Santa Cruz was plagued at that time with a series of bizarre unsolved murders, and warnings had been issued to students not to accept rides from strangers. But Ed Kemper’s mother had given him a university sticker for his car so that he could easily enter the campus to pick her up from work. This sticker gave women a sense of security when he offered them a ride. On February 5, 1973, he shot two more women [Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu] and brought them back to his mother’s house. He cut off one woman’s head in the trunk of his car, and when his mother went to bed he carried the headless corpse to his room and slept with it in his bed. Kemper explained, “The head trip fantasies were a bit like a trophy. You know, the head is where everything is at, the brain, eyes, mouth. That’s the person. I remember being told as a kid, you cut off the head and the body dies. The body is nothing after the head is cut off . . . Well, that’s not quite true. With a girl, there is a lot left in the girl’s body without the head. Of course, the personality is gone.”
Source: Excerpt from “Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters” by Peter Vronsky
Cindy Schall was killed by a single shot in the head from Ed Kemper’s .22-calibre pistol. He kept her body in a cupboard overnight, waiting for his mother to go to work. As soon as she left, he brought out the corpse and decapitated it. His years of hanging out at the Jury Room left him with a wary respect of forensic ballistics – so he cut the bullet fragments out of the skull, which he then kept for a while as a trophy.
He then dismembered the body and took a drive along the coast to dispose of it. But when a couple of weeks later Kemper learned that the police had already recovered Cindy’s remains, he panicked and buried her head in his back garden.
Representatives from the Santa Cruz sheriff’s office, city police and the district attorney’s office looked on as detectives dug a 16-inch deep hole and found the decaying head. Because authorities pinpointed the head’s location, it is speculated they were acting on information from Pueblo, Colorado, where Kemper was arrested and has reportedly been giving detailed information on not only the slaying of his mother Clarnell Strandberg, 52, and her friend Sara Taylor Hallett, 59, but also the slaying of six young women.
head found today had been buried about four feet from the rear of Kemper’s
house. For the last several months, Kemper and his mother lived in the duplex
the skull was being removed from the hole, the upstairs neighbors glanced down
at the yard through a window.
living next door to the duplex were visibly shaken as they occasionally looked
over to where the detectives located the head.
think we’ve been living here so peacefully with that laying on the ground,”
said one woman, pointing to Kemper’s backyard. A young woman next to her,
wearing a Cabrillo College T-Shirt, nodded silently.
Kemper said he buried Cynthia Schall’s head in the backyard of his mother’s apartment house facing the window of the bedroom where he was staying and “talked to it (the head) many times, saying affectionate things… like you would say to a girlfriend or a wife.”
Kemper has also said that he buried Schall’s head in his mother’s yard, facing up toward his mother’s bedroom window, because his mother always wanted people to “look up to her.”
Sources: “Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters”, by Peter Vronsky / “Kemper explains why he murdered coeds”, Register-Pajaronian, November 1, 1973 / “Head found in Aptos”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 26, 1973
– A parole date was denied on June 15, 1988 for serial killer Edmund Kemper,
even though a prison psychiatric evaluation termed Kemper suitable for release.
40, is serving a life sentence at the California Medical Facility for murdering
eight women, including his mother, in 1972-73. The law at the time provided for
the possibility of parole on life sentences.
three-member panel from the Board of Prison Terms rejected the psychiatric
evaluation by Dr. Jack Fleming. Board member David Brown said Kemper poses an
unreasonable risk to society.
told Kemper his crimes “shock the public conscience.”
an almost three-hour hearing, Kemper told the panel he did not practice
cannibalism or perform sex acts on his victims when they were dead or dying. He
said he made those confessions to police when he was tired and confused.
did acknowledge that he beheaded seven of his victims, including his mother,
Clarnell Strandberg, because of a childhood fascination with decapitation. And,
he put his mother’s head on a mantle and threw darts at it.
buried the head of one of his young victims in the backyard of the house he
shared with his mother in Seacliff. He pointed the face toward his bedroom,
according to testimony at his trial in 1973.
appeared surprised during the hearing by a letter written by a cousin, Patricia
Kemper, urging the panel deny Kemper a parole date. Kemper said he had not
known of such a letter.
the letter, the woman said that as a child, Kemper mutilated the family cat.
