Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: 1974 Interview

Ed Kemper’s last victim – Sally Hallett

Sara “Sally” Taylor Hallett was Ed Kemper’s last victim. She was Kemper’s mother’s best friend and a colleague of Clarnell’s at UCSC. Born on October 19, 1913 in Washington, Hallett had two sons, Edward and Christopher Hallett. Kemper murdered Hallett in his mother’s apartment on Easter weekend in 1973. She was 59 years old.

After killing and decapitating his mother, Clarnell Strandberg, early on the Saturday morning before Easter, Ed Kemper spent much of the day drinking. That evening, he telephoned his mother’s close friend, Sara Taylor Hallett, saying he wanted to surprise his mother and take her and Ms. Hallett to dinner that night.

Kemper prepared for Ms. Hallett’s murder by distributing weapons around the apartment but in the end, none of them would be necessary. Soon after the phone call, Ms. Hallett arrived: “I came up behind her and crooked my arm around her neck, like this,” Kemper said, bending his powerful arm in front of himself at chin level. “I squeezed and just lifted her off the floor. She just hung there and, for a moment, I didn’t realize she was dead … I had broken her neck and her head was just wobbling around with the bones of her neck disconnected in the skin sack of her neck.” 

Later that night, Kemper attempted to have intercourse with Ms. Hallett’s body.

He fled the next day in her car. 

Kemper said he had to kill a friend of his mother’s “as an excuse.” In other words, Kemper said he had to provide a reasonable story for friends of his mother’s to explain her absence. If she were away on a trip with a friend, Kemper reasoned, nobody would be concerned about her absence.

At his 2017 parole hearing, Kemper gave an alternate explanation as to why he murdered Sally Hallett. He said it was revenge for ruining his mother’s holiday. The two women were supposed to go to Europe together for four weeks, but Hallett backed out at the last minute. Clarnell went on the trip by herself. At some point, during the hearing, Kemper referred to Hallett as his mother’s “lover”, but: “When [my mother] got back, she tried sharing those vacation moments with Sally, and Sally got very loud with her and rude, and told her ‘I don’t want to hear about that. I didn’t even go on that vacation, why are you bringing this up?’ So, she – that cut off that release. So, here I am at the house having heard this from my mother and she’s frustrated and I said ‘I’d like to know, I’d like you to share with me.’ So, she went and got all of her travel logs and the papers and stuff from the places that she went and she started systematically sharing this stuff with me, and then all of a sudden, she stops and she looks at me in this strange way, and she said, ‘I’m not gonna let you pity me.’ And she just walked away from the whole thing. And I said, ‘Hey, I wanted to hear this stuff…’ 

“I had told myself that if my mother ever dies over this stuff that I did, [Hallett]’s going with her. That’s one trip she’s not gonna miss. She’s not gonna back off on that one… I swore an oath to it. I was angry at the time… I haven’t sworn many oaths in my life and everyone that I have sworn I followed through with.” 

Sources: “The Co-ed Killer” by Margaret Cheney, 1976 / “Gruesome Details on Tape at Trial”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 25th, 1973 / “Coed Sex Murders Detailed by Chang”, Register-Pajaronian, by Marj von Beroldingen, October 23rd, 1973 / Front Page Detective Magazine, by Marj von Beroldingen, March 1974 / Ed Kemper’s 2017 Parole hearing

Kemper on Kemper book – Expanded

We published a post on December 30 about this book, but we learned recently that an expanded version was just released. And what has been added to the book is quite awesome. Indeed, Kemper’s 1973 confessions after his arrest in Pueblo, Colorado, are now included in the book. Quite a riveting read for any Kemper researcher!

This book was already fun since it collects all of Kemper’s most important interviews. Now, it’s even more complete! Available to buy on Amazon.

Kemper on Kemper book

Got this for Christmas! I wasn’t aware of this book before receiving it as a gift. Independently published in 2020 by author Peter Scott Jr., it presents Kemper’s story through newspapers articles, interviews and personal encounters. It includes written transcripts of some of Kemper’s most famous video interviews, such as the ones for the documentary “Murder – No Apparent Motive” (1984), the FBI Academy (1989) and Stéphane Bourgoin’s “Serial Killers” (1991). Also included is the full transcript of Kemper’s 2017 parole hearing.

