The Serial Killer From Selah, Washington
The term "Murder Porn" has been thrown around a lot lately. Now personally, I prefer a new word "GORN" (gore porn), but no matter how much I throw it out there, it just hasn't caught on (probably for the best). This topic is everywhere now days. Books, movies, TV shows, podcasts, even in my own home. It's an interesting topic that many people crave and have a guilty pleasure for (yours truly included). As I was talking to my wife about how the Pacific Northwest really seems like it ranks #1 with serial killers, I asked her if she had ever heard of the serial killer who lived in Selah in the 80's. Nope, well not really! She hadn't heard of Keith Hunter Jesperson, but she did know him by his nickname... "The Happy Face Killer".
Keith Hunter Jesperson, AKA "The Happy Face Killer"
Keith Hunter Jesperson claimed to have killed 185 people, but only eight women have been confirmed during his five year crime period in the early 90's according to his Wikipedia.org page. Most of his crimes took place all over the United States, but many of his actual murders happened along the west coast: California, Oregon & Washington state. His family moved to Selah, WA, where he attended school and graduated in 1973. The article also went into details about how he worked several jobs, including as a truck driver, and made his home up and down the west coast, including stints living in Cheney and Spokane. His first confirmed murder wasn't until January of 1990 near Portland, Oregon. He got the nickname of "The Happy Face Killer" because he eventually started drawing smiley faces on letters that went to the media and authorities (according to Wikipedia.org) and is currently serving a life sentence without parole at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Oregon.
Way to go PNW! Leading The Pack in Serial Killers!
Jesperson is just one name in a long list of Serial Killers who have made their mark in the Pacific Northwest. Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgway (The Green River Killer), Robert Lee Yates, Warren Leslie Forrest, Linda Hazzard, Dayton Leroy Rogers (The Molalla Forest Killer), Alvin Brown, & Richard Marquette, who is the oldest serial killer still in jail at the age of 87. This list goes on and on. Heck even the D.C. Snipers (who some are still debating if they fit the criteria of a Serial Killer) have ties to Washington state.
Why is this an interest of mine?
Some ask me why I have fascination with serial killers. Some have even called me sick. Judging by my conversation with my wife, other friends, as well as the many TV shows, movies, books, and podcasts out there (like I mentioned), it looks like I'm in good company. For me, I'm fascinated by the fact that someone can have so much evil in them. What would drive someone to do these things? Not to mention all the violent acts that lead up to finally taking someone's life. By learning about this type of evil, maybe we can understand it, and in the future help prevent it. Simply put...nature vs nurture? We may never know.
The 12 Deadliest Serial Killers in Washington State's Bloody History
Gallery Credit: Pete Christensen