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Edmund Kemper III, the hulking former construction worker serving...

VACAVILLE, Calif. -- Edmund Kemper III, the hulking former construction worker serving a life sentence for the mutilation killings of his mother and seven other women, waived his right to a parole hearing Monday.

Kemper, 36, who has been rejected for parole four times, told prison officials he was not suitable for release and would wait three years before requesting another parole hearing.

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Kemper's decision, which came only moments before a scheduled hearing before the state Board of Prison Terms, was based on the presence of the news media, prison spokesman Lt. Joe McGrath said.

'He felt he could not adequately state his case in front of the press,' McGrath said.

Kemper had been turned down for parole at hearings in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982 and variously had argued for parole and stated he was not suitable for parole, McGrath said. He said Kemper had a 'spotless' prison record.

The parole board accepted Kemper's waiver request.

Kemper, 6-foot-9 inches tall and weighing 280 pounds, was convicted in 1973 of murdring his mother, her best friend and six coed hitchhikers in a year-long murder spree in the Santa Cruz area, saying he was driven by sexual fantasies.

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He earlier served a term in the California Youth Authority and a state hospital for slaying his maternal grandparents in 1964.

After his last previous parole hearing in June 1982, the panel concluded he 'would pose a threat to public safety if paroled.

'The prisoner's commitment offenses were conducted in an extremely heinous and atrocious manner. The crimes were carried out in such a manner that indicated callous disregard for human life.'

Kemper himself told the board he wasn't ready for parole.

He testified at his trial he killed the coeds because he wanted them 'for myself, l)ke possessions.' Their bodies were dismembered and strewn around the Santa Cruz mountains and beaches.

He said he began picking up hitchhikers after being released from five years' confinement as a mental patient at the Atascadero State Hospital to try to establish friendships but the girls alive 'were distant, not sharing with me.'

He said he kept heads of his victims and dismembered parts of their bodies until they decomposed.

One skull he buried in the backyard facing his window so he could talk with her, Kemper said.

He said he killed his mother, Claranell Strandberg, 52, by hitting her in the head with a hammer while she was sleeping and stabbing her with a pocket knife so she wouldn't ever have to face the shame of his deeds. Kemper said he then cut off her head and threw darts at it.

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Kemper pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to the slayings but court-appointed psychiatrists declared him sane.

The courts several times rejected his request he be allowed to undergo surgery to rid his brain of violent impulsues.

He attempted suicide three times.

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