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August 27, 1964, Edward Kemper Begins His Life As a Serial Killer - Today In Crime History

On this day, August 27, in 1964: Fifteen-year-old Edmund Kemper III murdered his grandparents, beginning his life as a serial killer.

Kemper, who became known as the Co-ed Killer, shot both grandparents with a rifle while visiting their ranch in North Fork, Calif. Then he called his mother and reportedly told her, “I just wondered how it would feel to shoot Grandma.”   Kemper was sent to a state mental hospital, where he reportedly tried to convince psychiatrists that he should never be released. He was, however, released in 1969.  Kemper, subsequently killed and dismembered six female hitchhikers in the Santa Cruz area.

On Good Friday of 1973, Kemper battered his sleeping mother to death with a claw hammer and beheaded her.   He also cut out her vocal cords and put them in the garbage disposal.  "That seemed appropriate," he said after his arrest, "as much as she'd bitched and screamed and yelled at me over so many years." His murderous urges not yet satiated, he then invited over his mother's best friend, 59-year-old Sally Hallett.  When she entered the house, he strangled her to death and then left the house.  Kemper attempted to leave California by car,  when word of his crimes hit the radio airwaves.  Upon hearing the reports, he found a pay phone, stopped the car, called the police and confessed to murdering his mother

At his trial Kemper pleaded insanity.  He was found guilty in November 1973 of eight counts of murder.  He asked for the death penalty, but with capital punishment suspended at that time,  he instead received life imprisonment.  Kemper remains among the general population at Vacaville State Prison in California.

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