Very Scary People (2019–…): Season 2, Episode 7 - The Co-ed Killer Part 1: The Murder Capital of the World - full transcript

Desperate for answers community members live in terror waiting for the man dubbed the Co-Ed Killer to strike again.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -

Kemper: I lived as an ordinary person most of my life,

even though I was living a parallel

and increasingly sick life.


I'm picking up young women

and I'm going a little bit farther each time.

This fantastic passion, it was like drugs.

It was like alcohol.

A little isn't enough.

At first, it is, and, as you adjust to that,

psychologically and physically,

you take more and more and more.

It's the same process.






Welcome to "Very Scary People."

I'm Donnie Wahlberg.

In the early '70s,

Santa Cruz, California, was a paradise ...

beautiful weather, ocean beaches,

friendly, laid-back ...

until young women started disappearing.

It was hard to imagine what was really happening.

There was a killer on the loose

and the city had become a hunting ground.

Soon, it would be known as the "murder capital of the world."



Anita Luchessa and Mary Anne Pesce

were roommates at Fresno State.

They were hitchhiking to Stanford.


Hitchhiking, at that time, was part of the youth culture.

I mean, it was just what everybody did,

wherever they went.

Honig: Anita was 18, from a farming community,

and it was her first time hitchhiking.

Mary Anne was from outside L.A.

She was also 18 and she was one of five kids.


Seems like he's a normal guy.

They treat him fairly normally in the car.


He's having a very normal conversation with them.


They don't know they're in danger.


He's looking back in the window,

trying to figure out, "Are they casing me?

Are they looking at me funny?"

No, everything seems to be

on the level with these girls.

They're just trying to get to their destination.

They don't suspect a thing.


Because he knows the highways so well, it's really easy

for him to kind of take a turn, take a turn.

The girls don't realize they're off-track

from their destinations.

He's able to get them to a rural area before they realize it.


By this time, the girls figured out

that something was terribly wrong

and they started to freak out.


He tells the girls, "I'm not going to kill you.

I'm not here to rape you," essentially.

He thinks that's going to sort of

calm them down a little bit.

Obviously, this does not calm any woman,

so they're fighting back against him.

He quickly figures out that it's going to be easier

if he separates the two girls.


So he puts Anita in the trunk

and he stabs Mary Anne, who fights for her life.


After he kills Mary Anne, he then has to deal with Anita,

who's in the trunk.

Dowd: She has been in there the entire time,

hearing what is going on, so she has to know

that her friend is either mortally wounded or dead

and she also has to know that that's coming for her next.

He opens up the trunk, where he realizes he is covered in blood,

but he doesn't want to alarm the other woman

and he tells her, "Your friend got smart with me,

so I had to hit her.

That's why there's blood on me."

As if that's going to make this woman feel

any better about the situation.

But there's something in his mind that seems to think

this is how people talk to each other

and maybe this will calm her.

So Anita tries to get away from him,

but she never had a chance.

He stabs her before she can get out of the trunk.


So he kills both women

in this really frantic sort of scene.


The horrible aspect of this is

that he was pulled over by a police officer

when he had the two bodies in his trunk of his car.

He had a broken taillight.

Dowd: He knows how to talk to police.

He says, "Oh, hey, sorry about that, Officer.

I'll get that fixed."

And he invited the police officer to, "Go ahead,

open the trunk, if you want to look in it."

And he decided that he was going to have to murder the cop,

if he opened the trunk.


But he never did.

So then, he drives off, a free man.

What happened next is truly unimaginable.


He takes the bodies, takes them back to his apartment.

He dismembers them.

He particularly seems to enjoy beheading his victims.

At that point, then, he'll rape the bodies repeatedly,

usually over a couple of days.



Aluffi: I was working as a detective

for the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office.

We got the report of a human head

that was found up in Loma Prieta,

which is in the mountains back up out of Santa Cruz.

It was decomposed to the point where

we couldn't identify the sex of the victim,

so we brought it back to have it analyzed

and do all of the forensic work on it.

Through dental charts, we eventually discovered

that it was a young female out of Fresno.

I was a reporter for the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper

and the first story I ever did for the newspaper was that

they had identified the victim of a skull that was found.

The head belonged to Mary Anne Pesce,

the Fresno State student.

She'd gone missing three months earlier

with her roommate, Anita.


That was the atmosphere into which I stepped

my very first day of work,

as a beginning reporter, in 1972.



Aiko Koo was 15 years old,

well-regarded sort of dancer, up-and-coming.

She had, unfortunately, missed the bus

to go to her dance class in San Francisco,

so she's out in Berkeley, hitchhiking.

She's got a little sign saying where she wants to go.

A 20-something-year-old man offered her a ride.


Dowd: He takes her on the highway,

takes her on a different route.

She doesn't realize that they've totally missed

where they should've gone.

He drives to the middle of nowhere.

Honig: And Aiko Koo was never seen again.


The information came into the sheriff's office

during this time that there was a guy

who had apparently had a history of violence

and the cops had found out that he had purchased a gun.


We saw that he had been convicted

of very serious felonies in another jurisdiction

and his record had been sealed by a judge.

So we made the decision, myself and my partner,

to go and confiscate the weapon and submit the information

to our local judge, to get a judicial decision

as to whether or not he could own that handgun.

And the sheriff's department, in fact,

they were kidding about it, they said,

"This guy is supposedly 6'9"

and we've been asked to go take his gun away from him."

Everybody laughed and said,

"Well, we'll give this to the new kid,"

because I was the junior detective.



Santa Cruz detectives had recently heard

that a local man had bought a gun illegally.

They had found out about his juvenile record

and they realized he shouldn't have firearms in his house

and so they went out to talk to him.

Myself and my partner drove out to Aptos,

which is like a suburb of the city of Santa Cruz,

and it's kind of a complicated neighborhood.

There were several places with the same address,

so we couldn't find it. We knocked on some doors,

couldn't find anything.

So, as we're getting ready to leave,

this car pulls up.

I'll never forget it.

And I told my partner, I said,

"I'm going to go ask him if he knows

where this guy, Kemper, is."

So I go over there and I said, "Excuse me,

can I talk to you for a second?"


And he said, "Sure," so he got out of the car

and he got out of the car,

and he got out of the car.

And I told my partner, I says, "I think we found him,"

because he is just huge.

He just towered over us.

Kemper: They were looking for me

and didn't even know.

See what I mean?

Aluffi: So, I told him what we were there for

and he said, "Oh, certainly. I understand."

He understood why we were taking the gun.

He says, "It's in the house."

He was very friendly, seemed like a nice guy,

very personable, very articulate.

I don't wanna advertise

that I've got a whole bunch of guns

because that loaded .22 was under the front seat

and would guarantee me an arrest right on the spot.


Aluffi: So we go to the house

and he walks in the front door

and we walk in the front door with him.


There was a sofa there with somebody sleeping

and he says, "Oh, wait a minute," he says,

"that's my mother. She's asleep."

The man leads them into his bedroom

before he realizes his mistake.

And the closet door's open

and I have a high-powered rifle with a scope on it.

I had the personal effects and identification

of the last two coeds that had been murdered,

about two months before,

right next to the guns, in the closet, in a box.

I back up. I said, "Oh, excuse me.

I just remembered something."

Aluffi: So he said, "The gun's actually,

it's in the trunk of my car."


So I said, "Okay, let's go get it."

And, instantly, back we go outside,

and he's still thinking, "Boy, this is a really nice

and helpful guy, here."

Aluffi: So I opened up the trunk

and there was a bundle there.

It was like in a lightweight blanket.

It was wrapped up in it, so, I opened it up,

and there was the gun.

