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Parole Board Rejects Killer’s Request

KATHLEEN GRUBBJune 16, 1988

VACAVILLE, Calif. (AP) _ Serial killer Edmund Kemper told authorities Wednesday that he is fit for freedom but society isn’t ready to accept him, and was denied parole by state officials.

In his first parole hearing in six years, Kemper, 40, said he believed he should remain in prison for the rest of his life for killing eight women, including his mother, and decapitating seven of them.

″I think I could handle a parole ... but I believe wholeheartedly that society is not ready in any shape or form for me,″ he said. ″I can’t fault them for that.″

Three members of the state Board of Prison Terms, the agency that decides release dates for inmates sentenced to life terms, ruled in a unanimous decision after a three-hour hearing that Kemper is unfit for parole.

The panel said Kemper’s crimes ″shocked the public conscience″ and cited the ″deparavity and brutality″ of the murders.

Once dubbed the ″Ogre of Aptos,″ the 295-pound, 6-foot-9 hulk with a 136 IQ began his two-year killing spree three years after leaving a state hospital where he served a conviction for killing his grandparents when he was 15.

Beginning in May 1972, he killed six women he picked up hitchhiking, then killed his mother and her closest friend in April 1973, before turning himself in. Seven of the victims were decapitated, including his mother.

Jack Fleming, a prison psychologist who has treated the killer for the past eight years, said he found Kemper suitable for release.

Art Danner, a prosecutor from Santa Cruz County, where the bodies of six of he victims were found, said society should never have to take the risk that Kemper might kill again.

Parole board member David Brown commended Kemper for his exemplary behavior in prison, where he has been active with Bible study groups, become an award- winning potter, and directs a books-for-the-blind project.

Brown said it is unlikely Kemper will be paroled within the ″next few years″ because his previous murder convictions, unstable social history and the brutal nature of his crimes.

Kemper will have the right to another parole hearing in three years.

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