Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Month: July 2019 (Page 1 of 2)

“He seemed like kind of a momma’s boy”

Ed Kemper’s neighbour, Carla Gervasoni

Following Ed Kemper’s arrest on April 24, 1973 in Pueblo, Colorado, the media interviewed 20-year-old student Carla Gervasoni, Kemper’s upstairs neighbour on Ord Drive in Aptos, who stated: “Oh, he was kind of an odd man. He didn’t say much. He seemed like kind of a momma’s boy. I always was kind of afraid of him, actually. He scared me a lot. And I heard him and his mother argue quite a bit. All the time.”

Gervasoni added: “He was too quiet sometimes. He was always taking things, you know, back and forth. Guns. He had guns, that I saw. I guess that’s why I thought he was strange. He scared me.”

Source: Bay Area TV Archive – Edmund Kemper Murders Collection

“Mindhunter” memorabilia

With Season 2 of “Mindhunter” coming out on August 16, here are some props from Season 1, related to Ed Kemper’s character.

These items were obtained through a Netflix prop liquidation sale held at the studios where “Mindhunter” Seasons 1 & 2 were filmed in Warrendale, Pennsylvania. All items were sold “As is, Where is” and no certificates of authenticity were provided.

These items are part of my collection of true crime-related collectibles.

A custom-built hospital room set piece as seen in Season 1, Episode 10, when Holden pays Ed Kemper a visit after his suicide attempt.

A lot of four greetings cards sent to FBI agents Holden and Tench by serial killer Ed Kemper in Season 1, episode 10. He sent them various cards after their visit with him. Each card has a message from Kemper, most likely written by someone from the props department.

Kemper character back on Mindhunter season 2

Netflix revealed new images today from season 2 of Mindhunter, which will start airing on August 16, 2019. And good news for Kemper “fans”: his character is back for the new season. These exclusive images show him in the prison chapel talking with FBI agents Holden and Bill. Is he talking about his religious conversion in prison? We’ll soon find out!

The show will also feature another serial killer case we are interested in, David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz who terrorized New York City in 1976-1977.

Read more HERE

Arguments erupt between Kemper and his mother

Fewer people knew Guy Kemper. Some of his few close friends, like youth counselor Bob Fazdin, knew him as Guy. A lot of his buddies down at the Fireside and Jury Room called him “Big Ed” to match his six-foot-inch height and two-hundred-ninety-pound bulk. At work, he was nicknamed “Forklift” because of his ability to carry two ninety-two-pound sacks of cement on his massive, outstretched arms.

His mother had named him Edmund Emil Kemper III to continue a tradition in her husband’s family.

Guy was not as widely known as Herb (Mullin). He had only come to town in 1969 to visit his mother, who had lived in Aptos since 1965 and worked at the University of California campus north of town.

His mother, Clarnell Strandberg, told friends very little of her or her son’s past life other than allusions to the Hollywood crowd and a good bank job she had held in Helena, Montana. She was considered good at her job — an administrative assistant to Charles Post, the first provost of UC’s Stevenson College — and later she moved across campus to College Five.

Guy was introduced to her friends as her highwayman son — he worked for the California Division of Highways as a flagman. He visited occasionally on his motorcycle.

In early 1972 Guy took a recuperation leave from his job — he had broken his left arm in a motorcycle smashup — and spent more time in Santa Cruz area and at his mother’s apartment.

Neighbors could always tell when Guy was visiting — arguments would inevitably erupt, shouting sessions in which he would be upbraided for lazing about drinking beer and not making something himself.

Mrs. Strandberg was a large woman, standing exactly six feet tall and built as square as her son. Her voice was heavy and when angry carried a long distance. She had been known to reduce Guy to tears in front of his friends with her sharp tongue.

After he wrecked his motorcycle, Guy drove an old yellow Ford and immediately crumpled the right rear fender, requiring a makeshift tail light on that side.

The easily recognizable two-door sedan came and went at all hours. And the mother and son arguments raged as often and irregularly.

He once explained to a neighbor girl, twenty-year-old Carla Gervasoni, that the arguments between him and his mother were just the way they expressed themselves as a family.