And, she said she watched him one day wait for hours with a rifle over a
squirrel’s hole to blow its head off when it peeked out. He went on to kill his
grandparents and then the seven women and his mother, she wrote.
said Kemper was and still is a deeply disturbed person who will kill again if
he’s ever released.
Attorney Art Danner said he was shocked, but not surprised by the latest
psychiatric evaluation of Kemper. Danner said Fleming’s report “flies in the
face of everything known about Kemper.”
told the parole board Kemper’s greatest danger is that he may some day con his
way back out on the street.
pointed out that Kemper had led psychiatrists and psychologists to believe he
was no threat after a five-year commitment for killing his grandparents.
Kemper testified that he was shocked in the 1970s when two doctors would rule
him sane and no danger to society, even after he had begun killing again.
explained that he was sent to be interviewed by two doctors in Merced County in
1972 when he was seeking to have his conviction for killing his grandparents
sealed from public view.
meeting with the first psychiatrist, Kemper said, he went out and got drunk. “He
thought I was Mr. Wonderful or something,” Kemper said. He knew after the first
interview that he would be judged sane.
said he went to the second interview, later in the day, “blasted off my tail on
beer,” but the doctor didn’t notice.
two psychiatrists wrote that Kemper posed no danger to himself or others.
hadn’t told them he had already begun killing again, just two days before and
had driven to his interviews with a woman’s head in the trunk of the car.
told the parole board he picked up more than 1,000 hitchhikers during his
year-long murder spree. He did not say why he selected the victims he did,
other than say the selection was random.
said he only murdered the women hitchhikers because the women in his life,
especially his mother, had caused his only grief.
talked at length about his mother and drunken fights he said they had after his
release from custody after killing his grandparents.
said he returned from the California Youth Authority at age 20 with great hope
for the future. He said his mother fought him every step of the way. “She was 6
feet tall and 220 pounds at the time of her death,” Kemper said, adding, “she
was not intimidated by anybody.”
said he can’t simply explain why he murdered his mother to spare her from
finding out that he was responsible for all the co-ed killings in Santa Cruz.
was love and there was hate,” Kemper said of his relationship with his mother.
didn’t want to put her through what I created,” he said. And even though he
said she helped create what he was, “she was a victim and not a perpetrator.”
fled Santa Cruz County after killing his mother. He said he drove for four days,
listening to the radio for news that police had a break in the case.
said he had three guns and a knife in the car. “When I heard on the news there
was a break in the case it would mean in a few hours I’d be dead,” Kemper
said he planned to stop the car as soon as he heard the bulletin. “I was going
to get my weapons and go to high ground and attack authorities when they came
for me,” Kemper said.
said he believed at the time that he would have to be killed or he would keep
it turns out, a showdown never happened. The bodies of his mother and her
friend had not been found, and a panicked Kemper finally telephoned Santa Cruz
police from Pueblo, Colorado, and confessed. Police there arrested him at a
last appearance before the parole board was in 1982. At the time, he had lost weight
and looked noticeably different that at the time of his trial.
he appeared to look more like the 6-foot-9, 280-pound giant of a man Santa Cruz
1985, Kemper waived his right for a hearing, saying he was unsuitable for
release. He did not say that this time, but did concede he does not expect to be
released from prison anytime soon.
His next parole consideration will be in 1991.
Source: “Kemper parole denied – Psychiatrist says killer suitable for release”, by Mark Bergstrom, Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 16, 1988
“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.”)
