Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: CMF (Page 1 of 5)

Death of Herbert Mullin

Mullin mugshots from 1973 and 2022

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), August 19, 2022 — A California inmate who confessed to killing 13 people in a matter of months during the early 1970s has died of natural causes at age 75, state prison officials said Friday.

Herbert W. Mullin’s victims ranged in age from 4 to 73 and included a priest he killed in a confessional booth, according to the Santa Cruz County district attorney’s office.

Mullin died Thursday evening [August 18] at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, corrections officials said, and the San Joaquin County medical examiner will determine his exact cause of death.

Mullin was serving two concurrent sentences of life with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder from Santa Cruz County and nine terms of five years to life for second-degree murder from Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.

All were for killings he committed during a four-month period in late 1972 and early 1973.

Prosecutors said Mullin committed two other murders for which he never faced charges.

Mullin was denied parole last year.

At the time, District Attorney Jeff Rosell said that Mullin again admitted to the 13 killings during his parole hearing. But he blamed his poor upbringing and said his parents and sister should be held responsible.

Mullin showed “no true remorse for these brutal murders,” Rosell argued.

Mullin had interactions with Edmund Kemper, another serial killer active in the same area and at the same time as he was. The two shared adjoining cells at one point at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville.  Kemper would describe Mullin as having a “lot of pain inside, he had a lot of anguish inside, he had a lot of hate inside, and it was addressed to people he didn’t even know because he didn’t dare do anything to the people he knew.” In that same interview, Kemper called Mullin “a kindred spirit there” due to their similar past of being institutionalized. Kemper said he told Mullin “Herbie, I know what happened. Don’t give me that bullshit about earthquakes and don’t give me that crap about God was telling you. I says you couldn’t even be talking to me now if God was talking to you because of the pressure I’m putting on you right now, these little shocking insights into what you did, God would start talking to you right now if you were that kind of ill. Because I grew up with people like that.”

Sources: Santa Cruz Sentinel, by Associated Press, August 19, 2022 | Wikipedia for Herbert Mullin | 1991 Interview by Stéphane Bourgoin

Ed Kemper’s prison ID

In 1979, photographer Joey Tranchina visited Edmund Kemper in prison to capture his everyday life in photos. This is one of Ed Kemper’s hand holding his prison ID.

You can see a scar on Kemper’s wrist, a remnant of his suicide attempts before and during his 1973 trial.

Kemper interview about the Blind Project

If you are interested in knowing more about the Blind Project in which Ed Kemper participated for many years, this archive recently surfaced on YouTube. 

The Volunteers of Vacaville was founded in 1960 to teach inmates at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville Braille transcription, Brailler repair, and reading for audio books. This 1983 clip from KCRA’s “Weeknight” show, produced by and featuring Steve LaRosa, features serial killer Ed Kemper being interviewed and reading “Star Wars.”

Thank you to the Center for Sacramento History for releasing this archive, and to Diana for her great find. 

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

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.”

This is Ed Kemper

This photo of Ed Kemper recently surfaced on Reddit and was first seen on the Facebook page The Edmund Kemper Discussion Group. The photo links to this website:

https://www.thisisedkemper.com

There isn’t much information on the site, but they say it will be the definitive account of the life and crimes of serial killer Edmund Emil Kemper III. To be released in 2021. It’s most probably a book. We’ll be on the lookout!

As for this rare photo, it looks like it was taken in the early 1980s at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, in the cafeteria or in a visitors’ room. It might be that Kemper was having a meal with people from the American Foundation for the Blind in prison, an organization linked to the Vacaville Blind Project, in which Kemper was involved as a reader and a coordinator for many years. 

Today: Ed Kemper’s birthday

Born on December 18, 1948, serial killer Edmund Kemper turns 72 years old today. He is still incarcerated at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, where he has been living since his conviction in 1973. 

Edmund Emil Kemper III is the second of three children and the only son born to Edmund and Clarnell Kemper. Kemper bitterly recalls that his father was not around much when he was young and that his parents separated completely when he was 9, after which his mother moved the family from California to Montana. As a result of the move, Ed almost never saw his father. This greatly embittered him, and he blamed his mother entirely. As a child, Kemper was physically and socially awkward, always the largest boy in his class. He ultimately grew to 6 feet 9 inches and weighed 280 pounds. He was a loner who dwelled in the world of science-fiction and the occult for escape. His mother once wrote, “I was deeply worried during the years about the lack of a father relationship, and so I tried everything I could to compensate for that.” According to Ed, this meant she felt a need to punish and ridicule him in order to “make him a man.”

Source: Murder and Madness by Donald T. Lunde, 1976, San Francisco Book Company / Image taken from documentary The Killing of America by directors Leonard Schrader and Sheldon Renan (1981)

COVID situation at the CMF at Vacaville

On August 25, 2020, we checked the COVID-19 situation at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville where Ed Kemper has been incarcerated since 1973. It seems that the coronavirus has not been a threat, as only six cases were confirmed at the institution, five of which have been resolved since they were reported in late July – early August. No deaths are reported. The current forest fires and hot weather in California seem to be more serious threats at this point.

Source: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website

New Kemper interview from 1979

HLN’s Very Scary People recently dedicated an episode to Ed Kemper’s case (S02E08). It features an unseen interview recorded in June 1979 with Kemper commenting on some of his favorite books that he read for the Vacaville Blind Project, such as “Charlotte’s Web”, “Stuart Little” and “Trumpet of the Swan”. We also see him in action as he is recording the “Star Wars” book, imitating C-3PO: Behave yourself, R2! You’re going to get us into trouble!

Watch the “Star Wars” excerpt here:

Source: HLN Very Scary People S02E08

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