June 28, 2002 – Santa Cruz’s deadliest serial killer will be in prison for at least another five years.
Emil Kemper, 54, has been in prison since 1973, when he was convicted of
savagely killing, decapitating and dismembering six UC Santa Cruz students, his
mother and his mother’s friend in 1972 and 1973.
was set to face the state parole board Wednesday. But earlier this week, he
waived his right to the hearing, and agreed not to seek parole again until at
least 2007, according to Denise Schmidt, spokeswoman for the state Board of
agreement came as a surprise to county prosecutor Ariadne Symons. She said
Kemper had indicated he would attend the parole hearing at the California
Medical Facility in Vacaville, and Symons was prepared to go – and to argue that
he must remain behind bars.
wrote in a letter to the parole board that she does not think Kemper is at all
reformed, and that he remains a threat to society.
Kemper does not like to be referred to as a ‘monster,’” Symons wrote. “However,
the term is apt, even though it is woefully inadequate. Mere words cannot convey
the horror of what he did.”
will be 59 when he becomes eligible for parole again.
says that no matter when Kemper comes up for parole, he should not be released.
her letter to the parole board, Symons wrote:
“In an interview at the time of his arrest, Kemper stated ‘I certainly wouldn’t trust me in society again.’ Let us give weight to those words.”
Source: “Kemper waives parole hearing”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, by Jason Schultz, June 28, 2002 / Artwork: unknown artist (please let us know if you know who it is, we will add credit)
“Cynthia Schall was the next one.” Kemper went on, “That happened the night I bought a .22 Ruger automatic pistol with a six inch barrel. And that night I killed her. Not so much to celebrate, but I had been eagerly awaiting that gun.” He said he bought the gun at Valley Sport shop in Watsonville.” He picked up Miss Schall on Mission Street, “in that vicinity. I had been up cruising around the campus and I’d picked up three different girls, two of them together, that were possibilities, but I canceled those out because there were too many people standing around that possibly knew them when they got in. But all the other conditions were perfect. It had been drizzling, it had been raining real hard and people were getting any ride they could get and windows were fogging up… But I had given up on those other two and I was kind of uptight about it and driving down the street I spotted her standing out there with her thumb out.”
The young woman with her thumb out was Cynthia Schall.
After driving her to the Watsonville area, he forced her to get in the trunk.
Later near Corralitos, he shot her. He took her to his mother’s house in Aptos
and dumped her in the closet. He dismembered her in the bathtub the next
morning, after having sexual intercourse with her.
After having murdered and disposed of Cynthia Schall’s body, Ed took a trip to visit a friend in Oakland. He stopped off at a laundromat near his old apartment in Alameda, where he placed Cynthia’s blue socks, checkered wool shirt, brocaded blouse, and nylon jacket in a dryer and placed it on the highest setting, putting in four dimes worth. He turned the machine on, expecting that the continued high heat would burn the clothing beyond recognition. The next day, he went by the laundromat, checked the dryer and found it empty. He has succeeded again.
Sources: “Gruesome Details on Tape at Trial”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 25th, 1973 / “Sacrifice Unto Me”, by Don West / Photo: Getty Images Bettmann
Cindy Schall was killed by a single shot in the head from Ed Kemper’s .22-calibre pistol. He kept her body in a cupboard overnight, waiting for his mother to go to work. As soon as she left, he brought out the corpse and decapitated it. His years of hanging out at the Jury Room left him with a wary respect of forensic ballistics – so he cut the bullet fragments out of the skull, which he then kept for a while as a trophy.
He then dismembered the body and took a drive along the coast to dispose of it. But when a couple of weeks later Kemper learned that the police had already recovered Cindy’s remains, he panicked and buried her head in his back garden.
Representatives from the Santa Cruz sheriff’s office, city police and the district attorney’s office looked on as detectives dug a 16-inch deep hole and found the decaying head. Because authorities pinpointed the head’s location, it is speculated they were acting on information from Pueblo, Colorado, where Kemper was arrested and has reportedly been giving detailed information on not only the slaying of his mother Clarnell Strandberg, 52, and her friend Sara Taylor Hallett, 59, but also the slaying of six young women.
head found today had been buried about four feet from the rear of Kemper’s
house. For the last several months, Kemper and his mother lived in the duplex
the skull was being removed from the hole, the upstairs neighbors glanced down
at the yard through a window.
living next door to the duplex were visibly shaken as they occasionally looked
over to where the detectives located the head.
think we’ve been living here so peacefully with that laying on the ground,”
said one woman, pointing to Kemper’s backyard. A young woman next to her,
wearing a Cabrillo College T-Shirt, nodded silently.
