Edmund Kemper is a convicted serial killer from Burbank, California. Known as a clinical psychopath and necrophile, he was dubbed “The Co-Ed Killer,” as he focused primarily on young women who were college students in the Santa Cruz area. If you have heard of him, you may be a true crime enthusiast or it may be from the Mindhunter (currently on Netflix) character based on the serial killer interviewed by FBI profilers.
The series Mindhunter is based on the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by special agent John Douglas, who spent hours interviewing Kemper in prison, per A & E. Though not as prolific as Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer, he remains particularly notorious due to the especially horrifying nature of his crimes.
The Beginnings of a Serial Killer
With a background of familial child abuse, Edmund Emil Kemper started torturing and killing animals early on. At fifteen years old he shot his grandmother in the head to see what it felt like. Then he shot his grandfather because he thought he’d be mad at him for killing his grandma. Psychotic? Most definitely. After murdering his paternal grandparents, Ed Kemper spent time in and out of mental facilities such as Atascadero State Hospital for the criminally insane. After five years of treatment, his juvenile criminal record was expunged.
But by the age of 24, he murdered ten women, including his mother. Between 1972 and 1973 the California native started picking up young women to kill. His victims Mary Ann Pesce, Anita Luchessa, and Aiko Koo were young female hitchhikers. Cindy Schall, Allison Liu, and Rosalind Thorpe were college students that he murdered in a rural area. The serial killer hid the bodies in his trunk and then took their bodies to his mother’s house where he would dismember their body parts and practice necrophilia by having sex with their heads. He confessed to burying one of the girls in his mother’s garden because she “always wanted people to look up to her.” Another was put down into the garbage disposal.
Ed Kemper’s Horrifying Confession
In between kills he starting hanging out at Jury Room, a bar where law enforcement officers congregated. He befriended police officers; they called him “Big Ed” or “Big Eddie”. On Good Friday 1973, Edmund killed his mother, Clarnell Strandberg. She’d returned from a party late and Kemper killed her in her sleep with a claw hammer. Unfazed, Kemper went out for a drink and invited his mom’s best friend “Sally” Hallett over for dinner and proceeded to strangle her. Thus ended his murder spree.
Kemper called local law enforcement and told them what he had done. In addition to his actual crimes, he also confessed to practicing cannibalism upon his victims, which he later recanted. He fled to Colorado even though the police officers that knew him were skeptical of the confession. In May 1973, he was indicted on eight first-degree murders and he is currently serving eight concurrent life sentences. He was incarcerated at the California Medical Facility alongside the likes of Herbert Mullin and Charles Manson.
The Murderer Who Read Audiobooks
In his free time during imprisonment, he has taken on a new hobby: reading audiobooks. Yes, believe it or not, Edmund Kemper had recorded hundreds of books for the Blind Project. The campaign was set started by the California Medical Facility State Prison to help people who are blind enjoy books.
Some of the most famous audiobooks he has voiced include bestsellers such as Flowers in the Attic, The Glass Key, Merlin’s Mirror, Petals on the Wind, The Rosary Murders, Sphinx, and Star Wars. He spent over 5,000 hours recording books between 1977 and 1987. Patrons of the project have given Kemper accolades for his work. Has the Co-ed Killer seemingly become more refined?
On his recognition for the audiobooks, Kemper stated, “I can’t begin to tell you what this has meant to me, to be able to do something constructive for someone else, to be appreciated by so many people, the good feeling it gives me after what I have done.” It’s creepy in itself that he was even allowed to voice an audiobook. I mean, the last thing I want is for a serial killer to read me to sleep. Yeah, I’ll pass on this one.
This article was originally published on September 25, 2019.