My Favorite Serial Killers: “The Co-Ed Killer”

It may sound morbid to say I have favorite serial killers, but I don’t mean it in the sense that I like the way they killed or that they exist at all. I just find them fascinating. We as humans have rules that we like to keep in order to feel safe, rules that respect the lives of the other people around us. When people decide they are above those rules or that those rules don’t apply to them we question their sanity. How did they get this way? Were they biologically destined to be different or did the environment they live in make them become unstable? There is a lot of discussion among psychologists and psychiatrists about these very questions.

Serial killers have been a subject of interest for decades. I’ve actually made a few friends thanks to my obsession with them. Over the next few months I’m going to discuss serial killers I find especially interesting and I thought I would start with the one I find the most fascinating: Edmund Kemper III. Also known as the “Co-Ed Killer”.

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Note: There is discussion of murder and sexual assault that may make some readers uncomfortable. Please read at your own discretion.

Edmund Kemper III was born in December 1948 in Burbank California. His murders took place from 1964 to 1973. They were happening during the same time as two other serial killers were at large which caused the Los Angeles area to become known as the Murder Capitol of the world.

Ed’s parents did not have a happy marriage. Ed’s mother was verbally abusive towards his father and his father finally couldn’t take it anymore and left the family when Ed was only nine years old. Ed saw his father as a war hero and idolized him. He hated his mother. His mother, Clarnell, was also verbally abusive to Ed. She didn’t mistreat her daughters, just Ed. She would yell at him for any little thing and made him sleep in the basement because she was afraid he would harm his sisters.

When Ed was a kid he tortured and killed animals. He would play games with his sisters where he would roll them up in a rug and they would see who could escape the fastest. He got a kick out of watching his sisters struggle. His mother would belittle him. She would make fun of his size. At fifteen he was already 6 foot 4 inches tall. His mother’s hatred towards him caused him to entertain dark fantasies of hurting her and others.

At fifteen he decided he wanted to go live with his father so he ran away to be with him. When he got there he discovered his father was remarried and that he had a step brother. He didn’t like his stepbrother and his step mother had a bad feeling about Ed. She finally told her husband that Ed had to go. So Edmund II sent fifteen year old Ed to live with his paternal grandparents on their farm.

Immediately Ed realized that his grandmother was a lot like his mother. She was domineering and verbally abusive. Ed and his grandmother would get into arguments all the time. One day, while his grandfather was in town running errands, Ed and his grandmother were having a particularly bad argument. Ed grabbed his .22 rifle and shot her in the head. When his grandfather pulled up Ed decided it would be better if he killed his grandfather than to let him see his wife dead. So he met his grandfather outside and shot him in the head too.

He didn’t know what to do so he called his mother. She told him he needed to call the police and turn himself in, so he did.  He was arrested and taken to Atascadero State Hospital after being deemed mentally incompetent. He stayed there until he was twenty one. When asked why he killed his grandparents he simply said, “I wanted know what it would be like to kill grandma.”

During his imprisonment he was evaluated by multiple psychiatrists. They did not believe that Ed suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, as he was originally diagnosed, but re-diagnosed him with Passive aggressive personality disorder. He was highly intelligent with an IQ of 140. He learned how his psychiatrists worked, and even helped evaluating other inmates, and used it to his advantage. At the age of 21 he had successfully convinced his doctors and social workers that he was no longer a danger to society so they released him. I’m sure to this day those who were involved in this decision are having a hard time living with it still.

Ed went back to live with his mother after his release. His mother had remarried and divorced and was working at a local community college. Ed started attending that same college. This is when it started getting bad. Ed and his mother were constantly fighting, he started dating a sixteen year old and he had gotten injured in an auto accident while on his motorcycle. His dark fantasies were still with him and they finally took over on May 7, 1972.

Ed had been picking up hitchhikers for months but on this particular day he decided he was going to kill the two girls he picked up. Mary Ann Pesce and Anita Luchessa were two eighteen year old college students who were looking for a ride to Stanford University. Ed picked them up and drove to a wooded area where he stabbed and strangled both women and stuffed them in his trunk. He then drove back to his apartment, took photos of the dead bodies, had sex with them and then dismembered them. Mary Ann’s remains were later found near Loma Prieta Mountain, Anita’s remains were never found.

