Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: Family (Page 1 of 4)

Kemper victims’ manner of death

After Ed Kemper was imprisoned for life in 1973, some crime magazines published articles revisiting Kemper’s case in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These articles portrayed Kemper as a serial killer who used a power saw or a buzz saw to murder his victims, which is far from the truth. But a bit of research revealed that there is a link to the use of saws in Cindy Schall’s murder case: after finding the different parts of her body in different locations in and around Santa Cruz, police and a pathologist determined she had been sawed into pieces with a power saw.

Ed Kemper mainly used firearms, knives and strangulation as his murder weapons. 

He shot to death both his paternal grandparents, Maude Matilda (Hughey) Kemper and Edmund Emil Kemper Sr. on their ranch on August 27, 1964 with a rifle given to him by his grandfather. Kemper also stabbed his grandmother post-mortem. 

Mary Ann Pesce and Anita Luchessa were both murdered by Kemper on May 7, 1972. Pesce was stabbed with a knife and strangled to death in the backseat of Kemper’s car. Luchessa was killed in the trunk of the car in a similar manner. 

Aiko Koo was choked to death by Kemper on the evening of September 14, 1972 right next to his car on a secluded road. He also raped her while she was unconscious. 

Cindy Schall was fatally shot in the head by Kemper with a .22 caliber pistol in the trunk of his car on January 7, 1973. 

On February 5, 1973, Kemper first fatally shot Rosalind Thorpe in the head and then Alice Liu with his pistol in his car while driving on the UCSC campus. Kemper shot Liu several times, including twice in the head.

In the early hours on April 20, 1973, Kemper snuck into his mother Clarnell Strandberg’s bedroom to bludgeon her with a claw hammer and slit her throat with a penknife. 

On the evening of April 20, 1973, Kemper murdered his mother’s best friend, Sally Hallett, by strangling her to death with his arm in his mother’s apartment. 

Source: article “I’ll Show You Where I Buried The Pieces of Their Bodies”, Inside Detective, by Hugh Stephens, August 1973

“I am going to be neuter for the rest of my life”

In this excerpt from his May 1979 parole hearing, Ed Kemper discusses managing violence as well as his sexuality in prison.

INMATE KEMPER: “I don’t want to start a precedent at being a second-time released multiple murderer. I have absolutely no plans of ever hurting anybody again in my life. 

To do that is to circumvent and call a failure and a lie everything positive I’ve done the last six years.

I told staff when I came here [at Vacaville], I will not hurt anybody again. I don’t want to hurt anybody again.

They told me I was unrealistic; they told me that was impossible because of my size. That would be one problem with inmates here. Another problem would be my crime. And between the two of them combined, it was impossible for me to stay out of violent encounters either as a victim or as an aggressor.

I have not hit anybody since I’ve been here. I may have been struck since I’ve come here, but there has not been a fight, and I’ve not been locked down because of being struck.

I don’t see that as a defeat of the projections of the CDC staff; I see that as them looking at things very stereotypedly.

If I had no control over my life whatsoever, or what some things I do have a chance of ghanging, then I could agree with them. But if I did agree with them back then, then I’d still be pushing a broom down in the hole — feeling lucky.

I’ve done some tremendously nice things since then for other people. I don’t live luxuriously in here. My cell is rather — I have it equipped for doing the things that I enjoy doing, but it is rather austere. There’s nothing ornate about it; there’s nothing really comfortable about it. And I don’t lounge around in the yard. I do not have a homosexual queen in this place — which isn’t a condemnation of people around here doing that. There is no sexual provision for me for the rest of my life as best I can tell.

The only alternate to that would be a family visiting-type thing — the trailer visits here — and the only eligibility I have for that would be for my sisters. And I don’t really see them as volunteering for that kind of behavior — you know, getting into the trailers and spending a night or two. And I can’t condemn them for that. So, I have to resolve the fact that I am going to be neuter for the rest of my life.”

