On May 7, 1972dmund Kemper began his series of murders. His first two victims were both students at Fresno State College. They were hitchhiking to Stanford University, but they made the tragic mistake of excepting a ride from Kemper. After driving them around for while, he pulled into a remote deserted area. He forced Anita Luchese into the trunk of the car, and turned his attention to his first victim Mary Ann Pesce. He put in the back seat face down, and placed a plastic bag over her head. He then attempted to try to strangle her with a piece of cloth. But, his efforts were not successful at first, because even though she was handcuffed, she was able to bite a hole in the bag and to make Kemper even angrier the cloth broke. By this time Kemper became extremely frustrated with his efforts. He then proceeded to pull a knife and repeatedly stabbed Mary Ann, and eventually slashed her throat. Anitas death was much quicker, after Kemper removed her from the trunk he stabbed her with a different and larger knife. She fought and screamed for little bit, but finally wore down, and she to died a senseless death. Afterward, Kemper drove around for a while with the bodies still in his car, while trying to decide what to do with the bodies. He eventually brought Anitas body into his apartment, where he undressed her and dissected her body. He then beheaded both womens bodies. Kemper disposed of Mary Anns body in the plastic bag he tried to suffocate her with, and buried her body. Kemper later lead the police to the location of her body. He kept their heads for a while before dumping them into a ravine. Anitas remains were never found.
Kemper drew no suspicion from these two murders, so he continued to prowl. On September 14, 1972, he picked up Aiko Koo, a fifteen-year-old dancer of Korean descent. She was on her way to dance class when she became tired of waiting for the bus and decide to hitchhike. Like his first two victims Aiko made the fatal mistake of hitching a ride with Edmund Kemper. Aiko figured Kempers plan out and began to panic. Kemper was able to convince her that he was going to shoot himself, and if she did not try to signal the police she would not be harmed. He then drove the two of them into the mountains and turned the car off of the main road. He tried to suffocate her by taping her mouth shut and sticking his fingers in her nostrils. But this did not kill her, it only rendered her unconscious and she awoke moments later. Kemper then began to suffocate her again, and this time he did not stop until she ceased to breathe completely. He then pulled her out of the car and raped her limp body. He proceeded to strangle her with her own scarf, and when he was positive she was dead he placed her body in the trunk and drove away from the scene. From there, he left for his mothers house, but not before stopping at a local bar for a couple of beers. Periodically he would open the trunk and admire his great conquest. Later that night he took Aikos body into his apartment and placed it on his bed. He then dissected her body as he had done to Mary Ann and Anita, and disposed of her head and hands in a different location than the rest of her body. Very few parts of her remains were ever found, and her disappearance was not thought to be associated with that of Mary Ann and Anita.
Four months had gone by. Victims of other murderers had turned up, but still Kemper drew no suspicion. Even though Kemper was legally aloud to buy a gun do to a prior crime, he had no problem purchasing a .22 caliber handgun. But he feared that the police would find out about the gun, and that lead him to step up his killing activities beginning that very day. He picked up a woman named Cindy and drove her into the hills near Watsonville, where he placed her into the trunk and shot her with his brand new gun. Edmund brought the body to his mothers apartment in Aptos where had recently moved back in. He waited for his mother Clarnell to leave for work the next morning, and then he had sex with her lifeless body. He then dissected her body and removes the bullet from her skull. He buried her head in his mothers back yard and disposed of the rest of her body by throwing it over a cliff. This time the body was retrieved within 24 hours, but Kemper did not worry about being caught.
On month later he was ready to kill again. On the night of February 5, 1973, Edmund and his mother had a monumental argument. He stormed out of the apartment, fired up and ready to kill again. Again, he picked up a hitchhiker by the name of Rosalind. He then picked up a girl named Alice. She had no worries about getting into the car because of the presence Rosalind. After riding around for a while, Kemper did not even bother to stop the car to kill his victims. He drew Rosalinds attention to the pretty view, and when she turned her head, he placed one bullet in the back of her head. He then immediately pointed the gun to the back seat and fired a few shots at Alice. She did not die right away, but he shot her at point blank as soon as they got out of town. He quickly stopped the car and put the bodies into the trunk. After stopping for gas he went on to his mothers apartment, which he left again quickly claiming to need cigarettes. Once he pulled the car onto the street, he opened the trunk and beheaded the bodies. The next day he took Alices body into his room and had sex with her body. He also brought in Rosalinds head so that he could remove the bullet from her skull. He drove away to dispose of most of the body parts, and on to Pacifica to get rid of their heads and hands.
The last of Kempers murders was on Easter weekend, a month after he killed Rosalind and Alice. Edmund finally decided it was time to get rid of his mother who had caused him so much mental anguish. At 5:15 AM he went and grabbed a hammer from the kitchen and hit his mother in the head and then slashed her throat while she was sleeping. He then proceeded to behead his mothers body and removed her larynx in the process. He hid her body in the closet and left the apartment. That afternoon he decided that if another body was found with his mothers, that he not draw any suspicion. He got in touch with his mothers friend Sara Hallet and invited her over for dinner that evening. When Sara arrived Kemper strangled her, first manually and the n with the scarf he got from Aiko. From there he put Saras body on his bed and sometime that night he had sex with her. On Easter Sunday morning he took Saras car and headed toward Pueblo, Colorado where he was eventually captured after leading the police to his location.
