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ed kemper

Edmund Emil Kemper III (born December 18, 1948) is an American serial killer who murdered ten people, including his mother and her best friend. 

Kemper was born in Burbank, California, to Edmund Emil Kemper Jr. and Clarnell Stage. He was the middle child of three children. Kemper’s father was a World War II veteran who worked as an electrician. His mother was a domineering and controlling woman who often belittled and humiliated her son.

Kemper’s childhood was marked by violence and abuse. He witnessed his parents argue and fight frequently, and he was often physically and emotionally abused by his mother. When Kemper was 14 years old, he killed his paternal grandparents by bludgeoning them to death with a hammer. He was sent to a mental institution for evaluation but was released after a few months.

After his release from the mental institution, Kemper attended community college and then transferred to Humboldt State University. However, he dropped out of college after two years. He then worked as a security guard and a truck driver.

In 1972, Kemper began his killing spree. He would pick up female hitchhikers and take them to secluded areas, where he would strangle or stab them to death. He would then take their bodies back to his home, where he would decapitate them, perform oral sex on their severed heads, have sexual intercourse with their corpses, and then dismember them.

Kemper’s killing spree came to an end in 1973 when he killed his mother and her best friend. He then turned himself in to the police. Kemper was convicted of his crimes and sentenced to life in prison. He is currently serving his sentence at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California.

Kemper is considered to be one of the most notorious serial killers in American history. He is also one of the most studied serial killers, and his case has been the subject of numerous books, articles, and documentaries.

Motivations of a Serial Killer

Edmund Kemper, also known as the Co-Ed Killer. He often picked up hitchhiking college students and strangled them. 

Kemper’s victims included five college students, one high school student, his mother, and his mother’s best friend. He has stated that he often killed after arguing with his mother, who refused to introduce him to women attending the university where she worked. Kemper has said that his mother was his ultimate target and that the young women he killed were surrogates for her.

Kemper’s motivation for killing is complex and multifaceted. He has said that he was motivated by several factors, including:

  • A desire for power and control: Kemper was a very large and imposing man, and he said that he enjoyed the feeling of power that he felt when he was killing his victims.
  • A need for attention: Kemper said that he killed to get attention from others. He felt he was never loved or appreciated by his mother, and he killed to get her attention.
  • A hatred of women: Kemper was raised by a domineering mother, and he said that he hated women. He believed that women were inferior to men, and he killed them to express his hatred.
  • A mental illness: Kemper was diagnosed with several mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder. These illnesses may have contributed to his violent behavior.


It is important to note that these are just some of the factors that may have motivated Kemper’s killings. It is likely that other factors played a role in his behavior, and his motivation for killing was complex and multifaceted.

Self-Defense Tips Against The Co-Ed Killer

Self-defense tips to have prevented being one of Ed Kemper’s victims

Ed Kemper was known for his sadistic and ritualistic killings, which often involved strangling his victims. Kemper’s MO was to pick up his victims as hitchhikers, take them to secluded areas, and then kill them. He would then dismember their bodies and dispose of them in various ways.

Ed Kemper was a large man. He stood 6 feet 9 inches tall and weighed over 300 pounds. He was also very strong and athletic for his size. This gave him a huge advantage over his victims, and they were often unable to resist him. Kemper’s size and strength also made him a formidable figure, and he was able to intimidate his victims and make them feel powerless.

There is no surefire way to prevent yourself from being a victim of a crime, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. Here are some self-defense tips that may have helped prevent you from being one of Ed Kemper’s victims:

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to who is around you and what is going on. If you see something suspicious, trust your instincts and walk away.
  • Avoid walking alone at night: If you must walk alone at night, try to stay in well-lit areas and avoid secluded places. Hitchhiking is just never a good idea and although common back in the day, it was always joked about being unsafe. Now, you can queue up a stranger with a smartphone app to pick you up anywhere, anytime. Sure Uber is “safer”, but it still has inherent risks.
  • Carry a personal alarm, stun gun, or pepper spray: A personal alarm can be a helpful deterrent to an attacker. If you feel threatened, activate the alarm to startle the attacker and attract attention. Although in this case, Kemper probably would not have cared. Given his size, a stun gun would have had to be pretty powerful. Pepper spray should have been effective as it would have temporarily blinded him, hopefully giving you a chance to get away.
  • Take self-defense classes: Self-defense classes can teach you how to defend yourself in the event of an attack.
  • Be prepared to fight back: If you are attacked, fight back as hard as you can. Do not be afraid to use whatever means necessary to protect yourself. Sure Kemper was an imposing figure, but targeting vulnerable soft tissue targets such as eyes, throat, or groin may buy you just enough time to escape.


It is also important to remember that serial killers are often very good at choosing their victims. They may target people who are vulnerable or isolated, or who they believe will be easy to overpower. If you are aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself, you can help to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a crime.

As always, Be safe and be prepared.


See More of our Serial Killer Profile series:

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