Vacaville – The state Board of Prison Terms denied parole Thursday to
Edmund Kemper, telling the convicted murderer of eight he still is a threat to
It was the fourth denial in as many years for the 33-year-old Kemper,
who was convicted of the murders in 1973 and became eligible for parole in
The three-member panel also agreed with requests by Assistant District Attorney John Hopkins and by Kemper, himself, that the next parole hearing be put off three years as provided for in a new state law.
Kemper was almost unrecognizable as he walked into the hearing room Thursday
at the California Medical Facility here, where he has been incarcerated since
his conviction in Santa Cruz Superior Court.
He told the parole board he has been exercising and jogging the past year
and has shed 80 pounds from his 6-foot-9 frame. When he was convicted, Kemper
weighed some 280 pounds. He is now sporting slightly longer and neatly-combed
Kemper said he did not wish to testify at the hour-long hearing, but
answered a number of questions from the panelists, describing his job as
therapy clerk, volunteer work reading books on tape for the blind and the
progress he said he has made in sessions with his psychiatrist.
But Kemper said in response to a question from Robert Roos, he doesn’t
feel he’s ready to be returned to the street.
Ted Rich, chairman of the panel, later told Kemper that that admission
played a part in the board’s denial of parole.
In announcing the decision after a short deliberation, Rich commended
Kemper for his behavior inside the institution and for the progress reflected
in the psychiatric report.
Kemper replied, “Thank you, I appreciate that.”
The report by Dr. R. Brooks said, in part, that Kemper “has made
considerable progress in re-establishing his working relationship with his
family, in many ways to a level which surpasses his highest functioning in the
family in the past.”
Kemper told the panel he corresponds with his two sisters, but no longer with his father. “I blew it,” he said of the break-off of communication.
One of Kemper’s eight victims was his mother and he previously was
convicted of killing his grandparents.
Brooks also wrote: “As he releases some of his intellectual defenses and
experiences and expresses his emotional responses, he has become more ‘real,’
stepping out of his ‘monster’ role.”
Rich complimented Kemper for not being “contentious” as he had been at the
previous parole hearings.
But, he reminded Kemper the murders were committed in an “especially
heinous and atrocious manner” and that Kemper had “(sexually) abused and
mutilated” his victims. (…)
Steve Bedient, Kemper’s appointed attorney, conceded Thursday that Kemper’s multiple murder conviction plus his former conviction stand strongly against him.
But, he urged the panel to consider the other factors required by law:
Kemper’s behavior while institutionalized and the psychiatric report, which he
said stand strongly in Kemper’s favor.
Bedient also said Kemper has shown remorse and added, “If 2 ½ million
feet of tape (which Kemper said he has read for the blind) is not paying back society,
I don’t know what is.”
But Kemper, arguing against his own release, said “I doubt I will ever
understand what I did. I’ve made my own choice to try to become normal. I
believe in a humane society. Some of my past actions have shown a disregard for
the compassion of another person.”
His attorney, Steve Bedient, said Kemper estimated it would take at least 30 years before he could be released.
Kemper replied: “I don’t think it takes much effort for a person to
realize that the notoriety of what I’ve done makes relationships with women a
lot more difficult. It makes it rough, but it’s a challenge.”
Sources: “Mass murderer Kemper denied parole again”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, by Mark Bergstrom, June 25, 1982 / “Kemper agrees his place is behind bars”, Register-Pajaronian, June 25, 1982
Early in September 1972, Ed Kemper’s urges start up again, the effect of his previous victims’ photos having faded. He gets back into hunt mode. On September 14, he is driving along University Avenue in Berkeley when he sees this eastern girl hitchhiking near a bus stop. Aiko Koo is just fifteen years old and she is heading to a dance class in San Francisco. She seems older than her fifteen years and is anxiously waiting for a bus that is not coming; she is afraid of being late for her class. For her, dancing is something very serious, a vocation. Her Lithuanian mother, who lives modestly, deprives herself in order to pay for lessons for her daughter, who has already performed professionally, both in classical ballet and in traditional Korean styles. Aiko never knew her Korean father who abandoned them before she was born. Her mother works at the University of California Library.
Aiko is not used to hitchhiking and she doesn’t hesitate for a second to board the Ford Galaxie and sit in the front seat, next to the imposing driver. As for Mary Anne Pesce and Anita Luchessa, Kemper takes advantage of the complicated system of highway interchanges to disorient his passenger, before heading south along the coastal highway. When she realizes Kemper’s maneuvers, Aiko starts to scream and beg. He takes out a new model of firearm, a .357 Magnum, which he borrowed again from a friend, and presses the barrel in the teenager’s ribs. Kemper, who is left-handed, drives with this hand and uses the other to threaten Aiko with his weapon. He tries to calm her by swearing that he doesn’t want to harm her; in fact, he explains, he wants to kill himself and he’s just looking for someone to talk to. He leaves the highway for small mountain roads that he knows very well and drives on Bonny Doon Road, near Santa Cruz. He somehow manages to convince her to be tied and gagged.
“I just want a quiet place where we can tie you up and then we’ll go to my place,” he says. He turns off on Smith Grade Road, going slowly until he finds a turnoff where he can get away behind a tree, sheltered from the road and any traffic. He shuts off the lights and then the engine. He shoves the gun back under the front seat.
“There’s a roll of medical tape in my glove compartment. Hand it to me,” he says. She complies, handing him the small cardboard box. His hands shake as he tries to find the end of the roll.
“Now who’s nervous?” she says, laughing. He tears off a big chunk and holds it up. “My mouth’s not that big,” she says, so he tears off part of it and throws it aside before placing a patch over her mouth. “Move your jaws. See if you can loosen it,” he says, noting that it did not come unstuck. He presses the tape again to make certain.
“Hop in the back seat,” he instructs. She flips her leg up and rolls over the back of the seat and sits awaiting his next command. He pulls the rest of the tape off his fingers and gets out of the car and walks around to the passenger side. The door is locked.
He remembers the gun still under the front seat. She has him locked out and that gun within easy reach. He is dead. He begins frantically fishing in his pocket for his keys. Damn. Where are they?
The girl peers out at him through the window, shakes her head knowingly and reaches up and unlocks the door for him. He smiles weakly and flips the seat back forward and sits on it a moment.
She starts to resist when Kemper throws himself on her with all his weight, covering her mouth and nose with his hand. Aiko struggles with the energy of desperation, she even manages to grab his testicles, but he is too strong. He ends up strangling her before releasing his grip. To his surprise, Aiko is not dead and continues to fight. This time, he makes sure that she loses consciousness completely. Kemper takes her out of the car to rape her: “It didn’t take more than fifteen or twenty seconds before I had an orgasm.” He strangles her again with a scarf. The body is wrapped in a sheet and then stored in the trunk. Further down on Bonny Doon Road, he spots a small bar where he stops to drink two or three beers. Before entering the bar, he opens the trunk to examine Aiko Koo. He does it again after leaving the bar: “Both to check that she was really dead and also to savor my triumph, to admire my work and her beauty, a little like a fisherman happy with his catch.”
“First, I try to suffocate Aiko Koo by pinching her nostrils, but she struggles violently. I think I’ve managed to do it when she regains consciousness and realizes what’s going on. She panics. Finally, I strangle her with her neck warmer. After the murder, I’m exhausted, I’m hot and very thirsty. I stop at a bar to drink a few beers, while the body is still in the trunk of my car. I almost got caught by neighbors when I carried the corpse to my apartment. Dismembering the body required a meticulous job with a knife and an ax. It took me about four hours of work. Slicing limbs, getting rid of the blood, completely washing the bathtub and the bathroom.”
