1 of 3
Timmy Brent Olsen

PROVO — In the back of her diary, Karen Knudson had two columns for the traits of her crush, Christopher Jeppson — good and bad.

"He can be very cold, a hypocrite, puts girls on a list, experience under his belt, holds grudges," she read on the witness stand during the second day of a preliminary hearing for Jeppson, who is charged with murder.

Jeppson's attorney then asked that in fairness, she read the good side, too.

"He is a good father, he loves the gospel and is a worthy priesthood holder, he can keep a secret, he always smells good, we make each other laugh."

Knudson met Jeppson in 2001, six years after Jeppson was labeled the last person seen with 15-year-old Kiplyn Davis on May 2, 1995.

Kiplyn is presumed dead, though her body has never been found.

Jeppson and schoolmate Timmy Brent Olsen have been charged in 4th District Court with her murder, and Tuesday's testimony during the preliminary hearing was a bit more personal.

Knudson testified that she and Jeppson quickly became close friends and eventually developed an intimate sexual relationship.

One night, after kissing and cuddling, the two began to play a game, where one person would ask the other to tell them something personal about them.

"He said, 'I killed Kiplyn Davis,' then he said 'just joking."' Then he said 'We dumped her body in Spanish Fork Canyon."'

"I felt sick," Knudson said. "(I said) please tell me you're just joking and he said, 'I'm just joking."'

"Did he ever laugh about it?" asked Richard Lambert, special deputy Utah County attorney from the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah.

"He wasn't laughing when he told me he was joking, no," Knudson said.

But if something made her so sick, why wouldn't the avid journaler write about it in her diary? asked defense attorney Scott Williams, who represents Jeppson.

The only thing Knudson wrote was: "'P.S. the joke about the dead girl? Not funny.' Then I put a frown," she said.

"Certainly you didn't take it serious?" Williams asked.

"Yeah, I took it serious," she said.

"(But) you characterized it as a joke, a not-funny joke," Williams said, and Knudson agreed.

FBI agent Carlos Villar, who spent several hours on the stand, also testified about intimate relationships.

He testified that during an interview, Olsen had told him that he and Kiplyn would kiss and engage in heavy petting but not sex. While talking with Jeppson, Villar said Jeppson indicated he and Kiplyn would hug and kiss and talk about her boy problems.

Villar said he became interested in these two men because of inconsistencies in their interviews after Kiplyn's disappearance.

Jeppson first told Villar he had been installing sprinkler systems with Olsen on May 2, then in subsequent interviews the story changed to working on lights at the high school.

Olsen said he too had been installing sprinkler systems all day on May 2, then went home to shower, and was picked up by a friend, Rucker Leifson. The two then went to look for Jeppson, whom they allegedly found at the high school.

But a year later, Olsen allegedly told Villar he had been roofing a shed with his friend Scott Brunson in Brunson's parents' back yard.

"We were trying to get a good, clean interview," Villar said, when asked why he went back to Olsen's house more than a year later. "There had been so many different stories."

But Olsen's attorney Dana Facemyer asked why previous interviews, in which Olsen had said he didn't remember many things, weren't good enough.

"(Olsen's) story changed 16 months after the disappearance," Facemyer said. "(It was different) from (what he said) three months after her disappearance." Facemyer asked, "In your training, have you understood that memory is best when it's closer in time or further in time?"

"Closer in time," Villar responded.

The courtroom atmosphere became slightly tense when Brunson walked into the courtroom as a witness, to testify against a man he had known since third grade.

Brunson, with his attorney seated in a nearby chair, said he and Olsen had been "good friends" during high school and spent their time camping, dragging Main Street and just hanging out.

Brunson was also indicted with Jeppson and Olsen by a federal grand jury for lying to FBI agents during the investigation of the case.

As part of his plea deal with prosecutors, Brunson agreed to testify in the murder hearings against Jeppson and Olsen in exchange for a lighter sentence. He is awaiting sentencing this spring.

Brunson testified that Olsen approached him later that summer in 1995 to ask him to lie if investigators asked him where Olsen had been May 2.

"I told him to tell the truth, and he said 'I do and they don't believe me,"' Brunson said, quoting a conversation with Olsen.

"(So Olsen) had told you he had told the truth and (investigators) didn't believe him?" Facemyer asked.

"Yes," Brunson said.


E-mail: [email protected]