Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: Weapons (Page 2 of 2)

1988 – Ed Kemper parole hearing

Convicted killer Edmund Kemper, left, testifies at his parole hearing on June 15, 1988. With him is his attorney, Richard Shore.

Vacaville – 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.

Kemper, 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.

A 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.

Brown told Kemper his crimes “shock the public conscience.”

During 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.

He 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.

Kemper 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.

He 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.

In 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.

She said Kemper was and still is a deeply disturbed person who will kill again if he’s ever released.

District 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.”

Danner told the parole board Kemper’s greatest danger is that he may some day con his way back out on the street.

He pointed out that Kemper had led psychiatrists and psychologists to believe he was no threat after a five-year commitment for killing his grandparents.

Even 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.

He 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.

After 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.

He said he went to the second interview, later in the day, “blasted off my tail on beer,” but the doctor didn’t notice.

The two psychiatrists wrote that Kemper posed no danger to himself or others.

Kemper 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.

He 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.

He said he only murdered the women hitchhikers because the women in his life, especially his mother, had caused his only grief.

Kemper talked at length about his mother and drunken fights he said they had after his release from custody after killing his grandparents.

Kemper 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.”

Kemper 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.

“There was love and there was hate,” Kemper said of his relationship with his mother.

“I 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.”

Kemper 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.

He 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 explained.

He 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.

He said he believed at the time that he would have to be killed or he would keep on killing.

As 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 telephone booth.

Kemper’s 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.

Now, he appeared to look more like the 6-foot-9, 280-pound giant of a man Santa Cruz residents remember.

In 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

Ed Kemper’s weapons

Ed Kemper in court during his trial

On his release from Atascadero, Ed Kemper began collecting weapons; first knives, one of which he particularly liked, and that he nicknamed the “General”, to the point of regularly sharpening its blade; then firearms, which were much more difficult to obtain because of his previous crimes. He borrowed some firearms from his co-workers, before buying one from his boss who wanted to go on a trip with his mistress. Most of the time, Kemper kept these weapons in the trunk of his car or in a specially arranged hideout under his seat.

Source: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin) / Bay City TV Archive

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

Backseat of Kemper’s car

At first glance, the car looked generally clean inside and out. Investigation of Kemper’s car revealed blood stains in the back seat of the car and a dried puddle of blood underneath the back seat. A bullet was found embedded in the right-rear inside panel of the car. Kemper had murdered both Mary Anne Pesce and Alice Liu on the back seat.

Source: Register-Pajaronian, April 27, 1973, by Marj Von B

Police search Ed Kemper’s car

Among evidence found in suspect’s car by Detective Terry Madina (left) and Criminalist Paul Daugherty was a shovel, bagged for lab.

When Ed Kemper was arrested, his car was still parked near his mother’s apartment at 609 A Ord Drive. The police searched it and found, in the trunk, a shovel and a red dishpan. There was also a bloodstained knife, strands of hair and blood stains from his victims’ bodies.

Detective Terry Madina searches the trunk of Ed Kemper’s car.

Source: Register-Pajaronian, April 27, 1973, by Marj Von B

Ed Kemper’s killer car

On the outside it seemed a harmless ride to the next destination, but inside was a murderous trap.

Ed Kemper’s car was a used yellow 1969 Ford Galaxie 500 with a black hardtop. The inside of the car was also black. He bought it with the money he received after suing another driver, a female, in the last of his motorcycle accidents, in which he broke his left arm.

Not long after he got the Ford Galaxie, he crashed the left rear fender in an accident. Kemper roughly patched the rear bumper and light himself. The car was still like that when Kemper was arrested.

While driving around, he noticed a large number of young women hitchhiking, and began storing plastic bags, knives, blankets, and handcuffs in his car. He then began picking up girls and peacefully letting them go—according to Kemper, he picked up around 150 such hitchhikers—before he felt homicidal sexual urges, which he called his “little zapples,” and began acting on them.

Ed Kemper modified and organized his car in five ways to easily carry out his atrocious crimes against six female hitchhikers.

1. Radio antenna

Kemper fitted his car, which from the outside closely resembled an unmarked police vehicle, with a radio transmitter, a microphone and a large whip antenna. He used this to listen in on police transmissions. But when he started on his deadly campaign, he realized that the car was too easily recognizable and removed the antenna.

2. Passenger door

Kemper would jam the passenger door to trap in his hitchhiker victims. Once they got in, he would pretend that their door was not shut properly. He would reach over and slip an object, most often a Chapstick tube, into the locking mechanism, making it impossible to open the door from the inside.

3. Driver’s seat

Kemper stored his .22-calibre automatic pistol under his seat while driving. Police had paid him a visit a few weeks before his arrest to confiscate his .44-calibre magnum, which was stored in the trunk of the car, amid his crimes due to concerns about his previous detainment at Atascadero. Kemper feared at that moment he would be caught, but he wasn’t.

4. The “A” sticker

Kemper’s Ford Galaxie had an “A” sticker on the back bumper. Clarnell Strandberg, giving in to her son’s urging, finally got him that “A” parking sticker for his car, which she was able to do by paying a slight amount extra for her own parking permit. The same sticker system was used on other UC campuses, including Berkeley, which proved convenient for Kemper. Strictly speaking, stickers were for the use of employees or students who had legitimate need to park near the campus buildings.

5. Trunk of the car

Kemper used the trunk for hiding his victims’ bodies after he killed them. He murdered two of them in there: Anita Luchessa and Cindy Schall. He also decapitated several of his victims in the trunk, before bringing their bodies inside the house, where he would abuse and dismember them. He kept his victims’ severed heads in the trunk, sometimes for a few days, before disposing of them whenever he could.

Please note that the car shown in the picture is not Kemper’s actual car nor is it the right model. The car pictured here is a 1967 convertible Ford Galaxie 500. Kemper’s car was a 1969 Ford Galaxie 500 with a hardtop.

Sources: Real Crime Magazine #009 / L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (S. Bourgoin) / The Co-Ed Killer (M. Cheney)

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