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Crime News Kemper on Kemper: Inside The Mind of a Serial Killer

5 Shocking Interviews With The 'Co-Ed Killer' Ed Kemper

 “I wonder how her head would look on a stick?"

By Benjamin H. Smith
The Ed Kemper Case, Explained

Edmund Emil Kemper III is one of America's most infamous serial killers. Known as “The Co-Ed Killer” because of his predilection for pretty young college girls, he preyed upon hitchhikers in Northern California in the early 1970s, killing them and then taking their dead bodies home, where he would mutilate and have sex with them. His first victims were his paternal grandparents, whom he killed when he was 15, and his last were his mother and her best friend over Easter weekend in 1973.

At 6 foot 9 inches tall, and weighing well over 250 pounds, the bespectacled killer’s imposing size belies a keen intelligence and disarmingly affable personal manner. He possesses a genius level IQ, which was discovered when he was institutionalized as a teenager following his grandparents’ murder. Since being sentenced to life in prison, Kemper has openly discussed his crimes, and his ability to psycho-analyze himself has made him a favorite interview subject of both law enforcement and psychiatric experts. 

Here are five of the most shocking interviews with Ed Kemper:

1. Front Page Detective Interview (1974)

Soon after his incarceration, Kemper granted an interview to the pulp true crime periodical, Front Page Detective magazine.

“Exclusive Interview with the Coed-Killing Giant: I WAS THE HUNTER AND THEY WERE THE VICTIMS,” reads the headline on its cover.

Inside, Kemper shared graphic details of his murders. When asked what he thought when he saw “a pretty girl walking down the street,” he famously answered... 

One side of me says, 'Wow, what an attractive chick. I'd like to talk to her, date her.' The other side of me says, ‘I wonder how her head would look on a stick?”

2. Interviews With The FBI

On several occasions, Kemper agreed to be interviewed by F.B.I. Special Agents John E. Douglas and Robert Ressler. Both worked in the Behavioral Science Unit and interviewed serial killers to better understand how to catch them. Douglas would later write the book "Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit," which chronicled his time with Kemper and other serial killers.

3. 'The Killing of America' Documentary (1982)

Along with Robert F. Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan and serial killer Elmer Wayne Henley, Kemper is one of the subjects interviewed in this morbid 1982 Japanese-American documentary. In her New York Times review of the film, famed critic Janet Maslin called it, “an examination of violence in America,” and said, “Is anything other than morbid curiosity served by an interview with the mass murderer Ed Kemper, in which Mr. Kemper calmly describes beheading his victims and then wondering if he wasn't just a little bit crazy?”

4. ‘Murder: No Apparent Motive’ Documentary (1984)

Kemper is one of several serial killers profiled in this 1984 film, which originally aired on HBO. In chilling detail, he recounts the gory details of his crimes, at one point claiming he cut off the heads of his victims because as a boy his father chopped the heads of his favorite pet chickens.

At another point, while discussing the night he killed his mother, Kemper breaks down in tears, saying, “I’m not a lizard. I’m not from under a rock. I came out of her vagina.”

5. Interview With Stéphane Bourgoin (1991)

A much more heavyset Kemper was seen in this extended interview footage with French true crime expert Stéphane Bourgoin. Filmed when he was 42 years old, Kemper is all too happy to recount his life story and the details of his crimes for the camera.

“Uh-oh we’re getting serious now,” Kemper goofily says at this beginning of this interview, before deep diving into his history of abuse, anger and ultimate violence.

Though many believe Kemper gave candid interviews, according to his half-brother David Weber, it’s all a ruse.  

“(Ed) is a complete sociopath,” he told the UK's Daily Mail. “He could look you straight in the eye telling you how sorry he is for everything he did while at the same time plotting your demise and you'd never even have a clue.”

To learn more about "The Co-Ed Killer," watch "Kemper on Kemper: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer" on Oxygen.