This is the story of one of the most vicious serial killers that ever lived. On the surface a quiet boy, tall and powerful in appearance. A “gentle giant” that conveyed safety and reliability. In reality Edmund concealed a dark world in his mind where he secretly nurtured the most horrible fantasies so much until he put them into practice.
Childhood and early youth
Edmund Kemper was born on December 18, 1948 in California, the son of Edmund Emil Kemper Jr and Clarnell Standberg.
At a very young age Edmund appears as a quiet and introverted boy, but in spite of that he quickly develops a complicated relationship with his mother. Clarnell in fact humiliates and frequently berates his son, considering him the cause of all her problems.
Basically Edmund grows up with no friends, ignored and excluded by his peers, leading him to become increasingly isolated. At the age of 10 his mother started to have him sleep in the basement of their house, as she believed he could harm his sister. In that same period the divorce of his parents divorce will be the turning point in his life as he was very close to his father.
Edmund is placed under the care of his mother and moves to Montana. The relationship with Clarnell becomes more and more difficult; in the meantime he begins to cultivate strange habits, enjoying killing and dissecting animals, including the family cat. In addition he starts to secretly fantasize murderous scenes in which he kills his mother.
In 1963 Clarnell decides to get rid of his son, so Edmund goes back to his father. However the situation is now different, as his father got re-married and changed his life. Eventually Ed is sent to his grandparents, who live in a ranch on the mountains of North Folk. Very soon though the cohabitation becomes very difficult with daily quarrels.
On August 27, 1964 at the umpteenth quarrel the situation degenerates and Kemper kills both grandparents shooting them with a rifle. After that he calls his mother and turns himself in to the police. Edmund is thus interned in the psychiatric hospital of Atascadero.
During his stay, Ed appears as a very meek and cooperative boy and soon gains everyone’s trust by forming a friendship with his psychologist. After five years, in 1969, Edmund is released and he returns to his mother. A decision that unfortunately will prove to be fatal.
At this point Kemper has developed a massive physical structure, reaching over two meters for 136 kg. The boy appears to the community as a serious and reliable person and is affectionately nicknamed “Big Ed”.
After a series of small jobs, Edmund finds employment in the highway business. Due to the nature of his work he spends much time on the road and begins to notice young and beautiful female hitchhikers to whom he offers a ride from time to time. At the same time the relationship with his mother becomes even more turbulent: Clarnell continues to mortify his son, telling him that no girl would ever agree to hang out with him.
Edmund thus begins to cultivate his murderous fantasies, which sadly he will soon put into practice.
May 7, 1972. Kemper is driving near the UC Santa Cruz university campus when he runs into two girls asking for a ride. They are Mary Ann Pesce and Anita Luchessa, both 18 years old. Edmund welcomes them into the car and heads towards a country area where he stops with the car and after strangling both victims he rages on the corpses with a knife. He then decides to take the bodies back home, places them in his mother’s room and takes creepy photos of the victims. He finally cuts them to pieces and leaves the remains on the hills.
From this moment on his murderous fury will become unstoppable.
September 14, 1972. Edmund loads another hitchhiker on the road, Aiko Koo of 15 years old. After threatening the girl with a gun, he stops the car and strangles her to death. He moves the body into the trunk and takes it home again, puts it in his room and after practicing necrophilia, he decides to dismember the remains and get rid of them.
A couple of months later on 7 January 1973 Edmund strikes again. This time the victim is Cindy Schall, a nineteen-year-old student. After picking her up into the car, he stops in an isolated area where he shoots her with a gun. In similar fashion to previous victims, he takes the body home, rapes the corpse and dissects it. After getting rid of the remains, he decides to bury the victim’s head in the garden with the face in direction of his mother’s room.
On February 5, 1973, after yet another quarrel with Clarnell, Edmund leaves the house in search of victims. He will find Rosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu on his way. Same modus operandi of the previous crimes, the two girls end up killed and subsequently dismembered.
A little more than two months later, on April 20, 1973, Kemper decides to finally put into practice his initial objective: the murder of his mother. While Clarnell is sleeping Edmund hammers her to death. After beheading her, he rapes her body and severs her larynx. Eventually he throws her body into the trash compactor.
It is not over yet as Ed decides to trap even her mother’s best friend, Sally Hallett, by inviting her to dinner at their house. As soon as the woman arrives, Kemper strangles her to death.
After the slaughter he gets in the car and starts driving, convinced that the bodies would be discovered soon and he would soon become wanted. Edmund tries to go away as far as possible but realizes through the radio that the news have not been disclosed. So he decides to stop his race and inform the authorities himself confessing what had happened.
Kemper is arrested. During the trial he is found guilty of eight murders and sentenced to life in prison. Edmund is currently locked up in California State Prison.
Serial killer with a split personality, Edmund Kemper remains one of the most brutal assassins in the history of United States. His story also appears in the television series Mindhunter, directed by David Fincher and distributed by Netflix.