Serial Killer Keith Jesperson

EP16: The Smiley Face Killer

In 1990, a woman confessed that she and her boyfriend raped and murdered Taunja Bennett then dumped her body along the Old Scenic Highway in Oregon. However, a long-haul trucker, Keith Jesperson was very surprised to hear this news because he was the actual killer and went on to murder seven more women before he was finally stopped…

Keith Jesperson Killing of Taunja Bennett

Keith Jesperson spent a lonely night playing pool at the B&I Tavern. He noticed Taunja Bennett and thought she looked pretty.  Taunja had some mental disabilities. Later, Keith saw Taujna sitting alone in the parking and asked her to get a bite to eat.  He had decided that he was going to try to get Taunja back to his house he could get her to have sex with him—or maybe if she didn’t want to, he would force her. Later, he not only raped her but brutally killed her. Strangely, another person confessed to committing the crime with her boyfriend to escape the violence of her lover.  Both she and her boyfriend were convicted of the murder.

The Next Victim

Keith waited 2 and a half years before killing again.  The body of a Jane Doe was discovered on August 30, 1992.  Her name was Claudia, and that’s all anyone knows about her.  According to Keith, he met Claudia at a truck stop in San Bernadino, California.  She asked him for a ride. Later,  he tried to initiate sex with her. When she said no, he raped her and beat her. After he finished, he had sex with her again, only this time he said she tried acting as if she enjoyed it so he wouldn’t hurt her.  

The Smiley Face Serial Killer

Unfortunately, Taunja Bennett and Claudia weren’t Keith’s only victims.  Keith murdered at least eight women and attempted to kill at least five more.  Listen to this episode to Crimes & Consequences True Crime Podcast to learn all the details of his crimes.

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