during the entire trial and for being fair. “I want to thank you for your help,” Kemper told the judge.

After court, Kemper appeared genuinely relieved that the whole thing was over and while walking from the courthouse, he nodded greetings to several officials he became acquainted with during his imprisonment and his trial.

About Peter A. Chang, District Attorney

Chang prosecuted some of Santa Cruz County’s most notorious homicides in the 1970s and became known around the world for describing the bucolic town of Santa Cruz as “the murder capital of the world.”

Mr. Chang’s lurid description of his adopted hometown came at the height of a literally murderous period in Santa Cruz, 1970 to 1973, when his office prosecuted killers John Linley Frazier, Edmund Kemper III and Herbert Mullin. Mr. Chang personally prosecuted Frazier and Kemper and would have prosecuted the Mullin case, but was out with appendicitis.

Mr. Chang was born in Honolulu; his father, who was in the Navy, was based at Pearl Harbor at the time. When World War II ended, the family moved to Palo Alto and Mr. Chang was educated in local schools.

He was intensely interested in music and became a first-class trumpet player. By the time he was 14 he was playing in bands led by Stan Kenton, Harry James, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong and other jazz stars.

After high school, Mr. Chang went to Menlo College for two years, then to Stanford University, where he graduated in 1958 with degrees in English literature and American history. He went into Stanford law school, graduating in 1961.

He then started looking for a job and immediately ran into resistance. “A lot of criminal defense firms were not willing to hire Asian Americans,” his son, Christopher Chang, said the other day. Mr. Chang was of Korean descent.

In a 1991 interview with Champion, the magazine of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Mr. Chang said, “no one at that time thought an Asian could stand toe-to-toe with an Irishman in a criminal courtroom.”

He finally got a job with the Monterey County district attorney as a junior prosecutor and found he was “absolutely no good at it at first and lost the first 11 cases that I prosecuted,” he told the magazine. He took speech and drama lessons and “watched all the good trial lawyers in the area,” and finally learned how to speak in public.

In 1966, he ran for district attorney in Santa Cruz County and defeated the veteran incumbent by a wide margin, becoming, at 29, the youngest district attorney in the United States and the only Asian American to hold such a post.

In 1974, Mr. Chang lost a race for a Superior Court judgeship and went into private practice in Santa Cruz, but his life soon took a sharp turn downward. He started drinking so heavily that by “1982, I had lost my practice, my family and everything that had been dear to me,” he told Champion magazine in 1991. “I would still walk five miles in the rain, if necessary, to be at a bar when it opened.” He ultimately joined Alcoholics Anonymous, got sober, and went back to practicing law in 1983.

He won an appointment to the faculty of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, teaching courses in the summer, and was elected to the organization’s board in 1991. For the past decade, Mr. Chang concentrated on the defense of narcotics and white-collar cases in federal court.

Mr. Chang passed away in 2005 at age 67.

Source: https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Peter-A-Chang-Jr-prosecuted-killers-2735298.php

“Hi, Mr. Chang!”

Kemper greeted Santa Cruz District Attorney Chang like an old friend when Chang confronted him at police headquarters after reaching Pueblo (Colorado). He exclaimed for all the world like the host of a gala party greeting an arriving guest. In sharp contrast to his menacing size, too, during the taping of his confession to purge himself of his inner torments, he was as gentle as the proverbial lamb.

“He was extremely affable, cooperative, and articulate, and intelligent” said Chang to journalists when he returned to Santa Cruz.

One of the detectives present later told newsmen Kemper reminded him of a little kid who had vowed to amend his hell-raising ways and was eager to prove the sincerity of his promises to be good. In any event, he proved to be the soul of cooperation and was eager to do anything to make things easier for the authorities. He unhesitatingly signed his waiver of extradition to California. He underwent no change of heart, which so often happens when violent criminals in the throes of remorse unburden their hearts, only to reverse themselves after they have had time to think it over.

Excerpt from True Detective magazine, October 1978