Ed Kemper's Chilling Motive For Murdering 8 People

The ultimate coed killer of the 20th century was undoubtedly Ted Bundy. By the end of his notorious killing spree that lasted only a short span of years, he'd confessed to slaying 28 different women (some suspect it was actually many, many more), most of whom were college students to whom he bore no connection, as Britannica reports. However, there were others in the true crime family who shared certain proclivities with Bundy, proclivities that reveal some intensely disturbing truths about the murky sub-conscious of a sadistic serial killer. 

According to Investigation Discovery, Ed Kemper, otherwise known as "The Co-Ed Butcher," is currently serving a life sentence for the slayings of eight different women, crimes committed from May of 1972 to April of 1973. In just under a year, Kemper brutally murdered and dismembered his own mother, her closest friend, a 15-year-old high school student, and five different college women. He'd also been convicted of killing his grandparents in 1964 at the age of 15. "I just wanted to see what it felt like to kill grandma," he told the police after calling them himself. Sadly, it wouldn't be the last time he killed, and the horrendous nature of his crimes only compounded itself with each new innocent life he took (via Investigation Discovery). 

The Co-Ed Butcher killings

UPI reports that Edmund Kemper served only one term in the California Youth Authority and a state mental hospital after murdering his own grandparents in cold blood. He was discharged to the care of his mother who, tragically, would become one of his victims before too long. The first in the string of the eight murders that would land him a lifetime sentence behind bars occurred in 1972 after he picked up Anita Mary Luchessa and Mary Ann Pesce, both 18 years old, on the side of the road. According to Investigation Discovery, the two Fresno State students were hitchhiking and accepted a ride from Kemper. He then drove to a wooded area and killed them both before returning home to photograph/dismember/violate their corpses, engaging sexually with their severed heads. This became his preferred system of killing throughout the remainder of his horrible blood saga. 

Aiko Koo (15), Cindy Schall (18),  Allison Liu (20), and Rosalind Heather Thorpe (23) would all meet similar fates (per Investigation Discovery). Then, on April 20 of 1973, Kemper turned his sights on his 52-year-old mother, Clarnell Kemper Strandberg. As UPI reports, he bludgeoned her to death with a hammer while she slept and stabbed her repeatedly with a pocket knife. He then removed her head and threw darts at it from across the room. The following day, he invited Sally Hallet (59), his mother's friend, over to the house where he murdered and decapitated her (per Investigation Discovery). 

Why did Ed Kemper kill?

Sally Hallet's death would be the final installment in Kemper's harrowing trail of killings that shocked the world. Police discovered the bodies of Hallet and Strandberg with a note left nearby that read, "Appx. 5:15 a.m. Saturday. No need for her to suffer any more at the hands of this horrible 'murderous Butcher.' It was quick — asleep — the way I wanted it. Not sloppy and incomplete, gents. Just a 'lack of time.' I got things to do!!!" It was a mocking gesture that crowned his murder spree with cold, remorseless insensitivity (per Investigation Discovery). 

Like some serial killers, Ed Kemper's motivation to kill was rooted in sexual compulsion and certain erotic fantasies. He reportedly kept dismembered body parts, including severed heads, as mementos that made him feel close to the victims, imagining that he was keeping a part of their soul. Some of the heads, including his mother's, were buried in his back yard after they'd reached a state of mature decomposition and could no longer be kept in the house. He disposed of the rest of his victims' bodies across the Santa Cruz mountains and beaches, as UPI reports. In a chilling 1984 interview from behind bars (posted on YouTube), he was asked what sort of feelings arose within him when he met an attractive woman. He responded, "One side of me says, 'I'd like to talk to her, date her.' The other side says, 'I wonder how her head would look on a stick.'"