“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” ― William Makepeace Thackeray. Mothers are indeed God in the eyes of a child. Mothers not only protect and teach us, they provide our initial spiritual guidance as well as inspire their children to become better. As a self-proclaimed “mama’s boy,” I could go on and on about the endearing qualities of motherhood, which saddens me as I write this post.
A week or so ago I was surfing through the internet and happened across a young man and his video. Though he was considered a rapper, this was not a music video.
This video was of him going into Chase bank and withdrawing $20,000. The young man then returned to the sidewalk outside the bank and the adjacent parking lot and began throwing money in the air as well as handing hundreds of dollars out to passersby. Now, being as broke as I am, I was instantly offended, however my envy would soon turn to disgust as I read further. In the video, the young man, Qaw’mane Wilson, claimed he was “giving back,” to his fans. The article however, read that this young man had allegedly arranged for two of his friends to murder his mother, an owner of a popular hair salon on the west side of Chicago. The cash that was being thrown around was the money he collected from her bank account and insurance policies.
The mere thought of committing an act of violence against my mother sickens me. There must be a special place in hell reserved for a child that murders their own mother. Throughout modern history, various cases of matricide have been documented. Though instances of this despicable act are many, none have paralleled the vileness of serial killer and necrophile, Edmund Kemper.
Born in Burbank, CA on December 18, 1948; Kemper was said to be a bright child. After his parents divorced in 1957, he and his sister was raised by his mother, Clarnell, in Helena, Montana. Diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, his mother was a violent alcoholic who would constantly belittle, humiliate and verbally abuse him. It was during this period that Edmund developed a cruelty toward animals. Due to his increasingly erratic behavior, Kemper was forced to sleep in a locked basement. His mother feared that he would sexually abuse his sister.
After a short stay with his father, Kemper was sent to North Fork, California live with his paternal grandparents on their ranch in 1963. There Kemper received the
same, if not worse, verbal and emotional abuses from his grandmother. Everything came to a head on August 27, 1964. After an argument, Kemper shot his grandmother in the head. Some reports claim that he also stabbed her with a kitchen knife after shooting her. When his grandfather came home from grocery shopping, Kemper went outside and fatally shot him in the driveway. Edmund immediately called his mother who urged him to call the police. During questioning, Kemper was asked why he committed this atrocity; his response was simply, “I just wanted to see what it felt like to kill Grandma”. He added that he killed his grandfather because he knew that he would be angry at him for what he had done to his grandmother. Kemper was committed to the Atascadero State Hospital and released in 1969. At the time of his release, Kemper had grown to 6 ft. 9 inches, with a weight close to 300 lbs.
Having been convicted as a juvenile and serving less than five years, Kemper began a fresh start. Against the wishes of several doctors at the hospital, he was released into his mother’s care. Kemper eventually got a job with the State of California’s Department of Public Works/Division of Highways in District 4 now called Caltrans or California Department of Transportation.
The verbal abuse from Kemper’s mother escalated over the years. The constant belittling and berating caused something evil inside of Edmund to grow and in 1972 it surfaced. On May 7, 1972, Kemper was driving in Berkeley. Mary Ann Pesce and Anita Luchessa, both 18, were Fresno State students attempting to get to nearby Stanford University after spending a few days in Berkeley. Kemper picked up the two hitchhikers. After driving them around for a bit, he took his gun out from under the seat and pulled off into a deserted area. He put Anita in the trunk of his car. He stabbed Mary Ann to death and slashed her throat. He removed Anita from the trunk and, with a larger knife, stabbed her to death. He drove around in his 1969 Ford for a while with the bodies in the trunk, trying to decide what to do. He eventually took them back to his apartment, took lewd photographs of the naked corpses then dismembered them. Kemper had oral sex with Pesce’s severed head then put the body parts in plastic bags and disposed of them. He later tossed the severed heads into a ravine.
On the night of September 14, 1972, Kemper picked up 15-year-old Aiko Koo, who had decided to hitchhike to dance class after missing the bus and was afraid of being late. The Korean dancer caught sight of his gun and began to panic. After convincing her that the gun was to kill himself, he stopped his car at the side of a road and strangled her to death, and then had sex with her corpse. After stopping at a local bar for a couple of beers, Kemper to the corpse back to his apartment; dissected her and disposed of the body parts.
Cindy Schall was a 19-year-old Cabrillo College student. On January 7, 1973 Kemper picked her up and shot her in the head with a .22 caliber pistol. Placing her body in the trunk of his car, Edmund drove back to his mother’s house, where he dissected her in a bathtub. He buried her severed head in his mother’s garden as a joke and discarded the rest of her remains in a ravine.
After a fierce argument with his mother, Kemper met 24-year-old Rosalind Thorpe and 23-year-old Alice Liu on the UC Santa Cruz campus. After leaving the university grounds, Kemper fatally shot Thorpe and Liu with a .22 caliber pistol. He then wrapped their bodies in blankets, and placed them both in the backseat of his car. Once he reached a secluded area, Kemper raped both of the corpses. The next morning, he dismembered their bodies and discarded the remains off in Eden Canyon near San Francisco.
On Friday, April 20, 1973, Kemper fell asleep at home waiting on his mother to return from a party. When he awoke, she was in her room reading. As he entered the room she said, “I suppose you’re going to want to sit up all night and talk now”. Kemper replied, “No, good night”, before beating her to death with a claw hammer. He then decapitated her and used her severed head for oral sex before finally using it as a dart board. He then removed her vocal cords and attempted dispose of them in the garbage disposal. Kemper then invited a friend of his mother, 59 year old Sally Hallett, over to the house. When she arrived, he strangled her to death.
Kemper often drank with law enforcement officers at his favorite watering holes. It would be to one of these officers that he confessed the true nature of each and every one of his crimes. At his trial, he pleaded “not guilty” by reason of insanity. He was found guilty in November 1973 of eight counts of murder. Though he requested the death penalty, due to a moratorium on capital punishment at that time he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Edmund Kemper currently resides at California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California.