Kemper said he buried Cynthia Schall’s head in the backyard of his mother’s apartment house facing the window of the bedroom where he was staying and “talked to it (the head) many times, saying affectionate things… like you would say to a girlfriend or a wife.”
Kemper has also said that he buried Schall’s head in his mother’s yard, facing up toward his mother’s bedroom window, because his mother always wanted people to “look up to her.”
Sources: “Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters”, by Peter Vronsky / “Kemper explains why he murdered coeds”, Register-Pajaronian, November 1, 1973 / “Head found in Aptos”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 26, 1973
Cynthia [Ann Schall] was a large eighteen-year-old with straight blonde hair. In her family she was Cindy, and she had a younger sister named Candy. The children grew up in San Francisco, but their mother remarried and moved to Marin County with her new husband. Candy went with them to attend high school. Cindy, at seventeen, however, struck off for Santa Cruz to enroll in Cabrillo College, debating about whether she wanted to become a school teacher or a policewoman. In her freshman year the college had required her to live with a family because of her youth. Later she moved down near the beach with a girlfriend. And again, just recently, she had gotten a babysitting job with the Arthur Windy family downtown and was living in. She shared her job in shifts with a friend named Pamela. And it was her custom to thumb a ride out to the college. In the early evening of January 8 , she was walking down Mission Avenue, the main thoroughfare that becomes a freeway that leads into another freeway that goes past Cabrillo College. When she did not reach her class and did not return home that night, Pamela telephoned the police. Later she also alerted Cindy’s family in Marin County. News of Cindy’s fate was not long in arriving. Less than twenty-four hours later, a California Highway Patrolman stopped beside a three-hundred-foot cliff on the coast south of Carmel, doing a routine check for motorists who sometimes overshot the curve and for incautious photographers who occasionally took one backward step too many. He spotted what appeared to be neither of these, but a human arm sticking out of a plastic bag beside the road. Further search not only confirmed the finding but disclosed, strewn down the side of the cliff, strips of skin, portions of two legs, an arm, and a severed hand. A week later, a neatly severed human rib cage washed ashore back up the coast near Santa Cruz, a case of the crime returning to the scene of the murderer. Since many other girls were missing from their California homes, certain identification by the pathologists was not completed until January 24.
The sliced portions of a human body which have drifted into shore during the last week have been positively identified’ by the coroner’s office. The victim has been named as Cynthia Ann Schall, 19, 220 Cleveland Ave. She had been reported missing Jan. 9, one day after she reportedly hitchhiked to a class at Cabrillo College.
According to the coroner’s office, the victim was identified by two different methods. The first was a comparison of fingerprints of the severed hand which washed onto the beach Friday with fingerprints in Miss Schall’s room. The second method was a comparison of chest x-rays of the torso discovered in the surf last week with x-rays which had been taken of the woman in October.
It was also confirmed that the severed arms and legs found in Monterey County belong to Miss Schall. Positive identification of the limbs was made Thursday when two pathologists and a radiologist concluded that the arms and legs belonged to Miss Schall. Police Lt. Chuck Scherer said that x-rays of the severed parts of the body matched up: the x-ray showed a healed fracture in one forearm, an injury which Miss Schall suffered a few years ago.
investigation of the crime is being handled by the Santa Cruz police
department, which was originally notified of the missing girl.
Source: “The Coed Killer” by Margaret Cheney / Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 24th & 26th, 1973
– A parole date was denied on June 15, 1988 for serial killer Edmund Kemper,
even though a prison psychiatric evaluation termed Kemper suitable for release.
40, is serving a life sentence at the California Medical Facility for murdering
eight women, including his mother, in 1972-73. The law at the time provided for
the possibility of parole on life sentences.
three-member panel from the Board of Prison Terms rejected the psychiatric
evaluation by Dr. Jack Fleming. Board member David Brown said Kemper poses an
unreasonable risk to society.
told Kemper his crimes “shock the public conscience.”
an almost three-hour hearing, Kemper told the panel he did not practice
cannibalism or perform sex acts on his victims when they were dead or dying. He
said he made those confessions to police when he was tired and confused.
did acknowledge that he beheaded seven of his victims, including his mother,
Clarnell Strandberg, because of a childhood fascination with decapitation. And,
he put his mother’s head on a mantle and threw darts at it.
buried the head of one of his young victims in the backyard of the house he
shared with his mother in Seacliff. He pointed the face toward his bedroom,
according to testimony at his trial in 1973.
appeared surprised during the hearing by a letter written by a cousin, Patricia
Kemper, urging the panel deny Kemper a parole date. Kemper said he had not
known of such a letter.
the letter, the woman said that as a child, Kemper mutilated the family cat.
