The trial of Edmund Kemper lasted three weeks, but it took the jury only five hours to reach a decision.
Defender Jim Jackson, in a final effort to do his professional best by a client he had never asked for, told jurors in his closing argument, “There are two people locked up in the body of this young giant, one good and one evil… One is fighting to be here with us and the other is slipping off to his own little world of fantasy where he is happy.”
When the jury returned, Kemper showed no emotion as Judge Brauer read the verdict: “Guilty, Sane, and First Degree to all eight counts.”
From: Why: The Serial Killer In America by Margaret Cheney (1992, update of The Co-Ed Killer, 1976) / Photos: Getty Images, Register Pajaronian
Photo on the left: Edmund Kemper and District Attorney’s investigator Richard Verbrugge exchange words in courtroom; Kemper’s “escort,” sheriff’s deputy Bruce Colomy, is at right.
Photo on the right: Edmund Kemper with sheriff’s deputy Bruce Colomy.
During the period when Kemper had been transported to and from the San Mateo County Jail for trial, he had become acquainted with a slightly built Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy named Bruce Colomy, a man not much older than himself. Colomy had been kind to the gigantic defendant. Although no one would ever have confused the deputy with John Wayne, he nevertheless represented another father figure to Kemper. “He’s more like a father to me than anyone I have ever known,” he said. “He’s like the father I wish I had had.”
While imprisoned at Atascadero in the late 1960s, Kemper became a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees). During his trial, he wore his membership pin in his lapel, apparently with pride.
[Before being taken to state prison after his sentencing], slowly, Kemper removed the precious Junior Chamber of Commerce pin from the lapel of his buckskin jacket. Colomy described this episode, a scene that would have wrenched the heart of any B-grade movie fan. “Ed looked at it for a long time and tears came to his eyes. Then he handed it to me and said, ‘Here, I want you to have it.’”
From: Why: The Serial Killer In America by Margaret Cheney (1992, update of The Co-Ed Killer, 1976) / Pin is not the actual pin that belonged to Ed Kemper, but it is from the same time period.
A seemingly unconcerned young giant agreed yesterday to return to California to face charges of killing his mother and a family friend – two of eight women he confessed slaying in the Santa Cruz area in the past year.
Edmund Kemper, 24, a 6-foot-9, 280-pound labourer who killed his grandparents nine years ago, turned down a judge’s offer of an attorney and voluntarily signed papers allowing Santa Cruz authorities to fly him back from Pueblo, Colorado. [He was eventually driven back by car to Santa Cruz.]
Kemper, wearing a gray shirt and baggy blue jeans, refused District Judge Jack F. Feaby’s offer to appoint an attorney. “I don’t think it is necessary, your honor,” Kemper said, then signed six copies of extradition papers.
He laughed aloud on his way back to his jail cell when police lost the keys to his handcuffs. Kemper had asked them to remove the cuffs while he smoked.
“He was very cooperative,” District Attorney Peter Chang said after he and homicide detectives questioned Kemper for several hours about the killings.
Pueblo Police Chief Robert Mayer described Kemper as “big enough to beat a mountain lion with a switch.”
Source: The San Bernardino County Sun, Thursday April 26, 1973 / Getty Images
“When I was young, I was about 8 or 9 years old, I went to this little come-on, it was like a record store or something. And they had this crowd of kids there and there was a magic show. And this guy… You’ve probably seen it, the fake guillotine, hand-pressed and they put the potato there. And someone puts their neck in the brace and they slam this thing down and the potato down below chops in two, but the person’s head doesn’t fall off, right? And everybody gets very fascinated by that: Oh my god!”
“I’m out standing in this crowd watching this show and he wanted a volunteer out of the audience. And some quite beautiful little 16-year-old girl gets up there, and this big laugh, and they’re all giddy and stuff. And I started getting caught up in this. I said: Wow! Right at that moment, I departed reality because, logically, I should have been able to ascertain that that could not happen. You’re not gonna get away with chopping somebody’s head off in the middle of Helena, Montana. But the concept of it was so raw and it was titillating. I says: Wow, gee, gotta watch this. And he had her girlfriend come over and put her hands there to catch her head, so it wouldn’t fall in the basket, you know. And he was making jokes about this. I got caught up in this interplay between normal concerns-you don’t want to get a bump on her head-well hey, if you’re chopping her head off, it doesn’t matter, right? And this is catching in my mind somehow and I’m saying: Wow, and naturally, everybody let out a shriek and they’re all excited: Oh wow! And as he chops and the potato falls, and her head doesn’t go any place and he unlocks the brace and she gets out laughing, and he gives her some little prize for coming up and participating in the experiment. That’s the first time I’d ever seen a show like that. You know, you see things like that on TV, it’s one thing, but to be there and watch things like that, you get more caught up in it. And I went from there. That became another piece. That’s… the only event in my life that I can align that fascination with was the fact that she was a very alluring young lady.”
