The Happy Face Killer — Keith Hunter Jesperson

Liam Hall
7 min readMar 23, 2020

Keith Hunter Jesperson was born in Chilliwack, BC in 1955. As a child, he displayed the typical behavior of someone who would grow up to be a serial killer. He was cruel and abusive to animals and enjoyed torturing and killing them. Often he would make animals fight and kill each other for his amusement.

In Keith’s own words, he came from an abusive home. His father was an alcoholic and often violent with his children, as was his grandfather. Keith was a large child and often faced teasing from other children, and was treated like an outcast even by his own family. He showed vindictive tendencies, feeling like he needed to retaliate against every slight against him.

Twice as a child he tried to kill his classmates. One boy, he beat badly until his father pulled him away, and later Keith admitted that he was attempting to kill the boy. In another incident, a different boy had held Keith's head underwater when swimming till he blacked out. In retaliation, when swimming in a public pool, Keith tried to drown the boy and would have if a lifeguard hadn’t stopped him.

While Keith was still in school, he moved to Selah, Washington. He had trouble fitting in, the other children teased him because of his size and his brothers called him “Igor” or “Ig.” This nickname followed him to adulthood. He often would act out, sometimes with violence and he was severely punished by his father. He would beat Keith with his belt, sometimes in front of others, and once it is reported that his father even tased him.

Keith grew to be a large, imposing man. At age 35, Keith was 6'7.5" tall and weighed 240lbs. Often Keith would dream of becoming an RCMP officer, the power of a position like that appealed to him, but his dream was dashed in 1990 after an injury prevented him from qualifying. Soon after his injury was when Keith started to kill.

His first known victim was Taunja Bennett. On January 23, 1990, near Portland, Oregon, Keith met Taunja in a bar and invited her back to his place. They went to the house he was renting, Keith tried to have sex with her, but Taunja refused. Keith then beat her, and when he was worried she would report him to the police, he strangled her to death. Keith later told police that he had punched Taunja over twenty times until he could…

Liam Hall

I like to write about crime, among other things. Studying computer security. Join Medium using my referral link