And, she said she watched him one day wait for hours with a rifle over a
squirrel’s hole to blow its head off when it peeked out. He went on to kill his
grandparents and then the seven women and his mother, she wrote.
said Kemper was and still is a deeply disturbed person who will kill again if
he’s ever released.
Attorney Art Danner said he was shocked, but not surprised by the latest
psychiatric evaluation of Kemper. Danner said Fleming’s report “flies in the
face of everything known about Kemper.”
told the parole board Kemper’s greatest danger is that he may some day con his
way back out on the street.
pointed out that Kemper had led psychiatrists and psychologists to believe he
was no threat after a five-year commitment for killing his grandparents.
Kemper testified that he was shocked in the 1970s when two doctors would rule
him sane and no danger to society, even after he had begun killing again.
explained that he was sent to be interviewed by two doctors in Merced County in
1972 when he was seeking to have his conviction for killing his grandparents
sealed from public view.
meeting with the first psychiatrist, Kemper said, he went out and got drunk. “He
thought I was Mr. Wonderful or something,” Kemper said. He knew after the first
interview that he would be judged sane.
said he went to the second interview, later in the day, “blasted off my tail on
beer,” but the doctor didn’t notice.
two psychiatrists wrote that Kemper posed no danger to himself or others.
hadn’t told them he had already begun killing again, just two days before and
had driven to his interviews with a woman’s head in the trunk of the car.
told the parole board he picked up more than 1,000 hitchhikers during his
year-long murder spree. He did not say why he selected the victims he did,
other than say the selection was random.
said he only murdered the women hitchhikers because the women in his life,
especially his mother, had caused his only grief.
talked at length about his mother and drunken fights he said they had after his
release from custody after killing his grandparents.
said he returned from the California Youth Authority at age 20 with great hope
for the future. He said his mother fought him every step of the way. “She was 6
feet tall and 220 pounds at the time of her death,” Kemper said, adding, “she
was not intimidated by anybody.”
said he can’t simply explain why he murdered his mother to spare her from
finding out that he was responsible for all the co-ed killings in Santa Cruz.
was love and there was hate,” Kemper said of his relationship with his mother.
didn’t want to put her through what I created,” he said. And even though he
said she helped create what he was, “she was a victim and not a perpetrator.”
fled Santa Cruz County after killing his mother. He said he drove for four days,
listening to the radio for news that police had a break in the case.
said he had three guns and a knife in the car. “When I heard on the news there
was a break in the case it would mean in a few hours I’d be dead,” Kemper
said he planned to stop the car as soon as he heard the bulletin. “I was going
to get my weapons and go to high ground and attack authorities when they came
for me,” Kemper said.
said he believed at the time that he would have to be killed or he would keep
it turns out, a showdown never happened. The bodies of his mother and her
friend had not been found, and a panicked Kemper finally telephoned Santa Cruz
police from Pueblo, Colorado, and confessed. Police there arrested him at a
last appearance before the parole board was in 1982. At the time, he had lost weight
and looked noticeably different that at the time of his trial.
he appeared to look more like the 6-foot-9, 280-pound giant of a man Santa Cruz
1985, Kemper waived his right for a hearing, saying he was unsuitable for
release. He did not say that this time, but did concede he does not expect to be
released from prison anytime soon.
His next parole consideration will be in 1991.
Source: “Kemper parole denied – Psychiatrist says killer suitable for release”, by Mark Bergstrom, Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 16, 1988
Margaret Cheney has written books about the environment, a scientist,
the University of California – and mass murderer Edmund Kemper.
“I was more or less interested in seeing whether I could do it,” said
Cheney, who wrote the book about the Santa Cruz County killer in 1976 and has just
published an updated version titled, “Why: The Serial Killer in America.”
The original book was called “The Coed Killer”, because six of Kemper’s
victims were young women he picked up on college campuses in 1972 and 1973.
Most of his victims were students at UC-Santa Cruz.
Cheney said she decided to publish the new version after she was
contacted by criminologist Harry Miller, who was trying to find a copy of the
original book, then out of print.
Cheney, of Hollister, conducted new interviews with psychologists and
criminologist for the new book about Kemper’s gruesome murders.
The book questions the early diagnosis of Kemper, who killed his
grandparents when he was 15, in 1964. He was sent to a mental hospital and
later to the California Youth Authority.
Despite the recommendations of doctors that Kemper not be paroled to his
mother, the Youth Authority did just that. Kemper’s final victims were his
mother and her friend in April 1973 at the mother’s Seacliff apartment. He
turned himself in several days later and admitted everything.
