Edmund Emil Kemper III is an American serial killer who was active in the early 1970s in Santa Cruz, California. He is known to have murdered ten people, including his paternal grandparents and his mother. He is currently serving eight life sentences at the California Medical Facility (CMF) in Vacaville, where he is considered a model prisoner.
Born on December 18, 1948, in Burbank, California, Edmund Emil Kemper III had a disturbed childhood. After his parents’ divorce, he moved to Montana with his abusive mother at a young age before returning to California, where he murdered his paternal grandparents when he was 15. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic by court psychiatrists and sentenced to the Atascadero State Hospital as a criminally insane juvenile.
Released at the age of 21 after convincing psychiatrists he was rehabilitated, Kemper was regarded as non-threatening by his victims. He targeted young female hitchhikers during his killing spree, luring them into his vehicle and driving them to secluded areas where he would murder them before taking their corpses back to his home to be decapitated, dismembered and violated. Kemper then murdered his mother and one of her friends before turning himself in to the authorities.
Found sane and guilty at his trial in 1973, he requested the death penalty for his crimes. However, capital punishment was suspended in California at the time, and he instead received eight life sentences. He has waived his right to a parole hearing several times and has said he is “happy” in prison.
Edmund Kemper’s 10 known victims:
- Maude M. Hughey Kemper – August 27, 1964 (paternal grandmother)
- Edmund Emil Kemper, Sr. – August 27, 1964 (paternal grandfather)
- Mary Anne Pesce – May 7, 1972 (co-ed student)
- Anita Luchessa – May 7, 1972 (co-ed student)
- Aiko Koo – September 14, 1972 (co-ed student)
- Cindy Schall – January 8, 1973 (co-ed student)
- Rosalind Thorpe – February 5, 1973 (co-ed student)
- Alice Liu – February 5, 1973 (co-ed student)
- Clarnell Strandberg – April 21, 1973 (mother)
- Sally Hallett – April 21, 1973 (mother’s friend)
Periods of murders: 1964 and 1972-1973
Date of arrest: April 24, 1973 (he surrendered to the police)
Modus operandi: Strangulation & Choking – Shooting – Stabbing – Hitting with a hammer
Signature: Decapitation – Necrophilia – Cannibalism – Dismemberment
His advantages as a murderer were that he is highly intelligent (IQ of 145), very tall (6’9”), big (approximately 300 pounds) and strong (he could lift 100-pound sacks of cement with his arms held out straight from his shoulders). He was also good at handling weapons (guns, knives). He was an organized killer.
His serial killer nicknames are “The Co-ed Killer”, “The Co-ed Butcher”, “The Santa Cruz Ogre”, and “Ogre of Aptos.”
He is also known as Edmund Kemper, Ed Kemper, Guy Kemper (family nickname), and Big Ed (friends and colleagues nickname).