As a sex-starved young man in what should have been a peak of his virility, Ed Kemper was sexually and socially so uncertain of himself that he began to prey on hitchhiking coeds, not as a rapist, but as a murderer and necrophiliac.
“At first I picked up girls just to talk to them, just to try to get acquainted with people my own age and try to strike up a friendship,” he had told investigators. Then he began to have sex fantasies about the girls he picked up hitchhiking, but feared being caught and convicted as a rapist So, he said: “I decided to mix the two and have a situation of rape and murder and no witnesses and no prosecution.”
Kemper’s first two victims were 18-year-old Fresno State college coeds, Mary Anne Pesce and Anita Luchessa whom he stabbed to death May 7, 1972, after he picked them up in Berkeley.
Source: Front Page Detective Magazine, March 1974, interview by Marj von Beroldingen
“I look at the wreckage behind me, the dead people caused by my self-indulgence in fantasy life and then my self-indulgence in not doing something about it—getting help, or taking action against myself, even.”
— Edmund Kemper (press photo taken the day of his arrest, courtesy of Ed Kemper Chronicles)
Ed Kemper tried twice, in 1976 and 1977, to ask a court to allow him to undergo psychosurgery in prison to curb his violent tendencies.
He was denied both times, as state prison officials found the procedure too risky. They also considered that Kemper presented no specific mental disorder warranting medical treatment in the form of psychosurgery.
Kemper had been writing to Dr. Hunter Brown of Santa Monica, who had persuaded him the operation could cure his violent tendencies. Brown had reportedly performed nearly 300 psychosurgery operations. Brown had offered Kemper to operate him free of charge. Also, an unnamed person had donated $4,600 to cover costs of guards and hospitalization at Santa Monica Hospital for Kemper.
In 2019, psychosurgery is still considered dangerous and unproven. It was probably best that the operation never went through for Ed. He is highly intelligent and has contributed in an important way to the study of serial killers with his testimony. Maybe that would not have been possible if he had been operated. I guess Ed was desperately trying to find a way to appease his tormented mind, but the denials forced him to take the long and difficult road of having to learn to live with himself and what he has done.
A few articles from the 1970s where Dr. Hunter Brown is cited:
“I’ve killed you” Kemper told him. “I’ve killed everybody I’ve ever met in my mind.”
−Ed Kemper to film director Leonard Schrader when he was interviewed from prison for the documentary The Killing of America in 1981.
“I was losing a grasp on something that was too violent to keep inside forever.”
−Edmund Kemper on the development of his homicidal urges.