October 13, 2021
For years, Canadian serial killer Keith Jesperson rolled over America’s interstates in his 18-wheeler delivering death.
Now, the monster dubbed the Happy Face Killer is breaking his silence and detailing his horrific murder spree.
Originally from British Columbia, the now 66-year-old strangled at least eight women in the 1990s as he taunted detectives with missives signed with a smiley face. He is now telling his tale on Oxygen’s Snapped Notorious: The Happy Face Killer.
Jesperson tells his interrogators he grew up in a violent home and was regularly beaten by his belt-wielding father, who allegedly reveled in the abuse. A wife and three children wasn’t the Rx the killer hoped it would be when his wife cut off sex.
“My wife used to say, ‘Go stick it in the keyhole. Just leave me alone,’” Jesperson said. “It really kinda struck me, kinda like, you know, what the hell, I don’t need this.”
When the marriage collapsed in 1990, the experience made him bitter towards women. The first victim came in Portland, Ore. in January 1990 at a watering hole called the B & I Tavern.
“That’s when I met (Taunja) Bennett,” Jesperson said. “I kind of kissed on her, and my intentions were some kind of intimacy there with her. But she was more concerned about partying later.”
And she wanted him to “hurry up.” It reminded Jesperson of his wife.
“So all she had to do was say the wrong thing, and I just exploded on her,” he said. “I slugged her, I hit her hard, and I beat her senseless.”
And then he decided to strangle the 23-year-old. He dumped her body and belongings into the Columbia River Gorge. Getting away with the slaying emboldened him.
The second victim was named “Claudia” and Jesperson picked her up at a truck stop in southern California in 1992. He strangled her to death. She was later identified as sex worker Cynthia Lyn Rose, 32.
Another sex worker was murdered in late 1992 in Salem, Ore. for trying to charge Jesperson double for sex. Two more Jane Does followed.
He then murdered Angela Subrize, 21, who he killed after meeting her in a Nebraska bar in January 1995. But he slipped up when he let the woman use his credit card to call her father.
“I tied her by the ankles underneath my trailer, and I drove out onto the freeway, drove for about 12 miles with her face down on the pavement,” he said.
“From about her ears forward were gone. Her chest cavity was gone. She lost her arms and her hands ’cause I put her hands taped up in front of her so that she’d lose them first.
“And they never found the body for about eight months.”