Edmund Kemper’s first murder victims were his grandparents. He went to live with them after running away from a belittling mother. She and his sisters constantly made fun of him and berated him. He was very tall for his age and they made fun of him because of it. Reportedly, his mother made him sleep in the basement as she was afraid that Edmund would harm his sisters. Kemper stood 6’4” tall at the age of 15.
Edmund Kemper’s grandmother wrote children’s books and while working on one at the kitchen table, she and Kemper became embroiled in a heated argument. Kemper then got from the table, retrieved his rifle; ironically, it was the rifle his grandfather bought for him for hunting. He shot his grandmother in the back of her head and then twice more into her back. When his grandfather returned home from shopping, Kemper walked outside and shot his grandfather dead as well. When questioned by the police, Kemper said he shot his grandmother because “he wanted to know what it felt like to shoot Grandma” and said that he had killed his grandfather so he wouldn’t have to see that his wife had been brutally murdered. He was diagnosed to suffer from psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia and was sentenced to five years in a hospital for the criminally insane.
When Edmund Kemper turned 21, he was released from the hospital, telling psychiatrists that he was fully rehabilitated. He wasn’t. Kemper did try to better himself and went to community college in hopes of eventually becoming a state trooper. However, those dreams became shattered when he was told he was too tall to become a state trooper. Kemper eventually got a job with the highway department but that ended when he was in an accident while riding his motorcycle and badly injured his arm.
Kemper’s thoughts of murder soon began to rise up in him. He noticed a lot of young female college students hitchhiking the roads of California and decided these would be the people he killed. When he first started out, he picked up hitchhikers and drove them to their destinations. He said in an interview with the police that he probably had picked up over a 150 women and left them unharmed. Kemper had killed six hitchhikers. The last two people he killed would be his mother and her best friend, bringing the total of deaths to ten, with his grandparents heading the list.
When he was captured and tried, he asked the judge for the death penalty but the death penalty was halted for a time in California and received a sentence of 7 years to life for each of the eight counts of murder that he was convicted for.
Edmund Kemper is said to be a model prisoner and during two different parole hearings, Kemper said that he is not rehabilitated and prefers to stay in prison. He also asked not to be at the next hearing in 2017.