So, we took the gun and told him,

"Okay, we'll find out.

We'll let you know what happened."

He willingly gave the gun up

and there was nothing more said about it.

And, of course, detectives had no idea

that that man had killed 15-year-old Aiko Koo

two days before, on her way to a ballet class.


Nowhere, in anybody's mind,

did they connect him with these cases,

but he did connect it.

He thought, "Oh, no, they're on to me."


Aluffi: Extreme paranoia had set in with him.

He thought that we were playing cat and mouse with him

and that we knew what he was doing.

Dowd: But, of course, no one had a clue.

Honig: The man was very careful to cover his tracks

because he knew he had more killing to do.

Kemper: And this craving, this awful,

raging, eating feeling inside,

I could feel it consuming my insides.


In October, another female college student goes missing.

What was really upsetting

about the first cases of the missing women

was that, when a parent would call in about a missing child,

they would tell the parents to relax,

they'll probably return home in a few days.

"Be patient. Your daughter probably just ran away."

It was the '70s, when a lot of kids ran away from home

and the cops didn't do much about it.

There are tons of people throughout the state

that turn up missing for various reasons,

whether they be runaways

or maybe they're victims of a crime.

But those reports are filed constantly.

It's kind of hard to keep on top of all of them.


And, of course, panic is taking over

in the small town of Santa Cruz.

There were really no clues.

Dowd: All people can do is speculate

about who is committing these crimes.




Young women were going missing

in the beachside community of Santa Cruz

and police had just found the skull of one of those women,

a college student named Mary Anne Pesce.

Adams: I think all of us got concerned.

This is kind of crazy.

We really didn't understand what was going on.

[ Radio crackles ]


In the new year, there was another grisly discovery.

A highway patrolman found a woman's body parts

on the side of the road.

One torso washed up at the

main beach in Santa Cruz,

right near the main wharf.

Somebody found it and called the police department.

The body parts belonged to a woman

who went missing about a week before.

Her name was Cynthia Schall.


At first, there was a disbelief in the whole issue,

"This can't be happening in our community."

But it was happening.

Reporter: Why do you think this is happening here?

I have no idea.

Panic is taking over in the small town of Santa Cruz.


I remember being at dinner at somebody's house

and we heard a scream and we all ran outside

because we thought maybe this was the next case,

something had gone on.

Turned out it was kids playing.

It was crazy time.

Dowd: All people can do is speculate

about who is committing these crimes.

Adams: I don't think anybody thought it was a townsperson.

I don't think anybody believed it was a student that did this.

I think people, pretty much like myself,

were convinced that there are some other people

that come in and out of Santa Cruz ...

it was that kind of community ... that was doing this.


This was such a confusing time

because there were really no clues.

Why all these murders here?


Well, one reason is

that we have a homicidal maniac, apparently.

When people did find remains,

they would usually call the police department

and then, whatever forensics was available at the time

was done on the remains, in hopes of identifying them.

Aluffi: In those days, they couldn't do

DNA, anything like that.

You could maybe get a blood type

and that was pretty much it.

Verbugge: We would ascertain the blood type

and then do searches for missing persons

with a similar blood type and, hopefully,

work out IDs through that manner.


Some of the victims, as far as we knew,

were female hitchhikers.


Honig: Hitchhikers were all over town.

It was the way you got around, if you didn't have a car.

Hitchhiking was particularly important in Santa Cruz

because the UC-Santa Cruz campus is on top of the hill

and it's a fairly extensive walk down to the downtown,

where all the restaurants and things were.

If you drove up on campus, there would be a group

of 12, 14, 16 people, all hitchhiking.

Adams: You'd just stop your car, if you were faculty

or a staff member, and pick up some students.

I even picked up students all the time.

It was just part of everyday life in Santa Cruz.


These murders raised anxiety on campus,

as it did probably every college in the Bay Area.

That raised our eyebrows,

as to, "We have to be concerned about our students."

