Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: Marj von Beroldingen (Page 1 of 2)

“They can’t see the things going on in my mind.”

The testimony by Ed Kemper yesterday was no exception from the preceding grim testimony. With questioning from his lawyer Jim Jackson, he recalled his childhood fantasies which started out innocently and wistfully, later to become daydreams of murder and sex.

He said his first fantasy was that his “mother and father would be loving together and caring for their children.”

According to Kemper, it was a fantasy that never came true. Instead, there was “much violence, hatred, yelling and screaming” between his father and mother who separated and were divorced when he was around seven years old.

Kemper said he felt rejected and unloved by his mother and his father as well, though he indicated he yearned for a good relationship with his father.

He spoke of his mother as “alcoholic,” and said she once had beaten him with a heavy belt and buckle when he was a small child and told him not to scream, “because the neighbors will think I’m beating you.”

This was at the age of nine, and Kemper said after that he was afraid of her and began to have a recurring fantasy about sneaking up on her and hitting her in the head with a hammer.

Later, in Atascadero [where he was incarcerated for five years after the murder of his grandparents], Kemper’s fantasies turned to sex as well as murder. He said his final fantasy was, “I killed someone, cut them up and ate them… and I kept the head on a shelf and talked to it… I said the same things I would have said had she been alive, in love with me, had she been caring of me.”

Asked by Jackson if he ever told anyone at Atascadero about the fantasies, Kemper replied, “No, I would never got out if I had told psychiatrists I was having fantasies of sex with dead bodies and in some cases eating them I would never have gotten out ever.”

He paused and then said, “Wow! That’s like condemning yourself to life imprisonment, and I don’t know many people who do that.”

The young defendant, who worked for psychologists testing other inmates at Atascadero, said, “I hid it from them. They can’t see the things going on in my mind. All I had to do to conceal it from them was not talk about it.”

Source: “Kemper explains why he murdered coeds”, Register-Pajaronian, by Marj von B, November 1st. 1973 / Images from trial: Bay Area TV Archive

“I was trying to hurt society where it hurt the worst”

“It was all coeds and it would only be if they were a possible candidate for death, which would mean they were young, reasonably good-looking, not necessarily well-to-do, but say a better class of people than the scroungy, messy, dirty, smelly hippie-type girls I wasn’t at all interested in. I suppose they would have been more convenient, but that wasn’t my purpose.”

“My little social statement was I was trying to hurt society where it hurt the worst and that was by taking its valuable members or future members of the working society, that was the upper class or the upper middle class…”

“I was striking out at what was hurting me the worst, which was the area, I guess deep down, I wanted to fit into the most and I had never fit into and that was the group, the in-group.”

edmund kemper about picking up coeds as his urges to kill came not only from a strong sexual instinct but also a desire to strike back at society, according to his taped statements, played for jurors in his mass murder trial.

Source: “Kemper wanted to hurt society by taking its ‘valuable members'”, Register-Pajaronian, by Marj von B, October 26, 1973

Girl’s courtroom gesture brings Kemper trial to a halt

A threatening gesture by a young woman spectator seated in the rear row of the court brought the Edmund Emil Kemper murder trial to a halt for almost half an hour this morning.

The incident occurred during the playing of a tape interview of Kemper by investigators in which Kemper had described the killing of his mother, Mrs. Clarnell Strandberg on Easter weekend.

Kemper, who had said yesterday he would rather not be present in the courtroom during the playing of the confession tapes, was not allowed to remain out of the courtroom. This morning when he came to court his attorney said Kemper had been taking tranquilizers.

Despite this, Kemper was showing obvious strain listening to his own voice on the tape, and a number of times he turned from the counsel table and scanned the spectator section. After one such look at the spectators, Kemper turned back quickly and motioned to his sheriff’s guard sitting nearby.

A whisper consultation took place and Kemper’s lawyer, Jim Jackson, got up and immediately went to the bench and whispered something to Judge Harry F. Brauer, who promptly called for a recess.

Later, Judge Brauer told reporters Kemper had said a young woman in the back row had looked at him and drawn her forefinger across her throat, in a throat-cutting type gesture.

Brauer gave Kemper time to calm down and then resumed the court session, continuing with the playing of the confession tapes.

Bailiffs searched for the offending girl but she apparently left the courthouse immediately following the incident.

*******

A few years ago, the Santa Cuz Ghost Hunters featured a story in one of their videos where a young woman named Sara interviewed her grandmother who turned out to be the young woman who made this throat-slashing gesture toward Kemper during the trial in 1973. This is what she said:

“The trial that you’re asking me about, Sara, was in 1973. And every morning, Alice Liu would wait on my husband and I with coffee and naturally, we knew her from the coffee shop. And when she was murdered by Edmund Kemper, I wanted to… I well… I wanted to be there and listen to the testimony, and it was just real graphic, so I don’t know whether I should tell you all about that…”

“Edmund Kemper got Alice Liu in his car when she was on her way to campus or coming back. He had his car rigged up in such a way that once you got in the passenger side, the handle would never for you to get out. She could never get out…”

“Picture this lovely little Oriental girl, 19, working hard in a little coffee shop. When he was describing all these things about Alice Liu, there was a break in the proceedings and when he comes in with his chains and he’s walking in, his eyes focused on me. And I told you I was so emotional with that horrible testimony, I said to him… and he focused on me, and I said [she whispers]: ‘I would love to cut your throat,’ and he went [she screams]: ‘Oohhh!’ And the bailiff saying: ‘What is it? What is it?’ And I had a dress with polka dots on it and the bailiff come over and said: ‘You’ve got to sit on the other side of the courtroom. You’ve upset Mr. Kemper.’”