He went on to kill four other women. Aiko Koo, a fifteen year old girl that he killed and left in his trunk while he went to have a beer at a local bar that his police friends frequented. Cindy Schall, who’s skull he kept for several days for sex and buried in his backyard, facing up at his mother’s bedroom window. Rosalind Thorpe and Allison Lui who he picked up, shot and beheaded in his car right in the street in front of his mother’s house. All of these women he kept for a few days to have sex with then dismembered and discarded their bodies.

He finally hit his target on April 20, 1973. His mother came home late from a party that night. He waited for her to fall asleep then he beat her to death with a claw hammer. He removed her head and had sex with it. He then used it as a dart board. He put her larynx in the garbage disposal in an effort to, “shut her up forever.” He finally stuffed her body in a closet.

He thought of how to get away with it, since her coworkers would notice when she didn’t show up for work. So he invited his mother’s best friend over for a surprise dinner. She arrived and Ed killed her, cut off her head and stuffed her in the closet. With the two of them missing, people would assume they went off on a weekend trip together and not worry. Ed took off.

He decided in the end it wasn’t worth the stress of being on the run. He turned himself in. His cop friends thought he was joking. They couldn’t believe that their friend, who had wanted to become a cop himself, was the one who had been responsible for the co-ed killings. He was charged for eight counts of first degree murders and sentenced to life in prison. He’s still in prison to this day.

The thing I find so fascinating about Ed Kemper is his ability to manipulate his doctors into thinking he was okay enough to be back in society. He used his intelligence to gain his freedom and then acted on his violent, dark thoughts. He hated his mother so much that it caused him to take it out on other women. I’m also fascinated with how much a mother can impact a child’s psyche. He justified killing and completely destroy those women because he was too afraid to kill his mother, who was the intended target. As a mother to boys it makes me worry about my own parenting. But if Ed had grown up in a stable home with a loving mother would he have been different? Or would he have still been a killer, just because of his brain chemistry?

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Who I Am Without Medication

This is sometimes a hard subject for me to talk about. No one wants to tell the world they’re on anti-depressants. People give you weird looks like there’s something terminally wrong with you and they don’t know how to react. Some people are understanding and don’t ask any questions, they just know that it happens. I can tell you I would much rather be on them than not.

I had tried in the past to not “need” them. I told myself my problems weren’t that bad or that I didn’t want to be dependent on something to make me happy or to even admit that I was depressed, but I was. I still suffer from it. It’s just one of those things that gets out of whack.

It all started when I realized my anxiety was out of control after I had my first born. I would have panic attacks at work, just balling my eyes out and feeling exhausted by the time I got home. I remember I would feel so pent up at work that I wanted to hurt myself. When I was home it was more manageable but I would still be on edge all the time. I would do whatever Cillian needed but when it came to myself I would get angry at my body for its basic needs. I didn’t want to do anything for myself. I didn’t want to leave the house, I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t even want to get up to use the bathroom. I would get immediately angry at my body if I felt the urge to pee and it would affect me for the rest of the day. I literally just wanted to lay in bed and never get up. I finally realized how ridiculous it was to be angry at myself for needing to do basic human things so I got help. I started going to therapy and taking an anti-depressant. It helped me so much. My anxiety lessened and I felt more like doing things and being around other people.

I got off of them when I felt like I would be okay without them. Again I was telling myself that I didn’t want to be dependent on something to be happy for the rest of my life. Once I got pregnant with my second son I started to notice the old feelings coming back. I didn’t get back on the medication while I was pregnant because I didn’t want it to affect the development of my baby but looking back I should have. I was so angry while I was pregnant with Felix and I think it was going way beyond normal pregnancy hormones. I was so angry all the time. It was like this anger was just a part of me. It made me very antisocial and it pushed people away. It made me harsher towards Cillian and I had no patience with him. I found myself yelling at him and getting onto him, even losing my temper with him in public. I’m tearing up now remembering it. I was a monster and it didn’t get any better after I had Felix. I just stayed angry.