And we went on this big campaign

to discourage people from hitchhiking.

Bulletin boards were installed on campus that read,

"When possible, girls, especially,

stay in the dorms after midnight,

with doors locked.

If you must be out at night, walk in pairs."

Verbugge: Every newspaper we had contact with,

they were asked to put stories, warnings in there.

Being a hitchhiker, especially a female hitchhiker,

is very, very dangerous.


I used to hitchhike 'cause I have classes at night.

I have a ballet class off-campus at night

and, out of necessity to get to it on time,

I had to hitchhike.

And I stopped now.

Reporter: Why?

Well, I'm afraid,

to put it point-blank.

Hitching is dangerous.

There's no question about it.


Dowd: But that was only the half of it.

Santa Cruz was ground zero

for another string of murders at the same time,

and these murders didn't seem related to female hitchhikers.

A homeless man was found brutally murdered

and a priest was stabbed inside his own confessional.

We started getting all kinds of homicides

that were occurring throughout the county.

In early 1973,

a young mother and her two boys were found shot to death.

Aluffi: Santa Cruz was a safe place,

in those days.

Our crime base was pretty much like car thefts,

burglaries, things of that nature.

Sometimes we'd get the occasional armed robbery.

And, in a period of about eight months,

we had, I think it was 26 or 28 homicides.


We only had one little newspaper.

It's called the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

And, on the front page, they had

"Santa Cruz...the "murder capital of the world."


We're trying to figure out what was going on

because there were different types of crimes.

One was shootings,

the others were like dismembered females.

These crimes don't seem to be connected at all.

Aluffi: A lot of these women that were being dismembered,

that kind of fits one profile,

where the others fit a different profile.

We didn't know whether there was one killer or several killers.

All we knew was that our safe town wasn't the same anymore.

And I think that was confusing to the police,

who were trying to figure out, "How can we profile this?"

But before they could figure that out,

two more women went missing.


I opened my office door, after hearing a knock,

and there were several students there, and they said to me,

"Rosalind Thorpe is missing."

23-year-old Rosalind Thorpe disappeared

after getting out of an evening class

and she was hitching a ride off the UC campus.


And, because there were all these rumors

about coeds being killed,

they were very concerned about her.

I knew her from the time I came as a counseling psychologist

in April of '69,

so I knew her as a bouncy, energized,

enthusiastic, adventurous,

willing to take chances ...

a real mensch.

As it turned out, another student,

a quiet Asian young woman by the name of Alice Liu,

went missing the same night.

They were seen waiting for a hitchhike on campus.


Reporter: Alice Liu and Rosalind Thorpe

were last seen February 5th, while hitchhiking from campus.

Alice Liu and Rosalind Thorpe,

they didn't even know each other.


The girls were picked up at the foot of the campus.

Morrison: He was not threatening to them.

He looked like a regular guy

who was just out to give them a nice ride.



Welcome back to "Very Scary People."

By February 1973,

the city of Santa Cruz was in a panic.

So many murders, people of all ages and types ...

men, women ... no one felt safe.

The killings seemed random,

but many of the victims were young women,

college students, last seen hitchhiking.

They would have no idea that the shy man who picked them up

had dark secrets and a violent past.


Honig: In December of 1969,

a young man walks out of Atascadero State Hospital

in Southern California.

He was there for killing his grandparents

when he was just 15 years old.


He shot his grandmother, once in the back of the head

and twice in the back.



And then, after he kills his grandmother,

his grandfather comes home

and he explains this as, "Well, I can't have

my grandfather be upset to see his wife dead,

so I might as well kill him, too."



And so he shot and killed

his grandfather as well,

whom he actually had a very close relationship with.

He then goes inside, picks up the phone,

calls his mother,

confesses the whole thing to her,

and she tells him, "You need to call the police."


He goes, calls the police, confesses,

and they take him into custody.