This book is nothing new for seasoned Kemper researchers, but it is fun to have a book that collects all of Kemper’s most important interviews. This book is also a good starting point for anyone interested in knowing more about Kemper.

Author Peter Scott Jr. has published a similar book about Charles Manson, Manson on Manson, also released in 2020. Both books are available on Amazon.

“Oh, what is it like to have sex with a dead body?”

“You haven’t asked the questions I expected a reporter to ask,” Kemper said to reporter Marj von B.

“What do you mean,” she replied. “Give me some examples.” 

He drawled, “Oh, what is it like to have sex with a dead body? … What does it feel like to sit on your living room couch and look over and see two decapitated girls’ heads on the arm of the couch?” (He interjected an unsolicited answer: “The first time, it makes you sick to your stomach.”) 

Source: Interview with Ed Kemper by Marj von Beroldingen, published in March 1974 in Front Page Detective Magazine / Image ©Bay Area TV Archive

Rare magazine featuring Kemper interview

Recently managed to fetch a copy of this hard-to-find magazine. It features one of the most important and thorough interviews done with Ed Kemper. Reporter Marj Von B had covered Kemper’s arrest and trial, mostly for the Watsonville newspaper, the Register-Pajaronian. This interview was done on November 8, 1973, the day of Kemper’s conviction on eight counts of first-degree murder, in the killings of six coeds, his mother and her best friend. He was to be sentenced the next day to life in prison. Kemper had appreciated Marj Von B’s fair treatment of his case in her articles for the newspaper, and kept his promise to give her an exclusive interview before going to prison.

In the interview, Marj Von B gives her impressions of Kemper, as she spent the day and most of the evening with him, talking about the case:

“My visit with Kemper was an unforgettable experience, inducing a collage of feelings. As he talked on and on, he was many things. 

  • A lonely young man, grateful for companionship on the eve of what was certainly to be his last day outside prison. 
  • An angry and bitter sibling recalling what he felt was rejection and a lack of love from a divorced father who “cared more for his second family than he did us.” 
  • A son who alternately hated and “loved” a mother he described as a “manhater” who had three husbands and “took her violent hatred of my father out on me.” 
  • A sometimes wry and boastful raconteur, chronicling the events of his life and a person quick to see the humorous side of things and laugh, even if the joke is on him. 
  • An anguished and remorseful killer when speaking of the coeds whose bodies he had sexually assaulted after death and of the “pain” he had caused their families. “The day those fathers [of the Pesce and Luchessa girls] testified in court was very hard for me … I felt terrible. I wanted to talk to them about their daughters, comfort them … But what could I say?” 

Kemper also was a person who momentarily precipitated in me a flush of terror and then allayed my misgivings by faultlessly assuming the role of the gracious host.”

Read the whole interview HERE.

This magazine is part of my collection of true crime collectibles. 

Ed Kemper Interviews and Articles

These magazines are two instructive documents about Ed Kemper. The INSIDE DETECTIVE piece “I’ll Show You Where I Buried The Pieces of Their Bodies” from August 1973 details Kemper’s crimes and arrest. The FRONT PAGE DETECTIVE interview from March 1974 is one of the best pieces written about the Kemper case. Journalist Marj von Beroldingen met with Kemper a few hours after he was convicted on eight counts of first-degree murder. He had kept a promise and granted her an exclusive interview. It was not their first person-to-person talk.

You can access the documents here.


“I had been living with people older than I was for so long that I was an old fogey.”

Ed Kemper blamed the court for counteracting the plan of Atascadero doctors to release him in stages geared to get him accustomed to the world outside again. He said they planned to send him to a “halfway house” environment where he would still have counselling, have a chance to get acquainted with girls at social functions and become aware of persons in his own age group.

“When I got out on the street (in 1969) it was like being on a strange planet. People my age were not talking the same language. I had been living with people older than I was for so long that I was an old fogey.”

Source: Front Page Detective Magazine, March 1974, by Marj von Beroldingen