Documenting the Co-Ed Killer case

Category: Mugshot

Ed Kemper – Most recent news

2024 will be an important year in the Ed Kemper case as a parole suitability hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 9. We don’t know yet if Kemper will be attending. 

In other news, according to an unverified source on Reddit who works at the California Medical Facility (CMF) and who has direct contact with Kemper, Kemper has been having health issues in the last year, severe enough for him to be taken out of prison on a code 3 emergency transport to an outside hospital. It happened in July 2023 and February 2024. When Kemper does go out to hospital, he’s always back after a few days and it’s always because of complications from his diabetes. Other than that, he is apparently doing fine. He doesn’t get around much but he spends many hours on his tablet to pass time. He is still part of the general population of the prison. 

Kemper isn’t bed ridden and as frail as people think. He is in a medical unit at the CMF for his severe diabetes, and has never been in the hospice. Kemper regularly uses a wheelchair but he can still walk. It is just more difficult due to neuropathy and other issues. The stroke he suffered in late 2015 early 2016 didn’t leave him paralyzed or cognitively disabled. 

According to the same source, Kemper spent over a year telling his life story and crimes to a journalist over phone calls and in person visits, for a new book and possible documentary (maybe the “This is Ed Kemper” project?). Kemper still likes to discuss his crimes but the staff at CMF doesn’t really engage him in those conversations. The source goes on to say that Kemper has no remorse or shame about what he did. After being imprisoned over 50 years, Kemper told the source’s coworker that there is nothing better than having intercourse with the neck of a decapitated girl because the trachea and vocal cords pull you in and that he recommends he try it one day. Kemper is very personable and can start and carry on a conversation with anybody, and everybody that interacts with him seems to feel totally safe around him and people often say that he’s harmless, which is obviously not true.

Kemper has been a model prisoner for most of his incarceration but did receive a disciplinary RVR a few years ago for grabbing a nurse’ butt. Kemper showed no remorse for this and his defense was “I couldn’t help myself and what are they going to do to me, I’m already in prison.” The incident happened as the nurse was changing Kemper’s diaper. His actions were perhaps sexually motivated in a context where most self-aware people would feel embarrassed. This might show that Kemper still has no self-control over his impulses. He’s never done this before so why now? Perhaps he is getting older and the gesture wasn’t meant to be harmful, but maybe the real Kemper just made a brief appearance as his health further declines and he no longer wants to control his urges and is no longer satisfied by the memories. Especially after spending the prior year reliving all of his crimes and the graphic details of what he did to his victims for a biography. 

Source: photo from “’Mind of a Monster: Ed Kemper “The Co-Ed Killer”, a podcast from Investigation Discovery / Reddit

New Ed Kemper mugshot

This never-seen-before mugshot of Ed Kemper is included in the trailer for “Mind of a Monster,” an Investigation Discovery podcast about the Kemper and Herbert Mullin cases. The first two episodes from a total of six are out now. This mugshot was probably taken in the last three years. 

The first episodes are interesting. In episode 1, Kemper’s younger sister, Allyn, in an exclusive 1973 interview with psychiatrist Donald T. Lunde, warns about how Kemper and their mother will clash when he returns to live in Santa Cruz with their mother when he is released from Atascadero in 1969. Allyn tells her mother: “Don’t get emotionally involved.” 

In episode 2, Kemper explains to psychiatrist Donald T. Lunde that he felt scared when committing his crimes, that he didn’t realize the seriousness of what he had done until after it was done, that he didn’t black out, and that “my sense of values were rather different.” 

Listen to the ‘Mind of a Monster: Ed Kemper “The Co-Ed Killer” vs Herbert Mullin‘ podcast.

Source: “’Mind of a Monster: Ed Kemper “The Co-Ed Killer”, a podcast from Investigation Discovery

“A real weirdo”

From an unsigned note from a Social Worker at Atascadero State Hospital, a maximum-security facility that houses mentally ill convicts, where Ed Kemper was imprisoned for five and a half years after killing his paternal grandparents on August 27, 1964:

“In February 1964, ward’s [Kemper’s] mother was allegedly drunk when she called ward’s father in the middle of the night and told him that ward was “A real weirdo” and that he was taking a chance in having ward stay with his [parents] and that he might be surprised if he awoke some morning to learn that they had been killed.”

This is a never-before-seen mugshot of Ed Kemper, at the time of his arrest following the murder of his grandparents.