I decided I needed to get back on my anti-depressant. It helped a little but I didn’t think it was doing much. I had my doctor up the dosage and it helped more. I took them for a year then decided to start weaning myself off of them. I noticed on the days I didn’t take them I was happier than on the days I did take them. I concluded that it wasn’t working anymore and stopped taking them altogether. That was a mistake. My anger came back in full force and I started being impatient with my children and being mean to everyone. I couldn’t stand being around anyone and I had no control over my thoughts. They were full of malice and judgement. I would focus so much on the shortcomings of others and it made me bitter towards everyone. I literally would hear this awful, evil voice in my head saying mean and judgemental things about others and myself all day, every day.

I wanted to start hurting myself again. I couldn’t deal with it anymore so I started a new medication. Immediately I felt the affects of the medication. It was amazing. I hadn’t felt that good in years. It was like I had been exorcised of the demon that had a hold over me for so long. Day by day that little voice in my head was silenced and it only comes back every once in a while when I’ve had a bad day or something particularly triggering happens.

I’ve had to distance myself from people because they have been very negative or mean in their own ways, not to me but to other people. I can’t be around people who just complain all the time or talk bad about people behind their backs because it makes me become just as mean and negative. I start to fall back into my old habits of doing the same things and feeling the same way and that’s not who I want to be. I like being happy and being happy for others. I hate being negative and angry. I have to try every day to keep those feelings at bay, to keep that angry person out of my head so that I can be happy and love others the way I’m supposed to.

My relationship with my children is so much better and that’s really the main reason I got back on my medication. I don’t want them to remember me as this screeching, angry mom. I grew up with a mom like that and it has left it’s mark. I want them to remember me as a mom they had fun with, who was sweet to them and wanted to be around them. Something like what I wanted and didn’t get.

I tell you all this because it’s not a bad thing to take medication for your mood. Sometimes it’s what you need to be you again. There’s no shame in wanting to be happy and if taking medication is what you have to do then do it. Don’t worry about what others will think of you if they find out. Anyone who loves you or cares about you will be glad you’re doing this for yourself. If you’re a parent it’s more important that you take care of yourself, you have little people depending on you and if you can’t take care of yourself you can’t properly take care of them.

I feel so much better and I do hope that one day I can be happy without them but until then this is what I have to do. It is well worth it.

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https://pixabay.com/en/apothecary-pharmacy-chemist-437743/

Be Careful How You Treat People

*Warning: There is discussion of rape and murder in this post that some people may find offensive. Please read with caution. All photos are from Google images.*

*Disclaimer: Not everyone who is diagnosed with a personality disorder is a serial killer. There are a lot of things that make a person a serial killer and simply having a personality disorder does not make someone a serial killer. Many people with personality disorders live normal lives and are completely harmless. It is actually rare for someone with a personality disorder to become a serial killer.

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I want to talk about something that actually scares me: the real monsters of this world.

One of my favorite subjects to discuss is serial killers. They fascinate so many people for lots of reasons but the main one is because for those of us who’s brain’s function “normally”, it’s hard for us to comprehend why a person would commit the things these people have. I am not a psychologist and have no professional expertise on serial killers and why they do the things they do. I just have done a lot of research on them and go with information I have heard from actual psychologists.

There isn’t any one particular thing that will cause a person to become a serial killer. It takes a combination of a lot of factors for a person to get to that point but the most common have to do with abuse in their childhood, an injury to their head or an unfortunate chemistry in their brain they are born with that results in personality disorder.

Ted Bundy was someone who had a personality disorder. As you can see in the photo above he looked like an average guy. He honestly just looks like a guy you would see at the grocery store or someone you might work with. The thing about serial killers is they hide in plain sight. The idea that these people are just walking among us, that we come in contact with these people at any time, scares the crap out of me.