[Flashbulb explodes]


So he went to court and he was essentially found

insane, legally insane.

He was sentenced to serve his time as a juvenile

at Atascadero State Hospital, in Atascadero,

and that was the place that a lot of criminals

with mental illnesses were housed.


Back then, Atascadero was a place

for sexual deviants, pedophiles, rapists.

It's about the worst place for a young man to come of age.

Kemper: I was 15 years old when I went there.

Honig: I can only imagine what it must've been like for Ed,

being in a mental hospital in his teenage years,

when, all of a sudden, your body hormones start screaming at you.

I can only imagine what demons were coming out

while he was maturing from a boy into an adult.

When he went to the mental hospital,

they ran the whole gamut of tests on him

and they felt that he was criminally insane

and then started treating him.

Well, it turns out he was a model prisoner

and he was very smart

and he figured out what the game was with the doctors all along.

He's a highly manipulative person.

He got involved in administering tests to other patients

and he learned from them.

And what he's basically learning is terminology, diagnoses,

criteria, various mental disorders,

and he's going to use this information that he's got

to convince the staff that they cured him.

So he became very, very familiar with the different tests,

how they're interpreted, how they're scored, and so on.

He learned what the correct answers were,

he knew how to manipulate it,

and he was very bright and knowledgeable

about issues of psychiatry.

Dowd: He was nice and quiet.

He took pride in his work.

Schlesinger: He's smart enough to know

that he should keep fantasies private

and keep it to himself.

When you get evaluated by a psychiatrist, psychologist,

or some other mental health person,

they could only know what's in your mind

if you reveal it to them!

And, when you look at him, he's not psychotic,

he doesn't hear voices, he's not delusional,

he's not a behavior problem.

He's bright, he's friendly, likable.

Dowd: He was smart. He was very smart.

At one point, he was given an IQ test.

He scored a 140, which is considered highly intelligent.

Kemper: Ironically, I have a high IQ.

I always thought I was a little missing up here, a little short.


Dowd: So they really trusted him, and they trusted

that he was being rehabilitated.

He seemed like a good, moral citizen.

At least, that's what everyone thought at the time.

He knew what it took to get considered non-dangerous

and to be released from Atascadero,

and he did it.

Honig: After spending five years in Atascadero,

he got released, at age 21.

The staff at Atascadero had recommended

that he not go back into society fully,

that he go to a halfway house.

The doctors were adamant about one thing ...

that the 21-year-old should stay far away from his mother.


Kemper: My mother was a sick, angry,

hungry, and very sad woman.

I hated her.

California youth authority

had a different idea,

and they released him to the custody of his mother.

Narrator: He was released to the one person

that authorities at the state mental hospital

recommended he never see again.

His mother was now working on the campus of UC-Santa Cruz,

but this was a woman who had been harassing him

since he was a child.

Kemper: I had an upbringing that was ...

some have called dysfunctional.

Schlesinger: His parents didn't get along.

They fought all the time.

His mother was an alcoholic.

Kemper: I was very intimidated by her.

She's 6'0" tall, she weighs two and a quarter,

225 pounds.

She's just this great, big woman who I was terrified of.


His father decides to leave the family

and he took that as an abandonment,

I suppose you could say,

but he also lost someone who was keeping him in check.

Dowd: His mother is very unbalanced.

He quotes his father as saying serving in the war

was easier than living with his wife.

Kemper: She wanted him to change this,

she wanted him to change that,

and he couldn't handle that.

After 13 years, he'd had enough.

So his mother moves the family to Montana

after she divorces and separates from her husband.


Kemper: My mother, she tried psychological tactics.

She tried, "I'm going to put you in an orphanage.

I'm going to disavow you," and terror tactics ...

"Okay, we're going to eat dinner and I'm going

to beat your ass afterwards," you know,

so I could think about it for a half hour.

His sisters picked on him also.

Honig: He had two sisters, an older

sister and a younger one.

