Edmund Kemper - The Coed Killer


kemper2.jpg (4257 bytes)

Edmund Kemper the 25-year-old ‘coed killer’ terrorized Santa Cruz County, California.  Kemper had an IQ of 136 signifying ‘superior intelligence’, and also was six foot nine.

Kemper displayed sadistic tendencies at an early age, and fantasized about death.  At the age of 10 he developed a liking for torturing animals and despite his size, was psychologically unable to stand up to other children’s jibes and games.  His mother usually locked him up in the basement and paid no attention to him.

Eventually at the age of 15 he was sent to stay on a farm with his grandparents.  His mother had disapproved of the idea by saying that the boy was ‘a real weirdo’ and likely to kill someone.  On 27 August 1964 he took a 22. rifle, raised it to his grandmother’s head and pulled the trigger.  He said afterwards, ‘I just wondered how it would feel to shoot grandma.’ He then shot his grandfather, and telephoned his mother telling her that both were dead.

Kemper was sent to Atascadero State Hospital for treatment in December 1964, having been judged insane.  He was released into the care of the California Youth Authority in 1969, and against the advice of the hospital, was sent to live with his mother at Santa Cruz.  He took labouring jobs, bought a car and began a collection of knives and guns.  He also took an interest in the girl student population, the so-called coeds, at the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California.

He roamed the highways, stopping to give girl hitchhikers lifts in his car.  During the years of 1970-1 he claimed to have given lifts to some 150 girls.  It was all part of a plan which he began to put into operation in 1972, when coeds began to disappear. There was panic when the mutilated remains of an 18-year-old girl were found, and murder was added to the list of disappearances, rapes and assaults.

In April 1973 Edmund Kemper calmly phoned the police and told them who he was, he told them of how he killed the six coeds; the police knew Kemper and thought he was joking around, but when he gave them the graphic descriptions of the murders they knew that he must be the killer.  After giving himself up Kemper admitted to murder, mutilation, necrophilia, cannibalism and sadism.  He also gave the police details of dissection, decapitation and burial.  He attempted sexual intercourse in some instances on the dead bodies, and admitted sexual excitement at the act of decapitation.   Kemper had earlier killed his mother with blows from a hammer and had choked her friend, later decapitating her body.  After he murdered his mother and her friend, he played darts withs his mothers head and when he threw her friends vocal cord into the garbage disposal unit it got jammed and was spewed back into his face.

He was arraigned at Santa Cruz in April 1973 on eight counts of first-degree murder.  Kemper, who had said of his victims, ‘They were dead and I was alive.  That was the victory in my case,’ asked for the death penalty, but the court sentenced him to imprisonment for life.



Go Back


Modus Operandi - Serial Killers