52: Edmund Kemper, The Co-Ed Killer, And His Severe Mommy Issues

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This episode was as exciting as it was gruesome.

I’ve wanted to cover Kemper for such a long time, because of John Douglas’s accounts from Mind Hunter and Robert Ressler’s accounts from Whoever Fights Monsters.

Kemper could have played basketball 🏀

I began this episode after the murders on April 24, 1973, when Edmund Kemper phones Santa Cruz Police Department from a Pueblo, California phone booth and confesses to all ten murders.

What is immediately apparent about Kemper is his size. Standing 6’10” and nearly 300 pounds he is often referred to as “Big Ed.”

At first, the Santa Cruz officers accuse Edmund of prank calling the station, and it is only when he calls back and starts naming police officers is he taken seriously.

A Pueblo police cruiser pulls up to Kemper’s location and immediately notice his massive size; so tall that Kemper could comfortably rest his hands on top of the phone booth while police were searching him for weapons.

Edmund Kemper needs to watch his head often, so he doesn’t run into the top of the door frame.

Once in custody, a full narrative is composed of Kemper, often referred to as the “co-ed killer” that is too shocking and gruesome to believe.

“I wanted to know how it felt to kill grandma.”

What were you doing at age fifteen?

Whatever it was, you probably weren’t sitting in a mental institution for murdering both of your grandparents.

Edmund was.

On August 27, 1984, he shot his grandmother with a .22 caliber rifle as she was sitting at the dining room table, working on a children’s book.

Kemper didn’t stop there though shooting to death his grandfather as he walked through the front door carrying a bag filled with groceries.

Edmund Emil Kemper and Maude Matilda Hughey Kemper. Ed shot his grandfather because “he didn’t want him to have a heart attack” once he saw that his wife was dead

Diagnosed with an I.Q. of 136 🤓

On December 6, 1964, Kemper was sent to a Juvenile Hall while the California Youth Authority decided what to do with him.

It seemed that the organization never came across someone quite like Ed Kemper (you know, the killing your grandparent’s type).

Initially, he was diagnosed as a passive-aggressive type with psychosis and paranoia and was also described as having a higher than average I.Q. of 136.

Both Steve Jobs and Einstein are thought to have an I.Q. of 160.

What’s your I.Q.? Let me know in the comments below for a shout-out on a future episode!

Kemper spent five years in the Atascadero State Hospital until he was paroled back to his mother under the scrutiny of several doctors.

Getting a taste for killing

Supposedly, Kemper’s first victims (besides his grandparents) were murdered on May 7, 1972.

After picking up Mary Ann Pesce and Anita Mary Luchessa from the Santa Cruz University, Kemper drives to a secluded location where he murdered both women.

Anita Mary Luchessa
Mary Ann Pesce

In an interview, Kemper describes how he initially believed he locked his car keys in the trunk of the car with one of the deceased victims; later finding them inside his back pocket.

Did Edmund Kemper have a type?

Throughout the episode, I try to drive home the fact that Kemper was killing his mother, over and over, similar to how Ted Bundy was killing his ex-girlfriend, over and over.

Not literally, but for Ted Bundy at least, his victims resembled his ex-girlfriend.

Kemper’s victims, however, were random and the only thing most of them had in common was that they were either university girls or hitchhikers.

Case in point, the murder of Aiko Koo on September 14, 1972.

Koo was not a college student; she was a fifteen-year-old ballet student who had just missed her bus home.

Taking a chance, Koo decided to take a ride with a total stranger and unfortunately for her that stranger was Edmund Kemper.

Being brazen is an understatement for Big Ed

Two days after Aiko Koo goes missing, in the trunk of Kemper’s car, he visits two court-appointed psychiatrists who evaluate his behavior since being detained in Atascadero State Hospital.

This is what one of the reports about Kemper.

“If I were to see this patient without having any history available or getting any history from him, I would think that we’re dealing with a very well adjusted young man who had initiative, intelligence and who was free of any psychiatric illnesses… It is my opinion that he has made a very excellent response to the years of treatment and rehabilitation and I would see no psychiatric reason to consider him to be of any danger to himself or to any member of society… [and] since it may allow him more freedom as an adult to develop his potential, I would consider it reasonable to have a permanent expunction of his juvenile records.”

Little did the doctors know that Aiko’s severed head was still in the trunk of his Ford Galaxie 500.

Edmund Kemper’s 1969 Ford Galaxie 500 (hardtop edition) had sufficient trunk space for his many adventures.

Can you see now me mama? I’m outside your window.

Rosalind Thorpe and Liu Alice accepted a ride from Kemper in the university parking lot, which then was both immediately shot point-blank once getting into the car.

The unbelievable-but-true thing about this murder was that as both of the girls were moaning (and dying) in the passengers and backseat of the car, Edmund was forced to pass through campus security and be cleared by two security officers.

Neither of the two guards noticed the girls moaning in the car.

Or maybe merely thought they were drunk?

Either way, they waved Big Ed on, and he left the campus without question.

Rosalind Thorpe and Alice LiuRosalind Thorpe and Alice Liu Mon, Mar 5, 1973 – Page 1 · Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California) · Newspapers.com

In an interview, Kemper describes beheading the two girls in front of his mother’s house while she was inside, presumably drunk.

Edmunds mother’s (and childhood) home.

Goodbye mother

Well, we knew this day was coming.

Kemper finally realizes all these murders have “got to stop” and the only way to do that is to kill his mother eventually.

Of course, you’ll have to listen to the episode (or watch the interviews below) to get the full picture, but it’s pretty disturbing.

It involves beheading and garbage disposals, and honestly, I’m too sickened even to type it out, so listen to the episode.

Edmunds mother, Clarnell Stage.

Will Edmund Kemper ever be paroled?

Kemper is still in prison. However, he is up for parole every seven years.

Here his latest parole transcript if you have time to read all 157 pages.

If not, know that Kemper claims that he is happy in prison and doesn’t want to get out.

Kemper has quite the life in prison and even doing positive things for the community.

Like reading audiobooks for blind people.

Would you want to listen to serial killer Edmund Kemper read you a night-night story? Let me know in the comments below for a future show shout-out!

Here are the interview tapes I found with Edmund Kemper. Thanks to youtube.


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Talko Supremo

Crazy, I can’t believe he’s alive in prison and we can listen to his audiobooks!

Talko Supremo

Thanks for the dedication! I’ve finally gotten my 15 seconds of fame. I also found it interesting that he’s still alive and recording audiobooks. 

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