Edmund Kempers childhood parallels that of many serial killers. His parents, Clarnell and E. E. Kemper Jr. had a stormy marriage, and they were separated by the time Kemper was nine. They divorced four years later, and Kemper longed for a father through a succession of stepfathers. In their new home in Helena, Montana his dominant mother and sisters belittled him, as they grew older Kemper was banished to the basement, because they felt that sharing a room with his sisters was inappropriate.
Not that his parents did not try, both of them were much more engaged in his upbringing and wellbeing than many parents were. But Edmund was difficult. He was afraid of being hurt by others in school and was unable to attain friendships with his peers. The pain of his parents divorce was tough for Edmund to deal with. He entertained fantasies of sex and violence at a young age. He tortured animals and beheaded them like he would later do to his victims. At his request his mother sent to Los Angeles to live with his father and stepmother. In 1963 Edmund was sent to live with his grandparents in North Fork, California. Although not happy living with grandparents, Kemper showed improvement in his behavior at school. His teachers said that he was quiet and meek. He made average grades and drew no attention to himself, aside from his size. He would shoot rabbits, gophers, and birds (although he was warned not to) but it evidently contained his aggression. During the summer he went back to stay with his mother, but within two weeks he was sent back to his grandparents. Upon his return, his grandmother had stated that Kemper had regressed. His violent fantasies had returned. This time his fantasies starred his grandmother whom he found a nag. He would imagine her in the outhouse and shot it full of holes. He took it even farther to aim the gun at his grandmother, and imagined her what it would be like to kill her. His grandmother would take the .45 caliber pistol that belonged to his grandfather, when she left the house, because she feared that it would fall into Edmunds hands. Edmund took this lack of trust as an insult, and a fire began to grow inside him.
On August 27, 1964, Edmund sat at the kitchen table with his grandmother going over a childrens book she was writing. She noticed that Edmund had an odd and frightening look on his face that she had seen on many occasions before. After being told to stop looking at her like that he grabbed his gun and said he was going to shoot gophers. His grandmother warned him not to shoot the birds. As he left he watched her through the screen door. He then took aim and fired once, then he fired twice more and hit her in the back with both shots. He wrapped her head in a towel and dragged her into the bedroom. Shortly after, his grandfather returned home, and Kemper shot him in the back of the head.
Edmund was upset because of what he had done and also because he knew he would be caught. Confused, he called his mother and she advised him to call the sheriff. He quickly confessed to both murders, saying that he often thought of killing his grandmother, but his grandfather was a mercy killing. Because he thought that his grandfather would have had a heart attack if he had seen his dead wife. Edmund was held in a juvenile hall while the authorities decided what to do with him. A psychiatrist diagnosed him as paranoid and psychotic, and he was committed to the Atascadero State Hospital. He entered the facility on December 6, 1964. He was not yet sixteen years old.
At Atascadero State Hospital Edmund took an extensive battery of test and began to gain insight, if not in the nature of his own crimes, but what others thought of them. He began to work hard to learn the language treatment and appearing recovered. He worked in the psychology lab and helped administer tests. He took pride in doing a good job, which his doctors interpreted as a very good sign. He got to know the others that were at the hospital, including serial rapists who shared stories about their crimes with him. From this his violent sexual fantasies became intricate and intense. And took note what the incarcerated rapists had done wrong. Although he hadnt yet made any concrete plan, he knew each fact, and each story would be useful to him later. He them claimed religious conversion, and took to looking up any biblical reference he heard.
When Edmund was released in 1969 the changes in the outside world shocked him. He began to attend a community college near the hospital, while he was still under the supervision of the Youth Authority. Edmund longed to become a law enforcement officer, but those hopes were quickly dashed. These hopes were dashed because he was too tall. To at least feel like a cop he went out and purchased a motorcycle. Edmund was doing very well in school. And because of that he was paroled for another eighteen months. His doctors strongly advised him not to return to his mother who had relocated to Santa Cruz. Against their advice the Youth Authority sent him right back to her.
His mother now held a responsible position at the University of California at Santa Cruz. The time without Edmund gave her several years of peace. But upon the arrival of her son, the arguments began again. To avoid the arguments with his mother, Edmund would frequent the Jury Room, which was a bar for off duty cops. There he was well liked, and even referred as Big Ed.
Edmund took various jobs as a laborer, and finally secured one with the Division of Highways, which enabled him to move out of his mothers home. Still, his mother continued to berate and belittle him. He wrecked his motorcycle, and then purchased a car that resembled an unmarked police car. He put in a radio transmitter and microphone, and also a large whip antenna. He then began to pick up hitchhikers. Small, pretty hitchhikers. He delivered them safely to their destinations, and privately, he indulged in his violent fantasies, imagining what he would do to his captive hitchhikers when he finally got all the details taken care of. He began to outfit his car for his future plans. He took off the antenna, and he rigged the passenger doors so they could not be opened from the inside. Plastic bags, knives, blankets, and guns were placed in the trunk. Edmund picked up girl after girl, treating each as an experiment, waiting for his moment. It took a while, more than a year of picking up girls and letting them go, but on May 7, 1972, Edmunds moment finally came.