Ted Bundy was described as a guy who was good looking, charismatic, kind. Ann Rule, true crime novelist and who worked with Ted Bundy at a suicide hotline, said that he was very comforting to those who called in. He would even walk her to her car at night because of “dangerous people” out there. This man was, to sum it up, a sociopath. He would hide his true nature under a guise of kindness and likeability. The list of crimes he committed include:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Necrophilia
  • Decapitation
  • Kidnapping
  • Theft

This man was a literal snake in the grass. But he was able to get away with it for so long because no one would suspect someone like Bundy because he was just so helpful and nice. Ted bundy had a plethora of disorders including: bipolar disorder, anti-social personality disorder and multiple personality disorder.

When we think about a serial killer we tend to think this person would be weird or different, that there’s just something off about them. Those things may be true but you won’t see it unless you were to spend a lot of time with that person. There are people who have married or been involved with serial killers and have seen the oddities that come along with them. A lot of times though those personalities will attract similar personalities so sometimes the ‘quirks’ are written off. Sometimes, the partner may even help the killer with their endeavors.

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Take these two for example, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, known as the Ken and Barbie killers. These two were a killing duo. Karla would lure victims for Paul to rape and then they would murder the victims together. Their very first victim was Karla’s very own teenage sister. Paul had commented that he wanted to take the girl’s virginity so Karla decided to offer her to him as a birthday present. They got the girl drunk and he raped her. She started to come to right in the middle of being assaulted so to keep her quiet they covered her mouth and in doing so they accidentally suffocated her to death. They did all this with Karla’s parents just upstairs.

Sometimes it isn’t a spouse or significant other, sometimes it’s just another deranged mind.

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These two guys are Roy Norris and Lawrence Bittaker, also known as the Toolbox Killers. Can you guess what they used to kill their victims with? These two met in prison. They exchanged stories of the things they’d done and it turned into a partnership. When they were both released they met up and began killing, raping and torturing five teenage girls in southern California in 1979. They used pliers, ice picks, sledgehammers and wire hangers to mutilate and strangle these girls.

Personality can play a big role in how a person thinks and perceives the world, but I believe it’s the way you treat people that will make or break a future serial killer. According to the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 36% of serial killers were physically abused in their childhood, 26% were sexually abused and 50% were psychologically abused. These numbers are as close as they can get because most killers are liars and aren’t always the most reliable source.

 

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This man is Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer. He killed close to a hundred women. In his childhood his mother was physically, emotionally and sexually abusive to him. She would shame him in front of his siblings when he would wet his bed by bathing him in front of them, mainly focusing on his private area. He was very confused and became attracted to his mother. His main victims were sex workers because they were such easy targets, no one would miss them. He has said,

“My plan was I wanted to kill as many women I thought were prostitutes as I possibly could. I picked prostitutes as my victims because I hate most prostitutes and I did not want to pay them for sex. I also picked prostitutes for victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed.”

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Another killer who was abused as a child was John Wayne Gacy. His father would beat him with a belt, a broom handle and his own fists. He would belittle him and call him stupid or not good enough. John was always trying to prove himself to his father but he could never make him proud. His father would beat him and yell at him for absolutely no reason and called him a mama’s boy and that he’d grow up to be a queer. He indeed was a homosexual but had to hide it for fear that his father would hate him even more. John Gacy started to rape teenage boys. He would lure them to his house and force them to perform oral sex on him. He eventually started killing these boys after too many had told on him. He buried them under his house. They found 28 bodies in his crawl space. He was also diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder.

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The newest, or should I say fastest growing type of serial killer: School shooter. This is Dimitrios Pagourtzis. Last May this young man walked into his school in Santa Fe, Texas with a .38 caliber revolver and killed ten people. Mass shootings are taking place more and more often in America. Yes mental illness may play a role but I honestly believe it has a lot more to do with bullying. They way a person is treated, in my opinion, is what would more likely cause a person to lash out and want to hurt others. Look at all those serial killers. They were all pushed off the edge by someone in their lives. They wanted to prove that no one was going to bully them anymore. That they would be the ones in control.

1 in 25 people are sociopaths. That could be one kid in each classroom across America. Imagine if that one kid is the kid that everyone picks on all day, every day.

Be Kind. It could save lives.