Netflix’s Mindhunter recently shined a light on one of America’s most infamous personalities, Ed Kemper. As portrayed, he was used to gain some insight into the thought process of a serial killer which served as a critical factor in the development of the modern psychological profile used in investigating serial murders. Here are some of the things you should know about the killer.
Who Is Ed Kemper?
Born Edmund Emil Kemper III on the 18th of December, 1948 in California, specifically in Burbank, Ed is the only son of his parents, Clarnell Elizabeth Kemper and Edmund Emil Kemper II. It goes without saying that Ed Kemper had a strange and difficult childhood. His parents had a strained relationship, with his father famously declaring that suicide missions and atomic bomb testings were easier compared to living with Ed Kemper’s mother.
Outside of his record as a murderer, a stand out feature of Kemper is his stature. He stands at 6 feet 9 inches and the tendencies for his giant stature started showing as soon as he was born; he weighed 13 pounds as a newborn.
Psychologists have spent years figuring out the mind of a psychopath and while some consider it to be a nurture problem, some consider it a natural effect. Whatever it is, it started manifesting in Ed Kemper at the age of 10. He once buried a pet alive and then dug it up to decapitate it, and mount its head on a spike.
By the time his teenage years were over, he had killed two cats and established himself among his family members as a disturbed individual. He got into regular arguments and fights with his mother, who frequently locked him a basement.
His First Victims Were His Paternal Grandparents
Out of frustration of living with his mother and his siblings, he ran away from home to live with his father, who had been separated from his mother for a while. However, when he got to Van Nuys, his father had remarried and had another son. Displeased with the knowledge of another son in his father’s life, and the difficulty of living with his father’s new family, he was sent to live with his paternal grandparents. He would later kill them.
Ed Kemper committed his first murder at the age of 16, killing his grandmother after an argument. Using a gun, he shot her in the head before he fired twice into her back. Returning from a trip to the grocery store, his grandfather was also fatally shot. It was the gun he bought for Ed Kemper for hunting. After the murders, Kemper called the police on himself.
He was arrested and subsequently imprisoned at the California Youth Authority after getting tried as a minor. Kemper was remanded at the care of psychiatrists who acknowledged that he was a sociopath, albeit an extremely intelligent one.
Kemper got released after 5 years in prison on his 21st birthday. Upon his release, his juvenile records were expunged after the psychiatrists found him to have responded excellently to the treatment. He continued to live with his mother after his release and attended a community college with the intention of becoming a police officer.
More Killings and Sleeping with Corpses
His next set of murders came in 1972. After buying a vehicle with the settlement funds he got from a civil suit, he started the habit of driving in highway and picking up hitchhikers who were mostly women. On May 7, 1972, he picked up two women, Mary Ann Pesce, and Anita Luchessa. Kemper took the women to a secluded area of the highway which he had gotten familiar with and killed them. After killing them, he took their corpses home and had sex with it. As he did to a cat at the age of 13, he dismembered their body and got rid of them. Over the next year, Kemper killed 6 more women, culminating in the murder of his mother and her best friend.
How He Killed His Mother
He did not only murder his mother on April 20, 1973; he also committed gruesome acts against her body, including having sex with her corpse. He also killed her best friend, Sally Hallett whom he had invited to the house after killing his mother. He strangled her to death and decapitated her body.
Kemper turned himself to the police. He was placed on trial for 8 counts of murder and despite requesting for the death penalty, he was sentenced to 8 life sentences in California Medical Facility. Recent news suggests that Kemper is alive and well, it is said that he is even considered a model prisoner.