Kemper's childhood was rough. He was a
6'4" socially awkward teen at the age of 15.
His parents got divorced when he was 9
years old. When he was 13 years old he
buried alive his pet cat, dug it
up, decapitated it, put its head on a stick
and its body in his bedroom closet. His
mother treated him badly and attacked his
man hood and self-esteem. She was always
on his case and scolding him everywhere he
went. She was considered a bitter woman.
He'd grown frustrated and angry, and later
described himself as a "walking time bomb."
He ran away to his father's, who already
moved on with another family, and was
rejected and sent back home to his mother's
house. She then sent him to his father's
grandparents in San Jose, California. He was
around 15 years old, when he took his .22
caliber rifle, that his grandfather gave his
last year, and shot his grandmother in the
head, and 2 times in the back. He then
stabbed her repeatedly, 3 times in the back.
She was arguing with him at the time and he
lashed out with the rage he kept inside from
his mother. He said he murdered her just to
see how it would feel to "kill grandma". He
drug his grandmother up into her room. His
grandfather had arrived home and before he
could even go inside, Kemper shot him from
the window. He then drug his grandfather
into the room also. He called his mother and
confessed what he had done, and waited on
the porch step to be taken into custody.
Kemper was sent for psychiatric testing and diagnosed as having
paranoid schizophrenia. He was also found to have a neargenius IQ. Instead of staying at a facility operated by the Youth
Authority, he ended up at the secure Atascadero State Hospital
for the Criminally Insane. He was released on his 21st birthday.
He was 6'9" and nearly 300 pounds. When released by the
parole board from Atascadero in 1969, the psychiatrists had
advised that Kemper not be returned to Clarnell (his
mother), because it could trigger more violence. But Kemper did
move in with Clarnell and she took up attacking him again. As
part of his parole requirements, Kemper went to a community
college and did well, but he hoped to get into the police
academy one day. When he learned that he was too tall, his
consolation was to hang out in the jury room where the police
gathered and listen to their stories. He got several different jobs
and finally ended up with the California Highway Department.
Kemper's motive was that he loved having
possession and complete control over women.
His mother's berating has ruined his self-esteem
and he felt dominating women and taking the
heads off of them was intoxicating, like a
drug, to him.
Edmund Kemper and his mother, Clarnell
Strandberg did not have a healthy family
relationship. Clarnell always screamed and
yelled at Edmund, putting down his self-esteem.
This mad Edmund resent women. He was
disowned by his own father, when his parents
Kemper would pray on young female college students that hitchhiked
their way to school. He would pick them up, take them to a deserted road
and murder them (stabbing, shooting, suffocating, slitting their
throats, and raping, etc). He would then bring them home to his mothers
house. He would dismember each body of the victim he murder.
Sometimes he would have sexual intercourse with the heads and bodies
of the victims and sometimes he would eat parts of them. After
dismembering, he would take pictures and he would then take the body
parts and spread them all over Santa Cruz. He eventually murdered his
mother and invited her best friend over to murder her as well. Both had
been decapitated and raped then stuffed into his mother's closet in her
duplex. His mother's friend had been battered and apparently used for
dart practice. Her tongue and larynx were chopped up, having been
placed in the garbage disposal, which had spit them back out.
During the early 1970s, when the murders began, townspeople were
already torn over the "hippies" moving in, thanks in part to the
University of California opening a new campus there. Young people
flooded in, and not all of them were what residents called "desirable."
PROFILES OF VICTIMS
April 20, 1972
Maude M. Hughey Kemper
August 24, 1964
Kemper's victims were all female. There wasn't really a
specific age. The majority was young female who were
hitchhiking to their colleges. No specific
heights, weights, hair color, race, etc.
Edmund Emil Kemper, Sr.
August 24, 1964
January 8, 1973
Mary Anne Pesce
May 7, 1972
February 5, 1973
May 7, 1972
February 5, 1973
September 14, 1972
April 20, 1972
HOW HE WAS CAUGHT
The factors that led up to Kemper getting caught was Kemper calling the
police and turning himself in. He called, yet the cops didn't believe at first
it was a honest call, and told them the exact places where he hid or
buried the body parts of the victims. When one police officer actually
checked the home of Edmund Kemper's mother, the officer found the
decaying bodies in the closet. They also did checks on the places Edmund
mentioned and found the bones and body parts of the victims. Edmund
was then taken into custody again.
On November 8, the jury find Kemper sane and guilty of eight counts of
first-degree murder. Kemper hoped to receive the death penalty, but he
was convicted during a time when the Supreme Court had placed a
moratorium on capital punishment and all death sentences were
commuted to life imprisonment. The judge asked him what he thought his
punishment should be. He told the judge that he believed he should be
tortured to death. Instead, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He
was sent first to the California Medical Facility State Prison at Vacaville
, north of San Francisco , for observation, and ended up at the maximum
security prison at Folsom.
Being handcuffed, Edmund Kemper in on trial. He was given a life sentence. In 1977 Kemper
filed a petition with the state to allow him to receive what he called “psycho surgery” to make
him stop wanting to kill people.
MONSTER OR VICTIMS
1. Why are serial killers so difficult to
Serial killers are hard to spot/find
because people believe they are the
weird, creepy person on the streets
talking to themselves and are aggressive.
In reality, serial killers are the opposite.
They are the charming, the welldressed, and polite people. They blend
with the average day people. Like all
evolved predators, they know how to
stalk their victims by gaining their trust.
Serial killers show emotions but
instead, they hide behind a carefully
constructed fake smile. They are very
2.Explain four childhood events that seem to
contribute to the development of a serial killer.
The four childhood events that seem to contribute
to the development of a serial killer are: AdoptionThe biological parents may have left their child with
deviant genes. Also finding out that one was
adopted may also undermine the sense of identity
in a fragile youth, and make the child prone to
fantasizing an identity of his "true" parents, either
good or bad. Witnessing Violence- Some
murderers claim that exposure to violent events
starts their craving for murders. Juvenile DetentionPunishments in the reform schools were evil and
sadistic and it twisted the minds of the mentally
unstable and made them have rage and anger
towards people. Peer Rejection- As isolation grows
more severe, the reliance on fantasies, especially
destructive ones, can grow. These fantasies of
violence often reveal themselves through two of
the three "triads" of predicting criminal
behavior, fire starting and animal cruelty.
MONSTER OR VICTIMS
3. What are the most surprising pieces of
information you learned from doing
this web quest?
The most surprising pieces of
information I learned from doing this
web quest were that looks can be
deceiving and that people are always
who they seem to be. Serial killers are
hard to find. They blend in with the
norm of society today. It is sick to know a
human being can do something as
murder or kill another human being.