Kemper spent five years at Atascadero after he murdered his grandparents in 1964 at the age of 15. He recalled with pride the job he’d held there as head of the psychological testing lab at the age of 19 and working directly under the hospital’s chief psychologist. He said:
“I felt I definitely could have done a lot of good there, helping people return to the streets … I could have fit in there quicker than anybody else…
“After all,” he explained, “I grew up there. That used to be like my home.
“Basically, I was born there, you know. I have a lot of fond memories of the place … And I don’t know anybody else who has,” he added with a rueful laugh.
It was there that he became a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. During his trial, he wore his membership pin in his lapel, apparently with pride.
Because of his intelligence and ability, he apparently was a valuable aide in psychological testing and research. “I helped to develop some new tests and some new scales on MMPI… You’ve probably heard of it … the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory,” he said with a chuckle. “I helped to develop a new scale on that, the ‘Overt Hostility Scale’… How’s that for a…” He groped for a word.
“Ironic?” I suggested.
“Ironic note,” he agreed. “There we go, it was an ironic note that I helped to develop that scale and then look what happened to me when I got back out on the streets.”
Source: Excerpt from an interview by reporter Marj von Beroldingen for Front Page Detective Magazine, March 1974 / Photo: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021
Ed Kemper speaking in 1981 of his current glasses: “The State has made me much more credible as a human being.”
This post was inspired by this article in The Guardian: “Why does it seem like serial killers all wear the same glasses?”
Source: Excerpt from The Killing of America (Leonard Schrader, 1981)
Not much is known about Kemper’s fiancee, as she has never gone public with her story. After Kemper’s arrest, she was apparently very much in shock, and went into seclusion. Her parents sent her away from Turlock. Officials at her high school, where she was in her senior year, consented to excuse her from classes until the emotional pressure on her let up, and allowed her to graduate with her class.
Police said a newspaper clipping reporting the engagement was found with Kemper’s belongings in the Aptos apartment where he lived with his mother. In his bedroom, they also found the picture of a beautiful blonde said to be a fiancee of Kemper.
We know that she had met Kemper at a Santa Cruz beach in the summer of 1972. Her age varies according to reports between 16, 17 or 18 years old. Her first name might have been Martha, but this is unverified information from a social media source.
Source: Redlands Daily Facts, May 9, 1973 / Greeley Daily Tribune, May 5, 1973 / Register-Pajaronian, April 25, 1973
Kemper: “Well, I’m not an expert. I’m not an authority. I’m someone who has
been a murderer for almost 20 years.”
“Can you say how many people might be doing crimes like you were doing?”
“It would be a guess, but it’s far more than 35. It isn’t that impossible in
this society. It happens.”
“Are there more people?”
“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.”
“What people see?”
“A nice guy.”
“You were able to appear like an ordinary person, non-threatening, to…”
“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)