Sources: Girl’s courtroom gesture brings Kemper trial to a halt, Register-Pajaronian, by Marj von B, October 25, 1973 / Santa Cruz Ghost Hunters

Ed Kemper and cigarettes

Someone recently asked me if Ed Kemper smokes. He did smoke when he was young, at the time of his arrest and trial, as seen in the enclosed pictures. I don’t know if he continued smoking during his incarceration at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, or if he still does now. With his health issues, I wouldn’t think so.

Edmund Kemper III, 24, enjoys a smoke as unidentified detective adjusts his handcuffs after Kemper appeared in Pueblo District court extradition hearing. Kemper is being held by police in connection with eight California murders. (Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

Kemper’s smoking was mentioned by reporter Marj von B in her interview with him in November 1973 just after his conviction on eight counts of first-degree murder:

When dinner was over, I said I must go and, when he got up and proceeded toward the door, I said, “Do you think you could knock on the window and get the jailer to spring me, Ed?” 

He laughed and replied, “I’ll try.” 

He stood in the doorway, his hair brushing the top of the door jamb, watching me leave, as if he were graciously bidding a guest goodbye from his home. 

He said to a deputy, “Could I have some matches?” (I had been lighting his cigarettes all afternoon with my lighter.) 

The sergeant on duty at the desk said to the deputy, “He can’t have any matches, but light his cigarette for him.” Kemper looked at me and grinned like a teenager. “Yesterday,” he said, “I had matches, but isn’t it funny when you’re convicted, you immediately become combustible.” 

Edmund Kemper III from Aptos, California dwarfs escort officer en route to his cell a the Pueblo City jail after being questioned by officials about the unsolved murder of 6 co-ed’s. Police said Kemper admitted to killing his mother and a friend on a phone call to Santa Cruz police.

Source: Front Page Detective Magazine, March 1974, by Marj von Beroldingen

“Oh, what is it like to have sex with a dead body?”

“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

1979 – Kemper won’t be paroled and that’s fine with him

[During his parole hearing in 1979] Ed Kemper was asked by board member Craig Brown why he got along well in Vacaville with the staff and his peers “and in the community you become violent?”

“Because when I am in a structured situation, I can get help when I need it,” Kemper replied. “But on the streets, I felt rather forgotten and sometimes I felt abandoned.”

The loquacious Kemper later expounded on his life in prison saying, “I was convinced when I came here, I would soon be dead. But the last six months have been the best of my life. I’ve learned to live with myself and with God. I believe I have an obligation to myself and the people around me.”

Source: Register-Pajaronian, May 2, 1979, excerpt from an article by Marj von B

“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

Reporter Marj Von B dies

August 30, 1980 – Marj Von B, the Register-Pajaronian crime reporter who covered the three most notorious mass murder cases in Santa Cruz County history, died Friday morning at Dominican Hospital. She was 54.

Miss Von B had been ill for several weeks. She entered the hospital last week after it was learned she had cancer, and her health failed rapidly.

Since 1970, she had covered the crime beat at the county courthouse in Santa Cruz for the Register-Pajaronian. During the period, Santa Cruz County was shaken by three mass-murder cases which for a time earned the county the dubious distinction of being the murder capital of the world.

Miss Von B covered the murders committed by and trials of the three killers: John Linley Frazier, who killed four members of the Victor Ohta family and Dr. Ohta’s secretary in October 1970; Herbert Mullin, who killed 13 people in random murders during late 1972 and early 1973; and Edmund Kemper, who killed eight women, including his mother, during the same period in which Mullin was active.

Born in Two Buttes, Colo., on Sept. 20, 1925, Miss Von B was educated in the Los Angeles area, where she was a reporter for news wire services and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. She served in the Navy’s WAVES during World War II.

Having moved to Ben Lomond, she was a reporter for the Valley Press in Felton for three-and-a-half years before joining the Register-Pajaronian’s news staff in April, 1970.

Miss Von B acquired her unusual name formally following her divorce from Linton von Beroldingen; she had it legally changed to the shorter version which she had used all along in newspaper bylines.

She was quietly married at home, at 360 Branciforte Drive, Santa Cruz, two weeks ago to Lyle Freckleton, whom she had known since childhood. A son and daughter by her first marriage are Linton A. and Priska von Beroldingen. A niece is Paula Amerine of Auburn.

There will be no funeral or memorial service; arrangements were handled by the Neptune Society. The family asked that friends wishing to pay their respects make donations to the American Cancer Society.

Source: Green Sheet – August 30, 1980

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