“I kill her on a Thursday night. The next morning, I call in sick at work. I dismember her body. On Friday night, I get rid of the corpse, keeping the head and hands, which are easily identifiable. Saturday morning, I leave home taking them with me. I’m looking for a safe place to bury them. It’s not easy to get rid of these things.” (This statement is crucial. Kemper doesn’t even realize what he just said. “It’s not easy to get rid of these things.” He talks about human beings by depersonalizing them. For him, and for the vast majority of serial killers, the victim is only an object. He has no remorse. Killing, maiming, cutting up a woman is a “normal” thing for Kemper.) Many times, I came close to getting caught burying bodies, and if a corpse is discovered, the witnesses can remember a car parked nearby. Saturday morning, I visit my psychiatrist in Fresno, and in the afternoon, I see the other one. Saturday night, I’m with my fiancee and her family in Turlock, and Sunday night I return home.”
After leaving the bar where he quenched his thirst, Kemper visited his mother at her home in Aptos to test himself and to enjoy the feeling of power he felt: “I talked to her for half an hour of things and stuff, just to pass the time, and to tell her what I had done in San Francisco. I wanted to see if she suspected anything by my facial expressions, involuntary gestures or words that would have escaped me. She suspected nothing and didn’t ask me any questions.” When he left, Kemper looked for the third time at Aiko Koo’s body in the trunk of the Ford Galaxy. “It was around 9:30 pm and I knew she was dead. I just wanted to touch her body to see which parts were still warm, and also just out of curiosity.”
It is 11 pm when he arrives at his apartment in Alameda. He drops Aiko’s body on his bed and searches her bag to get an idea of the life to which he has just put an end. He is disturbed by the fact that Aiko Koo doesn’t belong to this caste of “rich and haughty” California girls, which he claims to be attacking. To make sure of this, some time later, he drives past her modest family home. His disappointment is mitigated when he learns with surprise that Aiko Koo belongs to a family that has ancestry in the nobility. A little later in the night, he dissects her corpse. As Kemper says in his statements, he later goes to two Fresno psychiatrists to try to have his criminal record cleared, if he succeeds in passing the tests. Along the way, he throws pieces of Aiko Koo’s corpse into the mountains of Santa Cruz and, a little further away, her hands disappear into the wild. But he keeps her head in the trunk of his car. It’s still there when he shows up to his appointments with the two psychiatrists. The very idea excites him a lot, to the point that he opens the trunk to look at her head just before his appointments.
“The media made a big case about the stories of chopped heads in the trunk of my car. This happened to me only once, and even if I wanted to, it wasn’t possible. You know why? It was almost forty degrees in the valley, a real furnace and my car is not air-conditioned. I won’t ride with a severed head that will stink. As soon as I park, all the dogs and cats from the neighborhood will come to sniff my trunk. That day I took it with me because the owner of my apartment is always looking for trouble. So, when I leave for two or three days to stay at my mother’s or a friend’s house, what can I do? I can’t help but think she’s going to show up at my place to see if I don’t have any hash hiding somewhere. She’s going to open the fridge to see what’s in this paper bag, and come face to face with this severed head! (Kemper laughs.) But she’s not going to think of poking behind this large armchair in one of the corners of the living room, where I hide it for two days. Of course, I would have preferred to store it in the fridge to avoid bad smells. The kraft paper bag is hermetically sealed. Nobody found anything. Sunday night, it (the head) is already ripe. That same evening, my former probation officer comes to pay me a visit and the head is just behind him. (He hesitates a long time before speaking.) I did eat part of my third victim. I had cut pieces of flesh that I put in the freezer. Twenty-four hours after having dissected it, I cooked the flesh in a pan of macaroni with onions and cheese, like a carrion. A vulture or a bear. You know black blood? It’s non-oxygenated blood, we see it for a moment before it comes into contact with the air. After, the blood turns red. When in the body, the blood is black like tar. I ate a piece of leg that I had soaked in black blood for almost a day. And why did I do that? Having hunted animals in Montana, I was just pursuing an experiment in cannibalism. When you were a child, I’m sure you asked yourself this question: how would I react on a desert island, with three other people and without any food? If one of us is sick? All these come from stories of the Second World War. I had heard about it from former Marines. And then, in a way, I own my victim once again by eating her.”
