Ed Kemper is a notorious name in true crime, whose case stirred renewed interest when his story was featured in Netflix’s “Mindhunter.” Kemper was convicted of eight counts of first-degree murder and was given a penalty of eight life sentences. He is also known as “The Co-Ed Killer,” a moniker given to him as his victims were mostly female students that hitchhiked near a university.
However, that wasn’t Kemper’s first brush with the law. In 1964, when he was 15 years old, Kemper was admitted to the Atascadero State Hospital, a mental institution, after he shot and killed his grandparents, (via The New York Post).
As reported by Psychology Today, had a troubled childhood and was allegedly physically and emotionally abused by his mother, who would be one of his last victims. In the early 1970s, he killed a total of six female students. In 1973, when he was 24 years old, Kemper was still living with his mother and after a bad argument, he killed her while she slept. Afterward, he called her mother’s best friend, Sara “Sally” Hallett, to come over, and she became his final victim.
Ed Kemper's confession
It isn’t known when Ed Kemper would have been caught if it wasn’t for his confession. According to Women’s Health, Kemper was already on his way to skip town after killing his mother but had a change of heart in the middle of his drive. Instead of fleeing, he called the Santa Cruz Police Department to come clean of his crimes.
At first, the police were skeptical of his confession as they knew Ed from bars and even drank and had conversations with him. With a 6-foot, 9-inch height, the police he hung out with gave him the nickname “Big Ed.” Kemper also wanted to be a police officer but his height was a hindrance. In the confession call, (via Inside Detective), Kemper said, “I killed my mother and her friend. And I killed those college girls.” He gave them other details of the crimes and after verifying the information, the police were finally convinced that the guy they know as Big Ed was the same “Co-Ed Killer” that they have been looking for.
Kemper called in his confession using a telephone booth in Pueblo, Colorado, and he stayed and waited at that location until the police arrested him. In an interview with Front Page Detective‘s March 1974 issue, Kemper said that he confessed so that he “wouldn’t kill again.”
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