Edmund Kemper—the Coed-Killing Giant
Edmund Emil Kemper the III was born on December 18, 1948 in Burbank, California. From the very beginning of Kemper’s life he experienced parental rejection and severe verbal abuse. Kemper and his mother, Clarnell Kemper never got along. She was constantly teasing and humiliating her son. According to Kemper, Clarnell was what precipitated his killing sprees.
At the age of nine, Edmund Emil Kemper the II and Clarnell decided to get a divorce. Kemper was close to his father and the whole ordeal was very upsetting to him. Kemper and his mother relocated to Montana along with his two sisters. Clarnell had become an alcoholic as a way of dealing with the divorce. Kemper had a very difficult time dealing with the changes that were occurring in his life. Kemper claimed that his mother would lock him in the basement as a means of toughening him up. When Kemper was five years old he told his sister that he wanted to kiss her teacher. When his sister approved and told him he should do so he replied, “I can’t. I would have to kill her first” (qtd. in Fraiser 262). And so it began.
When Kemper was ten years old his mother felt as if he might molest his two sisters. Because of her fears, she moved Kemper into a drab basement room permanently. It was there that Kemper began fantasizing about torture and mutilation. Kemper then began killing his animals. He buried one cat alive and then returned to it once it had died to decapitate it. He then placed the decapitated cat on an altar in his room where he would pray to it. He would pray that everyone else in the world would be killed except for himself. When he was thirteen he slaughtered his pet Siamese cat because he felt that it was showing his sisters more attention then it was showing him.
Kemper was severely emotionally starved for any type of attention from his parents. His mother would call Kemper, “a real weirdo”; she also would torment him about his large size. He went to visit his father in southern California hoping to re-establish a relationship. His father had re-married and had another son. His father’s new wife immediately did not like Kemper, therefore he was sent away by his father to live with his grandparents. His grandparents, Edmund and Maude Kemper lived on an isolated farm. Kemper was also sent to the isolated farm whenever his mother would get sick of him. Kemper’s grandfather gave him a gun to cheer him up. Kemper spent many hours killing birds and small animals with the gun.
Kemper’s grandmother reminded him a great deal of his own mother. She would berate him in the same manor as his mother would. Kemper felt as if his grandmother attempted to emasculate him and his grandfather. On August 27, 1963, Kemper’s anger overtook him. His grandmother was sitting at the kitchen table when 15 year old Kemper shot her in the head and then proceeded to stab her three times in the back. When his grandfather pulled into the driveway Kemper shot him in the head. Kemper was sent to the Atascadero State Hospital. When asked why he had done what he did he responded that he “just wondered how it would feel to shoot grandma” (qtd. in Fraiser 263). In 1969, Kemper was released over the objections of his doctors after serving five years at the facility. Kemper was now a fully grown, 6’9, 285 pound 21 year old; and was living with his mother. Clarnell was now working at the University of California-Santa Cruz. Clarnell would remind Kemper on a daily basis that he would never be able to have one of the beautiful coeds as a wife. Between the years of 1970 and 1971 Kemper picked up an estimated 150 female hitchhikers in the Santa Cruz area. In an interview in the Front Page Detective, 1974, Kemper stated, “At first I picked up girls just to talk to them, just to try to get acquainted with people my own age and try to strike up a friendship,” he had told investigators (Beroldingen 1). Kemper...
Cited: Frasier, David. Murder Cases of the Twentieth Century. : Mcfarland and Company, Inc., Publishers, 1996.
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