Sources: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz by Stéphane Bourgoin, 1998, and Sacrifice Unto Me by Don West, 1974 / Thanks to MIEP for the photo of Aiko Koo
“The head trip fantasies were a bit like a trophy. You know the head’s where everything is at, the brain, eyes, mouth. That’s the person. I remember being told as a kid, you cut off the head and the body dies. The body is nothing after the head is cut off… well that’s not quite true. With a girl there’s a lot left in the girl’s body without a head. Of course, the personality is gone.”
Edmund Kemper about decapitating most of his victims
Artwork: Artist unknown (If you are the artist or know who it is, please let me know, and I will add the credit)
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
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.
Commenting that he was “trying to keep a light air here, rather than
being extremely serious,” Edmund E. Kemper III Wednesday told the Community Release
Board, “I don’t see a place for me in society ever again.”
At the second of his parole hearings, John Brooks, chairman of the
three-man panel, told the six-foot nine-inch murderer he is “unsuitable for
The release board hearings are conducted on the second floor of the
California Medical Facility, in a room with dark paneling and broad tables. The
proceedings are tape recorded and a court reporter also takes notes of the
Wednesday, someone had tied a small noose in the end of a venitian blind
cord across the room from where Kemper calmly sat in his blue denim prison
Kemper criticized the news media for interpreting his remarks at his
first, half-hearted parole hearing last year as meaning he does not want to be
released from state prison.
“I have tried the door, gentlemen, and I assure you all is secure,” he
told the release board last year, adding that the State of California has “more
than enough reason to keep me locked up for the rest of my life. I have to say
eight people are dead and I murdered them.”
At Wednesday’s hearing, Kemper seemed to show more interest in seeking
his own release from prison, but he appeared like a small boy in a candy store,
not only afraid to reach out and touch the candy, but also unwilling to admit
to himself or others that he wanted some.
“I literally sink my own boat and I do it quite frequently,” he said.
But he said the issue is not a matter of his not wanting to be released, it is
the fact that he believes he can find no place for himself in society. He said
he is a “maniac” in the eyes of society, and he believes he has 230 million
enemies in the United States and 5 billion beyond its borders.
“I might as well be on Mars,” he went on. “I don’t see a parole in my
future, so I’ve made no formal plans” for his life following release from
prison, which is a routine question asked by the board.
In addition to objecting to the presence of four reporters at his
hearing, Kemper also said the presence of a deputy district attorney and
investigator from Santa Cruz County turned what he interpreted as an “information
exchange” hearing into an adversary proceeding.
Prison psychologist R.J. Brooks advised the panel Kemper has “narcissistic
and schizo-typical personality disorders” and said he is constantly suspicious
of other people’s motives, as well as his own.
However, the psychologist said Kemper is learning to accept criticism
and made a difficult emotional decision in the past year which led to his
quitting the prison project making tapes of books for the blind, at which he
spent 3,600 volunteer hours during his incarceration.
Santa Cruz Deputy DA John Hopkins argued, however, that Kemper lacked a
basic understanding of the enormous atrocity of his crimes and seemed to “gloss”
over the events. Kemper’s victims were dismembered after they were brutally
Hopkins said Kemper’s crimes were “especially heinous and atrocious” and
they were committed in a “dispassionate and calculated manner, with no real
“He seems to gloss over things, despite his attention to minute detail,
and seems unable to really contemplate what underlies this” hearing, Hopkins said.
He is making every “effort to distract attention from what’s really been done.”
Kemper, on the other hand, said he has wasted 25 years of his life and
feels “an obligation to do something positive, not just sit here and cry for
After approximately 45 minutes of deliberation by the board, Brooks told
Kemper he is still “unsuitable for parole.” Adding that his murders were
extremely violent, including dismemberment and decapitation of his victims,
which showed “a total disregard for human dignity.”
Brooks said the board would follow his psychiatrist’s recommendation that he be held for “a long period of observation.”
“No parole for homicidal giant,” by James E. Reid, The Press Democrat, May 1st, 1980