Sources: May 1st, 1979 Ed Kemper parole hearing / Photo @Joey Tranchina

New picture of Ed Kemper as a child

This photo of Ed Kemper when he was a young boy appears in the First Blood documentary series from 2022. The second photo shows Kemper’s unblurred face. This is the first photo we have found of Kemper at a very young age.

A&E’s First Blood examines some of America’s most notorious serial killers through the prism of their first known kills to reveal what drove them to the moment when violent fantasy and curiosity became a devastating reality.

Source: First Blood documentary series (2022, episode 5)

Susan Hughey Kemper’s wedding

Frontier Town Chapel Scene of Susan Hughey Kemper Irving R. Swanson Wedding

The chapel at Frontier Town was the setting for the wedding of Susan Hughey Kemper and Irving R. Swanson. Standards of white chrysanthemums and pink gladioli, tied with pink ribbon, decorated the sanctuary. The Rev. Roland S. Rasar officiated at the double ring rites in the presence of 30 relatives of the couple.

The bride is the daughter of Mrs. Edmund Emil Kemper, Jr., of Helena and Edmund Emil Kemper Jr., of North Hollywood, Calif. Her husband is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick E. Swanson of Big Timber.

Escorted by Brother

Given in marriage by her brother, [Ed] Guy Kemper, the bride wore a street-length, white sheath dress styled with scoop neckline and full, lace overskirt attached at the waistline with two pearls. She wore matching lace mitts, gathered at the wrist with seed pearls, and carried a white Bible topped with baby pink roses and shattered carnations tied with white streamers.

The bride’s shoulder-length veil of silk illusion cascaded from a circlet of pearls. Her jewelry, a single pearl pendant, was a gift of the bridegroom.

Sharon McDowell was maid of honor. Her gown of blue was similar in design to the one worn by the bride. She chose dyed-to-match shoes and a small pink headpiece of flowers and veiling. She carried pink carnations tied with white lace.

Mrs. Kemper chose a navy-blue shantung dress with peplum for her daughter’s wedding. The mother of the bridegroom chose an emerald green satin sheath dress. Each wore pink accessories and a pink corsage of roses and carnations.

Ray Swanson acted as best man for his brother. Harvey Jung, cousin of the bride, seated the guests.

Antique Organ

Mrs. Tate Peek played traditional nuptial music on the chapel’s antique organ before and during the ceremony. Two candelabra, holding white candles decorated with sprays of lily-of-the-valley and white streamers, decorated the table for a reception dinner in the Frontier Town dining room.

The five-tier wedding cake, decorated with white roses and white bells, was topped by two white satin bells ringed with pearls and shot with tulle. Elnora Jung, aunt of the bride, cut and served the cake. Sylvia Newburn of New York had charge of the guest book and assisted Mrs. Jung with the gifts.

Reside in Bozeman

Since returning from a wedding trip to Glacier Park, the newlyweds reside in Bozeman, where the bridegroom is employed by Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co. He is a Navy veteran.

For traveling, the bride chose a navy blue and white suit with navy blue cummerbund, blue jewelry, white accessories and a red corsage.

The bride, who attended North Hollywood High School and Helena High School, was employed at St. Peter’s Hospital prior to her marriage.

Wedding guests included Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Swanson, Michael and Cherie, and Mr. and Mrs. Duane Kirkpatrick, Douglas and David, all of Livingston. Swanson and Mrs. Kirkpatrick are a brother and sister of the bride-groom.

Prior to her marriage, the bride was honored at a miscellaneous shower given by Miss McDowell at the home of Mrs. Jung.

Source: The Independent Record, Helena, Montana, Sunday, July 23, 1961

“He would notice a girl and really stare, not just look or glance.”

