Edmund Kemper Stories

Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

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“We’ll get to you”

“I didn’t have the supervision I should have had once I got out [of Atascadero]… I was supposed to see my parole officer every other week and a social worker the other week. 

“I never did. I think if I had, I would have made it. 

“Two weeks after I was on the streets, I got scared because I hadn’t seen anyone. 

“Finally, I called the district parole office and asked if I was doing something wrong… was I supposed to go to my parole officer, or would he come to see me, I asked.”

Kemper said the man on the phone asked him, “What’s the matter, you got a problem?” When Kemper told him, “no,” the man replied, “Well, we’re awfully busy with people who have; we’ll get to you.” 

Source: Front Page Detective Magazine, March 1974, by Marj von Beroldingen / Photo: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021 ©Pete Amos

Ed Kemper’s greatest contribution to society

Edward George, former administrator at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, recalled his many interactions with Ed Kemper:

“Big Ed and I used to chat occasionally about his life on the street. I discovered that he actually lived in Alameda in an apartment two blocks from where I lived. Scary. He worked at a gas station where I used to buy gas. Very scary. One day I asked him, tongue in cheek, what did he consider his greatest contribution to society. He didn’t miss a beat. With a gleeful smile, he cracked ‘I taught women not to hitchhike.’”

Source: Ed Kemper – Conversations with a killer, by Dary Matera, Sterling Publishing, 2021 / Photo: Pete Amos, Murder Capital of the World, by Emerson Murray, 2021

“I was very grateful when I bore Guy.”

“I was very grateful when I bore Guy, to have been given a son – always felt strongly about it. The father never wanted any of them [the three Kemper children] in a planned sense. He always felt we couldn’t afford it and here they are today and he still can’t afford it, and love is actually quite inexpensive.”

clarnell strandberg in 1964 during an interview with specialists at atascadero when ed kemper was arrested for murdering his grandparents

Source: Murder Capital of the World, by Emerson Murray, 2021

“We called him Guy.”

Ed Kemper’s younger sister, Allyn, explained in 1973 why he was nicknamed Guy by members of his family:

“We called him [Kemper] Guy. He had that nickname ever since he was little. He had this little sun suit that said “Little Guy” on it, and we just called him Guy ever since then.”

Source: Murder Capital of the World, by Emerson Murray, 2021 / Photo: Pete Amos

“I was born there, you know.”

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

Diagnosis in 1964: Schizophrenic paranoid

This is a transcript of a Staff Summary written by Mercedes Tileston, a Senior Social Worker at Atascadero State Hospital, in October 1964, a few months after Kemper was arrested for killing Edmund Sr. and Maude Kemper, his paternal grandparents. The Staff diagnosed him as schizophrenic paranoid:

This youth (Kemper) has committed a double murder, that of his paternal grandparents. For several years prior to the killing there were numerous indications that this youth was extremely disturbed, had self-destructive impulses and acted out homicidal impulses against two cats over a period of a year. He is overwhelmed with feelings of worthlessness, guilt, parental rejection and has great fears that he will suffer a psychotic episode. [Kemper] has thought long and hard about suicide and has attempted it repeatedly over a number of years. Upon admission at NKCC, he was in a particularly unstable state and gave the impression of being on the verge of committing suicide. As a result, a suicide watch was posted. At present he has stabilized to some small extent. He is on tranquilizers. 

In spite of the tranquilizers, though, [Kemper] continues to be extremely agitated, anxious, distraught and preoccupied. He has a tremendous need to talk about himself, has done this with the psychologist and his social worker and to some extent with the psychiatrist. He should be encouraged to channel all this talk about himself to his therapist. [Kemper] is fearful that peers might learn of his commitment offense. In this respect, he is in very good touch with reality, he is sensitive and very much aware of the unacceptable nature of the killings. Studying the record and all of [Kemper]’s verbalizations reveals that there were suggestions that he would act out violently. It is a tragedy that attention was not paid to these suggestions and that he was not placed in treatment and helped to avert this terrible tragedy of killing both the paternal grandparents. Staff is in accord that this youth could best be treated in a mental hospital at this time and perhaps with some preparation and at a later date be prepared for placement in a treatment program in a Youth Authority institution. 

