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Happy Face Killer Convicted and Sentenced for Decades-Old Murder With Links To Okaloosa County

Keith Hunter Jesperson, known for his smiley face notes left with victims, confessed to killing Suzanne Kjellenberg in Tampa and disposing of her body in Northwest Florida. The case, unresolved for years, found resolution with recent efforts and a life sentence for Jesperson.

Keith Hunter Jesperson, known to the public as the “Happy Face Killer” because of the smiley faces he would put on notes with his victims, pleaded guilty to Second Degree Murder in the case of Suzanne Kjellenberg’s homicide. 

Kjellenberg’sKjellenberg was the last of eight victims to be identified by law enforcement. Her remains were found off Interstate 10 in the Holt area. According to Jesperson he killed her in Tampa and disposed of her body in Northwest Florida. 

The verdict was delivered on April 4, 2024, in a courtroom presided over by the Honorable John Jay Gontarek, who imposed a life sentence on Jesperson.

This case had remained unresolved for years until recent efforts by law enforcement agencies, including the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the Medical Examiner, in collaboration with Othram, Inc., a DNA testing company, led to Ms. Kjellenberg’s identification and the closure of this cold case.

State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden oversaw the prosecution of the case, represented in court by Assistant State Attorney Michelle Sandler


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