They constantly berated him, constantly made fun of him,

constantly teased him.

Schlesinger: He said that he was teased

and bullied a lot in school.

He was a big, goofy sort of guy,

way larger than most of the other classmates,

and young kids are always looking

for someone to target and to make fun of.

Kemper: I always felt like an outsider, and it's, again,

because I didn't ever fit in.

On top of all that, this mother

made her son live in the basement.


[Door creaking]

She banished him to the basement,

just didn't want him around,

didn't want him talking to her.

Kemper: My mother and my sisters themselves

would go up to bed upstairs.

Why am I going to the basement?

I'm going to hell, they're going to heaven.


Morrison: It was a basement in which

[Creaking] there was very little light,

except from the furnace.

Kemper: And I've got this horrible

terror going on inside of me.

This is every night ... this is every day,

because it's pitch-black down there, no windows.


And I would go off into fantasy worlds

that got vengeance on my enemies.

It got even with the bullies

who picked on the kids and me in school.

It got even with someone who slighted me.

For about eight months or so, he was sleeping in the basement.

And he's a young child, at this point.


Kemper: When I sniveled about it, when I complained

and I cried about it, I got smacked in the head.

"Now, what's the matter with you?

Quit being such a wimp."

He hated his mother

and I think it's probably fair to say

that his mother probably hated him as well,

at least at some level.

She humiliated him, belittled him.

So, when 21-year-old Edmund Kemper was released

from the hospital to go live with his mom,

only the doctors would've known that it was a bad idea.

It didn't take long for the two of them to be

at each other's throats again.



Honig: 21-year-old Edmund Kemper

was ready to be released back into society.

He'd spent six years living in a mental hospital

for killing his grandparents.


He comes out into the world and he's very thrown

by what he's experiencing.

Kemper: [Laughing] I'd never been on a date, you know?

I was locked up since I was 15.

And the world he was released to was very different

from the one of five years earlier.


In the late '60s, early '70s,

Santa Cruz became like a Mecca for the hippie generation.

There's free love, people are having sex freely.

I was scared to death of failing at male-female relationships.

I knew absolutely nothing about that whole area,

even of just sitting down and talking with a young lady.


Morrison: The mother is still telling him

he's not good enough ... he'll never date girls,

he'll never be seen as desirable,

and he will never be successful with women.


Kemper: I need to be able to really communicate

and, ironically enough,

that's why I began picking up young women.

Honig: He started picking up hitchhikers in his car,

driving them around, getting to know them,

flirting with them, in his way.

He's learning, "How do you relate to them?

What do you say?

How do you make small talk?

What are they like?

What do they say to you?"

And he gets pretty good at it

and he has a good ability to put people at ease.

The women are seeing a nice, friendly guy.

But all that time, he is having

really violent fantasies about these women

and all the plans that he's sort of making

and gearing up towards, it's constantly in his mind.

And I'm going a little bit farther each time.

It's a daring kind of a thing.

At first, there wasn't a gun.

I'm driving along.

We go to a vulnerable place,

where there aren't people watching,

where I could act out.

And I say, "No, I can't."


During this time, Ed Kemper claimed that he had given

over 100 rides to women hitchhikers.

I think a lot of people wonder

how Kemper got all these young women into his car,

because he's this 6'9", 300-pound guy.

He's not the type of man

who looks safe to hitch a ride from.

Kemper: I'm a single male young adult, two-door car.

They're not gonna wanna get in and ride with me.

I made that a challenge, almost like a chess game.

And the reason he was able to do it is

because he did so many test runs.

He did about a year of test runs,

where he didn't kill any women, didn't assault any women.

He would just go pick up hitchhikers.

So there are dozens of women out there

that had perfectly normal rides.


He tried to figure out what made women feel comfortable

getting in the car with him.

So he would test out various techniques.

