Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Keith Hunter Jesperson

Jesperson the Liar

At one point, according to an account by the Happy Face Killer himself, Jesperson was visited by investigators from what was then left of the Green River Killer Task Force wanting to know if he was responsible for any of the still unsolved killings in their jurisdiction.  Since many of Jespersons victims were known prostitutes and strangulation was his preferred method of murder, Jesperson naturally looked like a feasible candidate in at least some of the Green River killings.  The fact that he was trucking in and out of Seattle and the surrounding areas on an almost daily basis in the early-to-mid 1980s hauling flatbeds of scrap steel into the steel mills of Seattle and Tacoma made him look even more viable as a suspect.  Jesperson, in his own words, claimed that he told the following story to an unnamed investigator from the Green River Task Force:

 One day they had me in a room and told me to tell them about Seattle.  They have reason to believe that I am one of the killers that is responsible for some of the Green River murders.  They still believe this but are waiting for more information to flow through my lips on the subject.  Thinking for only five minutes, I thought up this story to tell them to throw them off.  But it backfired instead.  The story involved two sisters, and the police had never mentioned to the press that two sisters had become victims of the Green River Killer.

It was about 8:00 p.m. as I drove north up the (Seattle-Tacoma) Stripinstead of taking Intersate 5this roadway is full of hitchhikers and hookers at this time of nightI was eyeing two cute hookers as they talked at a bus stop.  Both were good lookers but I wanted one by herself.  About a quarter of a mile up the road I spotted a bitch walking fast up the sidewalk.  Her hips were swinging from side-to-side, and she had nice long legs that climbed up to her butt.  Her body was slender and firm.  She seemed to be in a hurry.  As I was approaching her at 35 miles per hour, I thought for just a moment about her but knew I first had to get the rest of my steel on.  Fun will come later.

She reached the bus stop before I got there, Jesperson continued, and without looking out for traffic, she stepped right out in front of me.  With a car passing me on my left, I could only brake to hope from hitting her.  I heard the impact as her body struck my bumper and felt her tumble under my tires.  I had managed to stop the truck quickly and with the emergency flashers going, I stepped out of the truck a little shaken.  I had stopped the truck and her body was still under my trailer.  She was dead, and I looked around for witnesses.  But there were none and the traffic was little to none.  No one had witnessed the accident.  I felt I could get away with it, if only I could get her body away from there.  So I dragged her body out from under the trailer and placed her in the cab of the 1964 Kenworth and got in and drove north up the Strip for a half-mile.  On the right was an open field with tall trees and enough brush to hide behind to dig her a shallow grave.

As he continued his tale, Jesperson told of how he had grabbed his shovel after throwing the dead woman over his shoulder.  He carried her back into the field, tossed her body on the ground and removed all of her jewelry, placing it inside his pocket, he claimed.  As he dug her grave, he explained that he heard something or someone coming toward him.  Not wishing to be seen, he knelt down and watched.  The man, like Jesperson, was carrying a body, but his was inside a black plastic bag.  He placed it on the ground and proceeded to dig a grave nearby as Jesperson watched.  Jesperson said he decided to approach the man, and startled him as he did so.

 I was about done when I saw you walking towards me, Jesperson said he told the man.  I couldnt help but be amazed that two of us had to get rid of two bodies at the same time.  Now that I know what you came out here for, I will get back to what I was doing.

After they had both buried the bodies in the field, said Jesperson, the two of them decided to stop at a restaurant and have coffee together.

 I couldnt help but notice that yours and mine looked a lot alike, Jesperson said he told the man.  They had the same features.  Only difference was the necklace I took off mineI pulled the jewelry from my pocket and placed it on the table.  He picked up the jewelry and studied it anda tear came to his eyes.  Jesperson said he asked the man what was wrong.

 It seems we have a lot more in common than just burying two girls at the same time, Jesperson said the man told him.  We both have killed identical twins.  Yours is the sister to mine.

The foregoing story was obviously a fabrication concocted by Jespersons imagination. It serves as a good example of his ability to lie easily and quickly, without giving much advance thought to the process.  According to profiler and serial killer expert Dr. Maurice Godwin, who often works closely with law enforcement investigations to assist the police with his expertise, there were no sisters as victims in the Green River case.  In fact, Jesperson later proudly proclaimed that he had made it all up.  Interestingly, in his I Am A Liar essay that was published widely on the Internet, he also denied most, if not all, of his prior admissions of guilt.  The Green River Task Force seemed to quickly lose interest in him after his telling of the tale of two sisters, but it remains interesting that he would choose to identify so closely with a case involving so many victims whose deaths, at least in some cases, closely parallel those of his own known victims.  When taking into consideration the outdoor locations of the Green River crime scenes, the nude bodies, strangulation as the cause of death, prostitutes and transient types as victims, and so forth, and when making a comparison to Jespersons victims and crime scenes, one can only wonder if Jesperson had in reality committed any of the murders attributed to the Green River Killer.  So far, however, he has not been charged nor has he been listed as an official suspect in connection with any of those murders.

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