The state parole board refused to set a release date for convicted mass murderer Edmund Kemper on Thursday, but commended him for his good behavior and psychiatric progress.
The three-member board ruled unanimously that the 32-year-old Kemper was not ready to have a parole date set because his crime staggers the imagination,” the Associated Press reported.
The board, however, did commend Kemper for his good behavior in prison and his work with a program which records books for the blind. It also noted he had made progress in his therapy sessions.
Kemper, who stands 6-feet-9, was convicted in 1973 of eight counts of murder for the slaying of his mother, her best friend and six co-eds.
During the trial, Kemper said the killings were his way of acting out homicidal and sexual fantasies from his early childhood. Kemper mutilated the bodies of most of his victims and also engages in sex with them.
During the two-hour hearing at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, Kemper agreed he was not ready for parole, according to Assistant District Attorney John Hopkins.
His appointed attorney, Steve Bedient of Sacramento, said Kemper would be asking for a release date in the future, however, “because of his progress in therapy,” Hopkins said.
Kemper, who wore prison garb and sported a close-cropped haircut, said he was gaining a better knowledge of himself through therapy.
He said he was reaching a better understanding of how he had both “love and hate feelings” for his mother, Hopkins said.
He also said he realized the women he had killed were surrogate victims – “they all led to the ultimate killing of his mother,” Hopkins said.
Kemper told the board that his old attitudes were “all woring.”
He said: “I have a very clear mind and unfortunately I was even foolying myself,” according to AP accounts of the hearing.
Kemper, who lived with his mother in Aptos and buried the head of one of his victims in the backyard, said to this day, however, he has never been able to resolve the murder of his grandparents within himself. Kemper murdered his grandparents when he was 15.
But he said little else about his grandparents’ deaths and refused to discuss details of his killings.
Kemper told parole officers Thursday: “My grandparents are still rotting in their graves. I am making attempts to resolve the hurt and hate in my family. They still don’t want to have anything to do with me.”
The panel asked if he had cannibalized or had sex with female victims after he killed them.
“What I was doing was perverse by anyone’s standards,” he said.
Kemper said he was driven to the murders out of hate for his mother and to make “a social statement.”
Prison records said Kemper was attracted to coeds at the University of California campus at Santa Cruz. He said his mother taunted him about the young women, holding them up as models of what he could never has as a wife.
He told the board his goal in life was “non-violence – within himself and with respect to others,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins opposed setting a release date for Kemper. “I would agree with Mr. Kemper that he is not ready for release on parole,” he said.
Kemper appeared to be more calm at this year’s hearing than in past parole hearings, said Hopkins. He appeared subdued and did not complain about the presence of several reporters as he had in past years.
Sources: Santa Cruz Sentinel & Register-Pajaronian, May 29, 1981 / Drawings of parole hearing ©Center for Sacramento History