One of the things was he would glance at his watch

as the woman was getting in the car,

and that was sort of a subtle signal to her

that this guy is a businessman, he's in a hurry, he needs to go.


Kemper: I used to glance at my watch

and look slightly irritated and,

"Oh, well, I guess I can stop and give this person a ride."

It seemed to have a very positive effect.


He figured out a way of locking the door from the inside,

the passenger seat,

by dropping a Chapstick into the locking mechanism,

and the girls couldn't get out.

He would say, "Oh, ma'am,

the door's not closed all the way,"

and reach over in the car, and he would take that Chapstick

and he would put it in the locking mechanism,

so, once the car door closed,

the woman could then not open the door from the inside.



Reporter: Do you do any hitchhiking, these days?

Nope, not now. [Laughs] No way.

I'm not gonna take any chances.

If I was driving down the hill and I saw students hitchhiking,

I would stop my car, open my window, and yell at them

and tell them not to hitchhike, that it was much too dangerous.

I did a story where I got in my car

and drove up to the UCSC campus and picked up women hitchhikers

and interviewed them about why they were hitchhiking.

And I said, "You know, I could be one of the murderers,"

and they said, "Oh, you seem like a nice guy.

I don't think that that would happen."

One hitchhiker girl got in my car

and I said, "Are you afraid to hitchhike?"

And she said, "No. I carry this can of mace.

See?" And she handed it to me

and I thought, "Well, that's not very smart."

It was shocking to see that, even with all the warnings,

that some of the students didn't change their behavior.

We did have administrative meetings

about what should be changed,

with regard to protecting our students.

It was then they decided that if they hitchhiked with somebody

with a parking sticker from the campus,

that probably is okay.

They're campus people.

They're staff and faculty of the university

and, obviously, they couldn't have

had anything to do with these murders.


What no one realized at the time was

the man they were looking for

had a university parking sticker on his car.


His mother worked on campus.

He would go pick her up at work sometimes

and so he got a little sticker that he could put on the car,

that gave him all access to campus.

Kemper: Listen, I had an "A" sticker on my car

and obvious access, day or night, to the campus.

I was picking up some very lovely young women.

You know what we were talking about as we're driving around,

almost as often as not?

This guy that's going around, doing this stuff, you know.

But they'd be telling me all about this guy

and they're comparing notes and speculating

on what he looks like, how he carries himself,

why he's doing this stuff.

Telling me about it.

He had the method; he had the experience;

he had the tool, with the Chapstick;

and he had the UC sticker,

so the stage was set for what was to come.


Female hitchhikers were disappearing

around the city of Santa Cruz

and other people were turning up stabbed

or shot to death, for no apparent reason,

and there were no clues.

We thought that there was a possibility

that it could be two different people,

[Gunshot] because of the various

styles of murders,

but we didn't know for sure

because the country had never seen anything like this before.

So, from a perspective of law enforcement,

it's hard to believe that there are two serial killers

operating in the same location at the same time.

It was hard to believe there weren't any clues,

but then, one day, police got a big break.


A lady had come out and picked up her newspaper,

heard what she thought was a gunshot,

and, out of the corner of her eye,

she saw her neighbor,

who was just out working in his yard, fall.

And there was an older-model Chevrolet station wagon

stopped on the street

and she saw a man pulling his gun back to the front seat,

so she called the police.

The vehicle description was put out over the radio.

An officer from Santa Cruz Police Department spotted

what appeared to be the same vehicle.

The Santa Cruz Police Department

arrested Herbert Mullin.


Honig: Herbert Mullin was a local boy

who had obviously severe mental problems.

I think he was probably as criminally insane

as anybody could be.

With the interviews that we had with Mullin,

it was ascertained that he was more than likely

the one that was doing the killings by shooting people.

We had evidence of his rifle being used in numerous killings.

Those were matched up with the bullets.

It was an amazing turn of events.

Who could've guessed that there could be two serial killers

in the same town?