Susan Swanson, Ed Kemper’s older sister

Ed Kemper and his older sister Susan Swanson discussed the Santa Cruz murders and Herbert Mullin in April 1973 before Kemper’s arrest: “Guy [Kemper’s nickname] and I discussed them one day when mom and I went to the university to borrow a movie projector so I could show a movie I had brought from home [in Montana]. There was something said about Mullin firing his attorney because he had long hair, and I asked Guy if he thought Mullin had done the co-ed slayings too. He said he didn’t because none of them were similar in any way to how his victims had been shot–then the subject was dropped. The first weekend I was there, Guy went to Turlock and picked up [Kemper’s fiancée] and brought her to mom’s. We went to San Francisco that weekend Mom, I, [Kemper’s fiancée], and Guy, and along the road he mentioned that down there, pointing to the right, was where they had found two girls propped up against something I don’t remember the exact area. We drove along the coast highway, but this was a hilly section inland, just a bit. I believe it was just south of San Jose. Another time, I commented on the girls hitchhiking and mentioned they weren’t too bright, considering what happened and the particular ones I mentioned were really dressed shabby. He said it was strange because some of the co-eds killed were very attractive girls, not hippie looking at all. I think this was mentioned at the same time the conversation about Mullin was discussed on the way to the university. The subject changed. He didn’t say or do anything strange or comment any more than anyone might comment because of what had been happening.”

“One day when we were driving from Aptos along the beach toward Santa Cruz, just sightseeing, [Kemper] pointed off toward the beach and mentioned that a girl’s head was washed up along there -no more was said, and he brought it up.”

“Several times while we were riding around while I was there he would notice a girl and really stare, not just look or glance, and I teased him that he’d better get out of that habit when he gets married or [Kemper’s fiancée] would sure get jealous. He said she’s used to it or something along that line and most of these girls were dark skinned, possibly Mexican heritage, with black hair and medium build, tending toward heavy. He also commented that he sure likes those big butts- again I just passed it off and went on to other talk.”

Source: Book “Murder Capital of the World” by Emerson Murray, 2021 / Photo: Yearbook, University of Southern California, 1964

“As far back as I can remember, Guy has wanted to be by himself.”

When Ed Kemper was arrested in August 1964 after murdering his grandparents, his mother, Clarnell Strandberg, and his older sister, Susan Swanson, were interviewed by doctors and social workers from the Atascadero State Hospital where Kemper was imprisoned for the next five years.

Clarnell Strandberg: “She [Kemper’s older sister, Susan] was always responsible for and protective of Guy [Kemper’s nickname] while I worked. Sometimes protected him from my discipline out of misguided love. He and Sue were close until she began to mature and then Allyn, my fourteen-year-old daughter and he had a close relationship-however his needs were building and hers were normal and gregarious and outgoing and she had friends he resented.”

Susan Swanson: “As far back as I can remember, Guy has wanted to be by himself, he has seemed to be happier when there was only family. He never seemed too interested in participating in activities with other children. We seemed fairly close at times, but if something didn’t go Guy’s way he would get awfully mad, not as if he were spoiled and throwing a tantrum but mad at everyone… All kinds of things would bother him, like the way my kids would cry or when my little girl would be drooling or spitting I would never hear the end of it from Guy. Sounds of a constant coughing or crying or heavy breathing would really upset him.”

Source (text and photo): Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021 

“I missed all this by forty hours.”

Susan Swanson

Some time in March 1973, Ed [Guy] Kemper and his mother went off-roading in a jeep and Clarnell injured her shoulder. Kemper’s sister, Susan Swanson, came and stayed with Kemper and his mother on April 1:

