Edmund Kemper

From Real Life Villains Wiki

Edmund Kemper
Full Name: Edmund Emil Kemper III
Alias: The Co-Ed Killer
The Co-Ed Butcher
Big Ed
The Ogre of Aptos
Origin: Burbank, California, United States
Hobby: Killing people
Having sex with dead bodies
Crimes: Serial murder
Cruelty to animals
Type of Villain: Serial Killer

I remember there was actually a sexual thrill; you hear that little pop and pull their heads and hold their heads up by the hair. Whipping their heads off, their body sitting there. That'd get me off.
~ Kemper in an interview.

Edmund Emil "Big Ed" Kemper III (December 18th, 1948) is an American serial killer and necrophiliac who assaulted, murdered, and performed necrophiliac rituals on various young women. He is noted for his large size, at 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 m), and for his high IQ, at 145. Kemper was nicknamed the "Co-ed Killer", as most of his victims were students at co-educational institutions. He killed in totally 10 people.


Weighing 13 pounds (5.9 kg) as a newborn, Kemper was already a head taller than his peers by the age of four. He was highly intelligent, but exhibited behavior such as cruelty to animals: at the age of 10, he buried a pet cat alive; once it died, he dug it up, decapitated it and mounted its head on a spike. Kemper later stated that he derived pleasure from successfully lying to his family about killing the cat. At the age of 13, he killed another family cat when he perceived it to be favoring his younger sister, Allyn Lee Kemper (born 1951), over him, and kept pieces of it in his closet until his mother found them.

Kemper had a dark fantasy life: he performed rituals with his younger sister's dolls that culminated in him removing their heads and hands.

On one occasion, when his older sister, Susan Hughey Kemper (1943–2014), teased him and asked why he did not try to kiss his teacher, he replied: "If I kiss her, I'd have to kill her first." He also recalled that as a young boy he would sneak out of his house and, armed with his father's bayonet, go to his second-grade teacher's house to watch her through the windows. He stated in later interviews that some of his favorite games to play as a child were "Gas Chamber" and "Electric Chair", in which he asked his younger sister to tie him up and flip an imaginary switch, and then he would tumble over and writhe on the floor, pretending to be dying of gas inhalation or electric shock. He also had near-death experiences as a child, once when his elder sister tried to push him in front of a train, and another when she successfully pushed him into the deep end of a swimming pool, where he almost drowned.

Kemper had a close relationship with his father and was devastated when his parents separated in 1957, causing him to be raised by Clarnell in Helena, Montana. He had a severely dysfunctional relationship with his mother, a neurotic, domineering alcoholic who would frequently belittle, humiliate and abuse him. Clarnell often made her son sleep in a locked basement because she feared that he would harm his sisters, regularly mocked him for his large size—he stood 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) by the age of 15—and derided him as "a real weirdo." She also refused to cuddle him for fear that she would "turn him gay," and told the young Kemper that he reminded her of his father and that no woman would ever love him. Kemper later described her as a "sick angry woman, and it has been postulated that she suffered from borderline personality disorder.

At the age of 15, Kemper ran away from home in an attempt to reconcile with his father in Van Nuys, California. Once there, he learned that his father had remarried and had a stepson. Kemper stayed with his father for a short while until the elder Kemper sent him to live with his paternal grandparents, who lived on a ranch in the mountains of North Fork. Kemper hated living in North Fork; he described his grandfather as "senile," and said that his grandmother "was constantly emasculating me and my grandfather."

He murdered his grandparents at age 15, then later in the years murdered his mother. He over the years decapitated young women, then used the severed heads for use of oral sex.

Released at the age of 21 after convincing psychiatrists he was rehabilitated, Kemper was regarded as non-threatening by his victims. He targeted young female hitchhikers during his killing spree, luring them into his vehicle and driving them to secluded areas where he would murder them before taking their corpses back to his home to be decapitated, dismembered and violated. Kemper then murdered his mother and one of her friends before turning himself in to the authorities.

Found sane and guilty at his trial in 1973, he requested the death penalty for his crimes. However, capital punishment was suspended in California at the time, and he instead received eight life sentences. Since then, Kemper has been incarcerated in the California Medical Facility. He has waived his right to a parole hearing several times and has said he is "happy" in prison


  • He is a featured character on the Netflix-original television series Mindhunter, where he is portrayed by Cameron Britton.