Edmund Emil Kemper Iii: The Life Of A Serial Killer

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Edmund Emil Kemper III was born on December 13, 1948 in Burbank, CA. He was born to the union of Edmund E. Kemper Jr. and Clarnell Strandberg. After his parents divorced, Clarnell took Kemper along with his two sisters to live by her very high standards and abusive ways. She berated Kemper mentally by having him sleep in a windowless basement because she feared of the harm he may cause to his sisters. In turn, this caused the hatred that he had for her to fester and turn into hatred against all women. On many occasions Kemper would break off the heads and hands of his sister’s dolls and also have them play the game he called “The gas chamber” in which he was the victim to be executed (Fisher, 2003a).

At 10 years of age, Kemper began showing signs of true violence. He was sent to live with his father after his mother found the remains of their two pet cats in his closet, one decapitated and the other cut into pieces, from the use of a machete. Once in his father’s care, he ran away and was then quickly shipped off to live with his paternal grandparents on a remote California ranch. At this point in Kemper’s life he was a young teen that stood six feet four and weighed well over 200 pounds. Not only dealing with the strict rules and dysfunctional lifestyle at home, Kemper also endured teasing and torment from peers at school. Most days he would sit and daydream about killing everyone in the world. Kemper later described himself as a “walking time-bomb” (Ramsland, 2006a).

Kemper felt that his grandmother treated him the same as his mother did, therefore making it easy for him to displace his anger onto her. On one August afternoon in 1963, Kemper shot his grandmother in the back of the head with a .22 caliber rifle and stabbed her repeatedly about the body. When his grandfather returned home, he also used the gun on him shooting him as he exited his vehicle (Fisher, 2003b). This was the first murders of the future serial killer known as the “Co-ed Killer”.

After killing his grandparents, Kemper was sentenced through the juvenile court system and sent to Atascadero, a maximum-security hospital where he spent the remainder of his childhood. Per Ramsland (2006b) Kemper was released to his mother at age 21 regardless of his doctor’s wishes.

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