“A little vacation and also it would be a good time to go down and help mom with her stuff that she couldn’t handle with her broken shoulder. So, it was kind of a two-way visit. So, I went down the first of April and I came home on the 19th. In fact, I missed all this by forty hours, which was very shattering to me. It was a beautiful nineteen days. [Kemper killed his mother on April 21st]. During the days, Guy would sleep an awful lot, he would get up maybe at noon or two o’clock. Either that, or I understood him to be going off with friends during the day, like target practicing or something. He might leave oh, around noon or something and come back around dinner time or whatever. Some days, he’d just kind of hang around the house or be gone for a couple of hours and then he and I would do things during the day. I would take mom to school to work and then I’d come back and kind of clean up the apartment while Guy was asleep and then when he’d wake up we’d either go do something or he’d go do something and I would just, you know, drive around or sightsee, or whatever. In the evening, I would pick mom up from school and Guy most always was gone in the evening. He would go to the Jury Room a lot or go to the show, or… as far as the accuracy, whether he was really there or not, I don’t know; but he was gone in the evenings a lot, and would get home quite late- two or three in the morning. And he drank quite a bit, of beer. For breakfast, he had two large cans of beer and he seemed to be able to hold beer quite well. I mean, it would take quite a bit before you would notice any signs that he had been drinking. I never saw him drunk. I never saw him staggering. I never saw him slurring his speech or anything.

“I’ve never taken lessons in judo or karate, but I have picked up a few little things, I’m fascinated with the tournaments, watching the art. I wanted to show [Kemper] this new throw that I had just picked up on television. Well, being 6’9″, or whatever, I’m 6’1″, or 6’1/2” myself, and not any weakling, and I was going to show him how the throw goes and I couldn’t even waver him on his feet and he says, he’s standing there with his hands on his hips saying, “What are you doing? What are you trying to do?”

“I said, “Oh, I’m going to throw you.” You know. We clowned around and made little fake karate chops and say, if I came around a corner or something and he was coming around at the same time, kind of like a surprise, not to surprise each other, but just bumping into each other coming around the corner, we’d go POW POW, and a few little phony karate things and the most scary thing right now is he would make a motion like he, with his hands in a karate chop, had lapped off my head and then held his hands out like he caught it. And laughed. And I would laugh. Because it seemed so funny, you know, this karate business, ho ho, and we were just playing around with it all the time. And this motion especially now, just this WHAP, and make his hands like he’s catching my head–and I’d laugh. I can’t believe this now.”

Source: Murder Capital of the World by Emerson Murray, 2021 / Photo: Ancestry, Yearbook, University of Southern California, 1963

Ed Kemper’s birth certificate

This is Ed Kemper’s official birth certificate. It contains several interesting pieces of information about Kemper’s coming into this world:

Edmund Emil Kemper III was born on December 18, 1948 at 11:04 PM at the St-Joseph Hospital in Burbank, California.

At the time of Kemper’s birth, his family was living at 6706 ½ Camellia Avenue in North Hollywood, California. 

Kemper’s parents, Clarnell Elizabeth Stage and Edmund Emil Kemper Jr., were respectively 27 and 29 years old when Kemper was born. 

There were no complications during pregnancy and labor, but delivery did require an operation: an episiotomy and repair (opening of the vagina a bit wider by a cut in the area between the vagina and anus (perineum), allowing the baby to come through it more easily).  

Source: Ancestry

“I was very grateful when I bore Guy.”

“I was very grateful when I bore Guy, to have been given a son – always felt strongly about it. The father never wanted any of them [the three Kemper children] in a planned sense. He always felt we couldn’t afford it and here they are today and he still can’t afford it, and love is actually quite inexpensive.”

clarnell strandberg in 1964 during an interview with specialists at atascadero when ed kemper was arrested for murdering his grandparents

Source: Murder Capital of the World, by Emerson Murray, 2021

“We called him Guy.”

Ed Kemper’s younger sister, Allyn, explained in 1973 why he was nicknamed Guy by members of his family:

“We called him [Kemper] Guy. He had that nickname ever since he was little. He had this little sun suit that said “Little Guy” on it, and we just called him Guy ever since then.”

Source: Murder Capital of the World, by Emerson Murray, 2021 / Photo: Pete Amos

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