Reporter: 25-year-old Herbert Mullin

has been charged with 10 of the Santa Cruz murders.

Schlesinger: He was very delusional.

He was hearing voices.

And he would have to listen to the voices

and go out and murder people.

He is obsessed with this idea that, if he can commit small,

what he calls "natural disasters,"

he can prevent a huge earthquake from taking out California.

Honig: Herbert Mullin ultimately confessed to 13 murders.

That included a priest who was found murdered

in his confessional,

and a homeless man who was beaten to death.

He had killed basically a hobo who was just walking

down the street one day and he had this strange feeling

that he wanted to see what was inside him, and so he shot him.

Because he wanted to determine if there were signs of pollution

in the victim's internal organs.

However, Mullin's alleged connection with death

has not involved the cutting up of the victims.

There are also a number

of unsolved murders in this area.

Four of these victims were coeds from nearby UC.

At least two other young women are missing and feared dead.

We have five unsolved murders of coeds, local coeds,

from the University of California at Santa Cruz;

and also Cabrillo College, which is a local junior college.

We couldn't link them together.

So, the Coed Killer was still on the loose

and cops had no leads about who he could be.


At a time when pressure is on for the police officers,

the Jury Room was a place where they could come in, relax,

have a few drinks, and enjoy themselves.

Aluffi: The Jury Room was a working man's bar

right across the street from the sheriff's office.

It's where the police officers would go unwind

after a long shift.

Honig: And, of course, the drinks would

loosen them up a little bit

and they would start telling stories about what was going on.


One of the regulars at the bar was the guy

whose whole goal in life was to become a cop.

Because he's 6'9",

and at that time there were very strict height requirements,

you couldn't be above a certain height,

and so this was second best.

He was like what, you know,

people call a wannabe police officer.

He found himself drawn to the Jury Room

and he started hanging out with the cops.

These were his people.

Dowd: Everybody kind of knows him.

He's a little bit goofy, he's a little bit annoying,

but the cops all really kind of like him.

Honig: They knew him as Big Ed.

Kemper: They'd buy me a beer.

I'd buy them a beer.

Man: Did the cops like you?

Like I said, a friendly nuisance.

I got in the way.

And it was deliberate.

Again, friendly nuisances are dismissed.


And, of course, one of the topics of conversation

in the bar is "Who is the coed killer?"

He was asking them, had they found this guy,

Had they any clues

as to who this person was, who was killing these coeds?

I was poking around a little bit,

trying to find some things out.

I knew they wouldn't be privy to hot information,

but there were some things that were bothering me,

like were there any speculations on how they were dying?

Little did we know that the person that we were looking for

was in the same bar, drinking with us.

In a million years, they never suspected

he was the person who was killing these coeds.


Kemper: I was dreaming, thinking, fantasizing murder,

all day long.

I couldn't get it out of my head.

He was in such a blind rage, he gets in his car

and he decided, no matter who got in the car,

he was going to kill them that night.

If you've ever smelled death, you know that

that's what was going on in that apartment.

Kemper: It wasn't the aspect of killing them.

It was the aspect of possessing their bodies afterwards.

I could actually feel the blood drain out of my body.

I just turned cold all over.

Kemper: I was building up big loads

of frustration inside,

big loads of hatred, because I had no outlet for it.

[Gunshot] I think the paranoia

was building

and building and building, and it was starting

to make him feel like he was cracking.

Kemper: I'm thinking all these horrible things.

And eventually, it just has to end.

What's he gonna do?


Police were desperate to find the Coed Killer

before he struck again.

Big Ed, the cop wannabe

who hung out at the Jury Room bar,

continued to joke with detectives

and quiz them about the case.

He wanted to know if they were getting close.

Behind his smile, a rage was building.

There was gonna be another murder.

In part 2 of "The Coed Killer."

I'm Donnie Wahlberg.

Thanks for watching. Good night.