Source: Murder Capital of the World, by Emerson Murray, 2021 https://www.emersonmurray.com/murder-capital-of-the-world / Mugshot: Atascadero State Hospital

1997 – Ed Kemper parole hearing

June 13, 1997 – Vacaville – No one thinks Edmund Kemper, an Aptos serial killer who haunted Santa Cruz in the early 1970s, should be paroled – including Kemper.

Kemper, 49, refused to attend his parole hearing Thursday but he directed his appointed attorney to read a short statement. “The severity of my commitment offenses, I believe, preclude my release at this time,” read Marcia Hurst.

A three-member panel from the state Board of Prison Terms agreed with Kemper, saying he remains a threat to society.

“Mr. Kemper terrorized Northern California,” said Commissioner Carol Bentley at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville. “He poses an unreasonable risk to the public.”

Since 1988, this is the third consecutive time Kemper, who has diabetes, has declined to appear before a parole board [he had also declined in March 1991 and June 1994], and he has repeatedly stated that he does not believe he should be freed. In fact in the late 1970s, he twice tried unsuccessfully to get state doctors  to perform psychosurgery on him – similar to a lobotomy – claiming surgery may be the only way to squelch his urge to kill.

Assistant District Attorney Bob Lee represented Santa Cruz County at the hearing and recalled Kemper’s “absolutely shocking, violent, depraved acts.”

“I was a 12-year-old boy at the time and I remember instead of having a monster in our dreams we had him in real life,” Lee told the parole board.

Kemper, who attempted suicide four times before and during his trial, testified that he killed his mother because he didn’t want her to think he was the serial killer being reported in all the news accounts.

According to the parole board, Kemper has been a model prisoner at Vacaville. He works in the library and has had no disciplinary action taken against him in the last 23 years. However, no one wrote a letter to the parole board or came forward Thursday to say he should be released. His next parole hearing is in 2002.

Source: “Mass murderer denied parole for third time”, Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 13, 1997, by Robert Gammon, Sentinel Staff Writer

Ed Kemper’s Christmas in 1963

On Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November) 1963, as Ed was not yet fifteen, he borrowed his mother’s car, without her permission, drove it to Butte, Montana. From there, he got on a bus and returned to Los Angeles and Dad. The father should understand, he felt, that it was his duty to support his natural son rather than his stepson. To Edmund’s joy, his father agreed to let him live with him. There followed a brief happy period which, in itself, was such a novelty that it scarcely surprised him when it came to a sudden ending.

During the Christmas holidays, Kemper Sr. took his son to visit his parents, who owned an isolated farm at North Fork, a small town in the foothills of the magnificent Sierra Mountain range. But the pastoral beauties of the place were lost on the teenage boy. For him, the farm came to seem like a prison or an old folks’ home and he felt bitterly betrayed when his father announced to him for the second time in less than three months that he was not going to return to Los Angeles at the end of the Christmas holidays.

Clarnell had spoken to her ex-husband on the phone to tell him about the Siamese cat episode (Kemper had killed the family cat and hid it in his closet). She warned him:

This Guy (Ed Kemper’s family nickname) is a really funny bird. And you’re taking a risk by leaving him with your parents. You may be surprised to wake up one morning to learn that they have been killed.

Eight months later, in August 1964, Ed Kemper would shoot both his grandparents to death.

When we examine Ed Kemper’s existence, it is interesting to note how crucial the holiday periods were: Thanksgiving & Christmas 1963, and Easter 1973. For someone like him, who felt rejected by his loved ones and by society, these moments of celebration could be extremely difficult and stressful times.

Sources: L’Ogre de Santa Cruz (Stéphane Bourgoin, 1998) / The Coed Killer (Margaret Cheney, 1976) / 1973 Ed Kemper mugshot

Ed Kemper mugshot – November 1973

This mugshot of Kemper is often thought to have been taken in 1964 when he was arrested for the murder of his grandparents. But if you look closely at the board in front of Kemper, the date is November 9, 1973. That is the day he was sentenced to eight life prison terms for the murder of six coeds, his mother and her best friend.

Ed Kemper mugshot – April 1973

This is probably one of the most famous pictures of Ed Kemper. This mugshot was taken on April 28, 1973, when he arrived in Santa Cruz, California, escorted by police after his arrest three days earlier in Pueblo, Colorado, where he had given himself up to local police, after the murders of his mother and her best friend.

Source: Wikimedia Commons