“We like to get things out in the open. My mother and are really very close and we know these fights don’t mean anything,” Guy said, apologizing for the late hour at which the last argument had erupted.

Source: Sacrifice Unto Me (Don West, Pyramid Books, 1974)

Overcoming Death

Ed Kemper in 1973

“Toward the end, I became sicker, bloodthirsty, and yet these streams of blood annoyed me. It’s not something I want to see, but what I long for is to witness death, and to savour the triumph that I associate with it, my own triumph over the death of others. It’s like a drug, which I want more and more. I want to triumph over my victim. Overcome Death. (During this diatribe, Kemper is very excited and his eyes shine, he relives intensely those moments when he was triumphant.) They are dead and I’m alive, it’s a personal victory.”

ed kemper about murdering his victims, 1991 interview

Kemper’s friendship with police

Drawing from David Jouvent for his upcoming graphic novel about Ed Kemper

“My relations with the police were much exaggerated at the time of my crimes. I knew two or three agents. The bar I went to wasn’t in front of the police station, it was more than sixteen hundred feet away, in front of the courthouse. The Jury Room, Joe Mandela’s Jury Room. ‘Come in and give us your verdict’, that’s the slogan under the sign. The establishment is rather quiet and a number of police officers frequent it. At the time I was committing my crimes, I used the friendship bonds that I’d woven with these policemen to learn more about the progress of the investigation.

Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, I had read it when I was younger. “(Kemper smiles.) With this criminal who feels the pressure building up inside: Are they following me? And he ends up cracking and confessing. This is a novel. I want to avoid all of that. I had no problem getting information out of these officers. Why? Because of the very structure of the police hierarchy, whose elite is represented by the criminal brigade. They see themselves as the cream of the crop and they like to brag about their exploits in front of other cops. So, there is a certain jealousy and friction between the different services.

As for me, I was doing a little dragging around these simple cops. I didn’t care about being their friend. I had already been in prison. I didn’t like the police. But they were talking to each other about what they’d heard about the case. I was on the periphery. They snubbed me, as they were snubbed by the ‘supercops’ of the Criminal. But I wasn’t bothered by their presence, I didn’t act weirdly in front of them and that’s something they must have felt.

Usually, any citizen who speaks to a police officer in uniform is clumsy, as if he’s guilty of something, even if he’s clean. And I think cops are sensitive to that kind of thing; as soon as they put on a uniform, they know right away that they’re no longer like the others. Relationships are skewed. It’s something that must hurt them somehow. But if I don’t act that way, if I don’t treat them like an insect under the microscope, then I’ve slipped a foot in the crack of the door. Little by little, you learn to pay for beers and get to know each other: ‘How’s it going, Big Ed’, ‘Great, and you, Andy, etc. And a year later, I phone them to tell them, ‘I’m the Co-Ed Killer. I want to surrender. ‘

Source: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin, 1998, Éditions Méréal)

The Jury Room bar in Santa Cruz

In 2018, we went to Santa Cruz on vacation and visited some of the places that were important in Ed Kemper’s story. First stop was the Jury Room, a bar where he hung out and drank beer with policemen, while having conversations about the co-ed murders, which were being investigated at the time. The police did not suspect him and found him friendly. 

On one of the walls, there’s a sign acknowledging that Kemper was at one time a regular patron. We don’t know to what ‘colorful history’ they are referring to, as nobody suspected him of the crimes and few people knew that he had killed his grandparents years before…

We went a couple of times and enjoyed a few drinks. On one of our visits, a dog kindly lent us his seat…!

Depriving people of their lives

Ed Kemper in 1989

“That wouldn’t have happened… I realize that if I’d never done it, it wouldn’t have happened, but if… What my original intention was to make it very quick and neither one of them to be aware of what was happening and it was not to keep them from stopping the crime. It was to keep them from suffering. I had a real bad problem depriving people of their lives. It wasn’t, huh, the aspect of killing them. It was the aspect of possessing their bodies afterwards. So, it was almost after, in effect, evicting someone from their human body. And, I’m sorry it sounds so cold, but that’s about what it analogizes to.” 

ED kemper about the murders of Alice Liu and Rosalind Thorpe whom he both shot to death in his car

Source: 1989 closed-circuit interview for the FBI Academy

« Older posts