– Edmund Kemper discussing his fascination with the beheading of women and how it might have entered in his secret fantasy world.
A unique piece: “The Annotated Dracula” hardcover book, signed, dated and dedicated on the inside first page by Ed Kemper in 1992 and signed, dated and dedicated on the title page (second page) by famed author and poet Leonard Wolf in 1978. This book was Kemper’s personal copy given to him by Wolf. I blurred the names in Kemper’s note to protect their privacy.
This book is part of my collection of true crime collectibles.
Two original Polaroids of Ed Kemper and famed author and poet Leonard Wolf together at visitation in 1978 at the CMF in Vacaville. They were the property of Kemper, who has annotated and dated the bottom of both Polaroids. We can appreciate his sense of humour. Leonard Wolf was a professor at San Francisco State University and a regular visitor of Ed’s in the late 1970s.
These Polaroids are part of my collection of true crime collectibles.
Wolf was a professor at San Francisco State University and a regular visitor of Kemper’s in the late 1970s. They befriended one another, and with Wolf’s backing, Kemper was planning on getting a PhD. But Wolf left to go to New York and couldn’t sponsor Kemper anymore. So the PhD never happened.
“…[Leonard] spoke about the psychological perversity of Kemper’s childhood, and about his life in virtual isolation — never as a way to attempt to excuse Kemper’s inexcusable acts rather as a way to attempt to understand them. This was bridging a chasm.”
“…After all, [Leonard] had spent hundreds of hours with Kemper. At this point Leonard knew Kemper, probably, better than anyone ever had, including the psychiatrist who told the parole board that Kemper represented “no threat to society” and could be safely released, after he had killed only two of his 10 eventual victims.”
Excerpts from photographer Joey Tranchina’s blog My life Tumbled – “A day with Ed Kemper” – Parts 1 & 2 – Fall 1979
Who is Leonard Wolf:
Leonard Wolf is a poet, author, teacher, and the father of writer Naomi Wolf. He is known for his authoritative annotated editions of classic gothic horror novels, including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and The Phantom of the Opera, and critical works on the topic.
“I always felt like a social outcast, I never managed to find my place. I couldn’t stay put, the need to move was constant. From ages five to seven, while we lived in Los Angeles, I had problems in public schools. I changed schools several times. I was a difficult child at that time, but at least I was ‘normal’, because I wasn’t internalizing my problems. [he laughs] I didn’t kidnap classmates or break windows. I was insolent, I was disobedient and I didn’t do much work. The teachers often called my parents. But you know what, that was definitely better than my attitude in the following years, where I was troubled, very calm and where I hardly spoke. People who really knew me were very few. I remained locked in the basement with my dark thoughts. I became interested with everything related to morbidity. I was fascinated by lots of things that revolved around death, destruction and Evil, with a capital E. But that had nothing to do with Satan or any devil worshipping. In fact, I feared these things.”
– Ed Kemper about his childhood fantasies
Source : L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin, 1998)
The CMF has been Ed Kemper’s home since he was incarcerated in 1973. Read more about the history of the CMF at the link at the end of this post. .
According to an ex-CMF employee, it’s “almost certain” that that’s Ed Kemper on the far-right hiding his face in the therapy session. He also said that Kemper is a “model inmate. I think he was taller than 6 foot 9. I’m 6 foot and it felt I was looking straight up to see his face. He crouched a little walking through a door way as not to hit his head.” This picture was taken in December 1990.
Kemper worked for several years as a clerk in the prison library, in the reference area. At some point, prison officials decided that he had worked there for too long, so they made him swap jobs with an inmate who worked as captain’s clerk.
For more information about the history of the CMF: