Meet David Michael Dozier
My novel, The California Killing Field, is rooted in my real-life experiences.I grew up in the logging town of North Fork, California. My dad was a forester (later sawmill manager) and my mom was an elementary school teacher. The summer before I entered high school, another boy my age moved in next door. His name was Edmund Kemper III. At the time, he went by the nickname Guy. During our freshman year, Guy and I would sit in the cab of his grandfather's pickup truck. We would chat while waiting for the school bus. I got to know Edmund Emil Kemper, the grandfather, pretty well. I had an occasion to join the Kember family at a local restaurant for a family reunion. I remember the Kempers were crazy about Corvair cars.
Edmund 'Guy' Kemper Murders His Grandparents
The summer between our freshman and sophomore year, a sheriff's deputy knocks on our front door. Chain-smoking, he asks where the Kempers live. We didn't learn till later that Edmund "Guy" Kemper had murdered both grandparents—at age 15. He was sent to the California Youth Authority. Little did I know that this was only the beginning of Kemper's murderous "career."
My Andy Warhol 15 Minutes of Fame
While Edmund Kemper was serving time with the California Youth Authority, I attended UC Berkeley, studying journalism, and working for The Daily Californian, the student newspaper. In 1969, I was arrested for "obstructing a public thoroughfare" while supporting the student strike of the Third World Liberation Front. I spent an afternoon in the Berkeley city jail and paid a $500 fine. In 1971, I was editorial page editor of the Daily Cal when we ran an editorial calling on the community to "Take Back the Park." The park was People's Park, the site of a police killing of an unarmed protester two years earlier. In the photo (above), I am explaining to a TV reporter how our editorial to "Take Back the Park"—published on a Tuesday—was not a "clear and present danger" for the demonstration (and some unfortunate destruction of university property) on the following Saturday. The DA must have agreed; no charges were filed against us. Four of us were fired (Ronald Reagan was governor). This prompted The Daily Cal to become an independent student newspaper.
Kemper Kills Again
After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1971, I moved to Susanville, California and was hired as a reporter for The Lassen Advocate, a weekly newspaper. I also started teaching parttime as faculty adviser (at 23) to the student newspaper at Lassen Community College. As I prepared to return to grad school at Fresno State, I got a call from my dad. Edmund Kemper had been arrested for murdering eight more people, including his mother. My father insisted that Kemper should have been executed for the murders he committed at 15. My father and I never agreed on the death penalty.
Grad School & Beyond
After receiving a master's degree in mass communication at Fresno State, I was admitted to the doctoral program in communication research at Stanford University. I received my doctorate in 1978. I worked for two years as a public information officer for a community development corporation in Fresno, California. Our organization helped farmworkers purchase small farms and also helped market their produce. In 1980, I joined the journalism and public relations faculty at San Diego State University.
Teaching at San Diego State University
After writing, teaching is my second passion
From 1980 to 2017, I taught journalism and public relations, as well as team-taught investigative reporting with the head of the investigative unit of KPBS, the PBS radio and TV affiliate in San Diego. I taught survey and experimental methods to undergraduates and graduate students.
Public Affairs Officers (PAO) Program at SDSU
In 2005, I worked with colleagues at San Diego State to establish an intensive program for military public affairs officers (PAOs) in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. The Coast Guard joined later. As the founding director of the PAO Program, I have had the distinct honor of training over 100 mid-career officers in the thinking and ethics of the strategic management approach to public relations and public affairs. (PICTURED AT LEFT: That's me about 100 miles at sea on the deck of the U.S.S. Nimitz circa 2004.)
In Honor of
I wish to honor an elementary and high school classmate of mine. We started in kindergarten together. A Native American of the Mono tribe in North Fork, our dads worked for the same sawmill. John Hensley and I graduated from high school together. A year later, he was killed in Vietnam. The photo at right was taken at the Vietnam memorial wall in Washington, DC.
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.