Medical Report: Physically fit for full activity.

Diagnosis: Schizophrenia, paranoid

Placement recommendation: Department of Mental Hygiene

Source photo: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021

How would you diagnose yourself, Mr. Kemper?

As Ed Kemper celebrates his 73rd birthday today (he was born on December 18, 1948), we revisit his 1973 trial for the murder of six coeds, his mother and her best friend, during his cross examination by District Attorney Peter Chang, where Kemper reflected on his psychiatric diagnosis:

Peter Chang: How would you diagnose yourself, Mr. Kemper?

Ed Kemper: I believe very dearly and honestly there are two people inside of me and at times one of them takes over.

Peter Chang: You disagree with the court-appointed psychiatrist who diagnosed you as a sex maniac?

Ed Kemper: I don’t believe I am.

Peter Chang: Why do you tend to blame others for what you have done?

Ed Kemper: I feel there are others involved. I don’t believe I was born to be this way. 

Peter Chang: Do you think society thinks what you’ve done is grossly evil?

Ed Kemper: Right now, yes.

Peter Chang: Horrendous?

Ed Kemper: Yes, but there are times those things don’t even enter my mind.

Source photo and text: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021 / Photo by Pete Amos

Coming soon: New in-person interviews with Kemper

New information came out this week on the This is Ed Kemper website providing more details about the project.

They revealed this new photo of Kemper taken during an interview at the California Medical Facility in 2020.

The project is titled Ed Kemper and is a limited series detailing the life and crimes of the serial killer Edmund Emil Kemper III.

Based on hundreds of hours of new, in-person interviews conducted in prison, the story intertwines Kemper’s life with his crimes in Santa Cruz in the early 1970s.

It includes insights and information he has never shared in the nearly 50 years since his arrest.

As members of law enforcement have said, “We always felt there was something Kemper wasn’t telling us.”

New Ed Kemper mugshot

This never-seen-before mugshot of Ed Kemper is included in the trailer for “Mind of a Monster,” an Investigation Discovery podcast about the Kemper and Herbert Mullin cases. The first two episodes from a total of six are out now. This mugshot was probably taken in the last three years. 

The first episodes are interesting. In episode 1, Kemper’s younger sister, Allyn, in an exclusive 1973 interview with psychiatrist Donald T. Lunde, warns about how Kemper and their mother will clash when he returns to live in Santa Cruz with their mother when he is released from Atascadero in 1969. Allyn tells her mother: “Don’t get emotionally involved.” 

In episode 2, Kemper explains to psychiatrist Donald T. Lunde that he felt scared when committing his crimes, that he didn’t realize the seriousness of what he had done until after it was done, that he didn’t black out, and that “my sense of values were rather different.” 

Listen to the ‘Mind of a Monster: Ed Kemper “The Co-Ed Killer” vs Herbert Mullin‘ podcast.

Source: “’Mind of a Monster: Ed Kemper “The Co-Ed Killer”, a podcast from Investigation Discovery

Who do you want to notify in case of emergency?

Ed Kemper’s booking record, April 28, 1973

“We got back to Santa Cruz, and we took him in to book him, and as we pull into the Sheriff’s Office, there must have been a hundred to two hundred members of the press waiting there. Keep in mind that I’m supposed to stay out of the press. So, we get around and go in the back and take him upstairs and book him.”

“Jesse Valdez was the booking officer. It gets to the point and Jesse said, “So who do you want to notify in case of emergency? Ed looked at me. He said, “Can I put you down because I don’t have anybody left?”

investigator Michael aluffi, in 2019-2020

Source: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021

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