Edmund Emil Kemper III was born on December 18, 1948 in California to Clarnell Stage and Edmund Emil Kemper II. His parents divorced when little Ed was still young, and after moving around a bit with his mother, he returned to California and eventually wound up living with his paternal grandparents. After getting into an argument with his grandmother, he shot both of his grandparents and was sent to Atascadero State Hospital for criminally insane patients. He was released 6 years later when he was 21 years old and deemed to no longer be a threat to society.
After his release, he lived off and on with his mother in her condo in Aptos, close to Santa Cruz. His mother had been abusive towards Ed in the past, constantly demeaning him and belittling him. He dreamed of being a police officer, but was rejected not for his prior crimes, but because of his size - Ed was a giant at 6 feet 9 inches tall.
In May of 1972, Ed Kemper began to act on his urges to kill. His modus operandi was to pick up female hitchhikers around the Santa Cruz area. Once they were in his car, he would drive them to a secluded area in the Santa Cruz mountains where he would kill them and have sex with their corpse. He decapitated several of his victims and would keep the heads to have sex with for up to several days after the murder. Kemper buried the head of one of his victims, Cindy Schall, in the garden next to the window of his mother's bedroom with the had facing up because, "always wanted people to look up to her."
By April 20, 1973, Kemper had killed 6 hitchhikers in the Santa Cruz area. That night, he snuck into his mother's bedroom after she was asleep and bludgeoned her with a claw hammer. He then decapitated her and had sex with the severed head of his own mother. He removed her tongue and vocal chords and attempted to dispose of them in the garbage disposal of the kitchen sink, but the garbage disposal jammed. The next day, he invited his mother's best friend, Sally Hallett, over for dinner. When she arrived, he strangled her and placed her body in a closet. Kemper then drove non stop for over 1,000 miles to Pueblo, Colorado. Once he arrived he called the police in Santa Cruz and confessed, but the police dispatcher took it as a prank call. Several hours later Kemper called again, this time speaking to an officer he knew personally, and was subsequently arrested.
Kemper was charged with 8 counts of first degree murder in the deaths of 6 hitchhikers, his mother, and his mother's best friend Sally. On November 8, 1973, Kemper was found to be sane and guilty on all counts and was sentenced to 8 life terms to be served consecutively. In prison, Kemper was a model prisoner. He went on to assist the FBI in their study on serial killers as documented in the book "Mindhunter" by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. He also recorded a large amount of audiobooks for the blind which can still be heard today. Kemper currently lives in custody at the California Medical Facility and will be next eligible for parole in 2024.