“If Kemper had been diagnosed as a classic sadist, perhaps we wouldn’t
have had these murders,” because Kemper would have been kept locked up longer,
The book refers to a 1991 FBI study that traces certain confused
behavior in childhood to violence in later life.
Cheney writes about an incident when Kemper was a small boy and told one
of his sisters he wanted to kiss his teacher. When the sister asked him why he
didn’t do it, Kemper replied, “I’d have to kill her first.”
That response should have been a tipoff that Kemper could turn violent
later on, Cheney said. When telling authorities about the murders, Kemper said
he felt he could “own” the women by killing them.
Another indicator of future violent behavior, Cheney said, was when the
young Kemper killed a cat. Cheney recently joined the Latham Foundation, an
Alameda-based group that believes childhood abuse of animals can lead to
violence in later life.
“We’re trying to get social workers and veterinarians” to be aware of
the ramifications of such cruelty, Cheney said.
Cheney was a consultant for a CBS-TV special, “Inside The Criminal Mind,”
a portion of which is about Kemper. No broadcast date has been set.
“Why: The Serial Killer in America,” is published by R&E Publishers, of Saratoga.
Source: “Author focuses on mass murderer”, Register-Pajaronian, December 22, 1992, by Lane Wallace, staff writer; Photo by Kurt Ellison
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
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
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)
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
Vacaville – The state Board of Prison Terms denied parole Thursday to
Edmund Kemper, telling the convicted murderer of eight he still is a threat to
It was the fourth denial in as many years for the 33-year-old Kemper,
who was convicted of the murders in 1973 and became eligible for parole in
The three-member panel also agreed with requests by Assistant District Attorney John Hopkins and by Kemper, himself, that the next parole hearing be put off three years as provided for in a new state law.
Kemper was almost unrecognizable as he walked into the hearing room Thursday
at the California Medical Facility here, where he has been incarcerated since
his conviction in Santa Cruz Superior Court.
He told the parole board he has been exercising and jogging the past year
and has shed 80 pounds from his 6-foot-9 frame. When he was convicted, Kemper
weighed some 280 pounds. He is now sporting slightly longer and neatly-combed
Kemper said he did not wish to testify at the hour-long hearing, but
answered a number of questions from the panelists, describing his job as
therapy clerk, volunteer work reading books on tape for the blind and the
progress he said he has made in sessions with his psychiatrist.
But Kemper said in response to a question from Robert Roos, he doesn’t
feel he’s ready to be returned to the street.
Ted Rich, chairman of the panel, later told Kemper that that admission
played a part in the board’s denial of parole.
In announcing the decision after a short deliberation, Rich commended
Kemper for his behavior inside the institution and for the progress reflected
in the psychiatric report.
Kemper replied, “Thank you, I appreciate that.”
The report by Dr. R. Brooks said, in part, that Kemper “has made
considerable progress in re-establishing his working relationship with his
family, in many ways to a level which surpasses his highest functioning in the
family in the past.”
Kemper told the panel he corresponds with his two sisters, but no longer with his father. “I blew it,” he said of the break-off of communication.
One of Kemper’s eight victims was his mother and he previously was
convicted of killing his grandparents.
Brooks also wrote: “As he releases some of his intellectual defenses and
experiences and expresses his emotional responses, he has become more ‘real,’
stepping out of his ‘monster’ role.”
Rich complimented Kemper for not being “contentious” as he had been at the
previous parole hearings.
But, he reminded Kemper the murders were committed in an “especially
heinous and atrocious manner” and that Kemper had “(sexually) abused and
mutilated” his victims. (…)
Steve Bedient, Kemper’s appointed attorney, conceded Thursday that Kemper’s multiple murder conviction plus his former conviction stand strongly against him.
But, he urged the panel to consider the other factors required by law:
Kemper’s behavior while institutionalized and the psychiatric report, which he
said stand strongly in Kemper’s favor.
Bedient also said Kemper has shown remorse and added, “If 2 ½ million
feet of tape (which Kemper said he has read for the blind) is not paying back society,
I don’t know what is.”
But Kemper, arguing against his own release, said “I doubt I will ever
understand what I did. I’ve made my own choice to try to become normal. I
believe in a humane society. Some of my past actions have shown a disregard for
the compassion of another person.”
His attorney, Steve Bedient, said Kemper estimated it would take at least 30 years before he could be released.
Kemper replied: “I don’t think it takes much effort for a person to
realize that the notoriety of what I’ve done makes relationships with women a
lot more difficult. It makes it rough, but it’s a challenge.”
Sources: “Mass murderer Kemper denied parole again”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, by Mark Bergstrom, June 25, 1982 / “Kemper agrees his place is behind bars”, Register-Pajaronian, June 25, 1982