How The FBI Began Profiling Serial Killers With The Help Of 'Co-Ed Killer' Ed Kemper

"To understand the artist, you must look at the artwork," said FBI Special Agent John Douglas.

Throughout his incarceration, serial killer Ed Kemper has taken part in multiple interviews with journalists, psychiatrists and members of law enforcement to speak about his brutal, sexually charged murders. The most extensive of which are his conversations with FBI Special Agents John Douglas and Bob Ressler, who used Kemper's disclosures as the basis for their study on serial killers.

In exclusive digital footage from the upcoming special "Kemper on Kemper: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer," Douglas and Boston College professor and consultant for the FBI Behavioral Science Unit Ann Burgess revealed how Kemper helped profile serial killers.

Douglas told "Kemper on Kemper," "To understand the artist, you must look at the artwork. We got to go and talk ... to the experts. And who are the experts? The experts are the people who perpetrated these crimes, who are sitting around in prison. They're bored; no one's ever talked to them. So, let's go on in and do these interviews."

Burgess said Kemper's "expansive" transcripts "set the tone" for their study, and out of the 36 killers they interviewed, Kemper was the "most articulate."

Douglas also said the team was able to define three categories of murderers  — serial killers, mass murderers and spree killers.

"A serial murder is three or more people with a cooling off period in between each of the killings. A mass murder was someone [sic] who kills four or more people in one event[.] ... Spree murder is someone generally we know he's in a fugitive status ... he's killing along the way. It's a form of a serial killer, but there is no cooling off period," explained Douglas.

Burgess said the FBI was then able to use Kemper's profile and apply it to new, unsolved cases and identify possible suspects. 

To hear more about Kemper's relationship with the FBI, watch "Kemper on Kemper: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer" on Oxygen Saturday, October 20 at 8/7c.

[Photo: Courtesy of John Douglas]

Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.

All Posts About:
Ed Kemper

You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet