Reasons for Correspondence with Killers: Seeking Attention, Affinity, and Encouragement

In Canby, Oregon, Keith Jesperson, notorious as the “Happy Face Killer” for the murders of eight women in the 1990s, has recently revealed that he corresponded with accused “Gilgo Beach 4 Killer” Rex Heuermann from his prison cell. Jesperson disclosed this information to a podcaster, claiming that Heuermann responded only to his letters, indicating that it was the only correspondence he acknowledged. Jesperson advised Heuermann to confess and avoid going to trial, citing the benefits of being in prison and the less intense media coverage. Despite Jesperson’s counsel, Heuermann has yet to confess to any crimes.

This exchange sheds light on the motivations behind such correspondence. Jesperson’s desire for attention is one reason, evident in his need to inform the media of his interaction with Heuermann. Another reason uncovered from similar cases is the search for affirmation and encouragement. In the case of healthcare serial killers Donald Harvey and Charles Cullen, as well as Dana Sue Gray and “BTK Killer” Dennis Rader, the killer sought camaraderie and possibly a relationship through their letters.

One of the most disturbing reasons behind these exchanges is the inspiration or encouragement that some killers provide to others. For instance, a 16-year-old boy, Liam McAtear, expressed admiration for “Moors Murderer” Ian Brady’s crimes and even aspired to emulate him. McAtear’s attempt to murder someone was thwarted, but his case highlights the dangerous influence these correspondences can have on vulnerable individuals.

Understanding these motivations is crucial for assessing the risks associated with aspiring killers who seek out notorious criminals for guidance. Whether it’s the need for affirmation, inspiration, or a sense of belonging to an exclusive club of killers, these individuals pose a potential risk that cannot be ignored. Therefore, it’s imperative to recognize the signs of such correspondence as a red flag for possible intervention and prevention of future crimes.

In summary, the revelations of correspondence between notorious criminals like Jesperson and Heuermann shed light on the complex motivations behind such interactions. From the need for attention to seeking affirmation and even inspiration, these exchanges offer valuable insights into the mindset of individuals involved in heinous crimes. Recognizing and understanding these motivations is crucial for risk evaluation and intervention to prevent future tragedies.