top of page

Tesslynn Elizabeth O’Cull, 3, June 17, 1997, Springfield, Lane County, Oregon

Tesslynn was just three years old when she died at the hands of her biological mother Stella Kiser and Stella's boyfriend Jesse Compton. Tesslynn's body was found by the police after a report was made by Jesse's sister, wo helped Stella and and Jesse bury Tesslynn's body two days prior.

Compton was charged, convicted and sentenced to death for the murder with charges including aggravated murder, murder by abuse, two counts of sexual penetration in the first degree and one count of abuse of a corpse in the second degree.

Tesslynn moved in with her mother and her boyfriend in Oregon. They had frequent 'drug parties' which lasted several days. Compton made meth. Compton hit Tesslynn on her buttocks and back with a wooden spoon, a spatula and a belt. People who visited their apartment observed Compton slapping Tesslynn in the face, dragging her by her hair, forced her to stand in the corner for long periods of time and made her take long, cold baths or showers. He was frequently angry with her and called her names. Visitors also observed both Compton and Kiser usually keeping Tesslynn in the bedroom during the drug parties. The guests would hear the child cry for hours by herself in the room. Compton refused other people to go in the bedroom to help Tesslynn, and eventually kept her in the room by herself all the time. When one of the neighbors confronted Compton, he threatened to kill the neighbor and his girlfriend if they called the police.

Two months before Tesslynn's death, Compton broke four vertebrae in her back. he forcefully penetrated her vagina with an object and inflicted large, gaping burns on her back, buttocks and genitals using an open flame. Some of those burns became infected, and Compton would pure rubbing alcohol on them. Additionally, he inflicted other, smaller round burns on her legs.

Within the two-week period prior to Tesslynn's death, Compton immobilized her ten to fifteen times by placing her hands and feet over her head and tying them together with ropes, cords, or strips of cloth. he would leave her tied up for eight to ten hours at a time.

Within the twenty-four hour period prior to Tesslynn's death, Compton struck her in the head several times, causing bruising to her brain, and either punched her in the abdomen or stomped on her with his foot, causing severe internal injuries. He scraped and bruised her abdomen with a fork.

Compton found Tesslynn dead in the bedroom between 12:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. on June 14, 1997. He cut her loose from the restraints and tried to reviver her by giving her CPR. he also struck her in the left side of the chest a few times with his fist, then applied a frayed, live electrical cord to her chest and splashed her with cold water. Tesslynn was already gone.

Both Compton and Kiser agreed to leave Tesslynn's body in the bedroom till they figured out what to do. They knew her injuries were so extensive that they would go to jail if they were caught. They decided to bury her body but asked Compton's sister to assist them. Days after they buried Tesslynn, Compton and Kiser were 'happy, playful, and affectionate' with each other and told their friends that Tesslynn was with a babysitter, while other times they would say she was at Kiser's aunt's house and they were planning on moving out of town. They told their friends they wanted to have a baby boy.

On June 16, 1997, Compton's sister finally went to the Springfield Police Department and reported that she assisted both Compton and Kiser bury Tesslynn's body in the Sweet Home area two days prior. The next morning, Springfield (Oregon) police officers found Tesslynn's body buried in a shallow grave near a logging road in the area where his sister lead them.

In the grave, they found among other items, a piece of cloth that appeared to be torn from a curtain, a strip of gray cloth, a blue braided belt, and a woman's ring with a pink stone in it.

The police then went to Compton's apartment. With permission they entered the apartment noticing the apartment was dirty and smelled bad. There were multiple holes in the walls that Compton made by punching walls when he was angry or by throwing knives. Additional searches at the apartment, police found drug paraphernalia, drug residue, and a propane torch. They found a lamp with a cut cord, a pair of pliers with burn residue on it, rubbing alcohol bottles and white cloths with knots in them. Searching a nearby dumpster, the police found two trash bags from the apartment that contained a Mother's Day card for Kiser, child's clothing, ann electrical cord that had been cut and had a frayed end, a blue cloth, a white cloth, and a shoestring with knots in them and a rope. The cloth and shoestring had hair mixed in with the knots. Some of the cloth found was similar to the cloth found in Tesslynn's grave.

The autopsy showed that Tesslynn died of shock, listing the cause of death as 'battered child syndrome'.

In court it was said that it was clear, 'there was a violent blow at least to her back and perhaps a violent blow to her abdomen that caused internal bleeding. We know she was sexually abused as she was vaginally penetrated within the last couple days of her life.'

“We know the night she died she was tied up with her legs up over her head.   We know she had vomited.   By all accounts the abdominal bleed was apparently causing her some distress and we know, I think logically, that the defendant was well aware that the child was in some severe distress, and that alone might be enough for deliberation but I want you to think about the condition that this little girl was in when those terrible injuries in and of themselves were inflicted on her.'

“You can look at the pictures and see that the labia is essentially burned off, and whether or not it is burned off by boiling water poured over her anal area when she was tied up, or whether or not it's burned off by * * * a propane torch doesn't really matter.'

“When [defendant] is sexually abusing her he is looking at the full sight, sound[,] smell, package of that child.   She must have begged for mercy.   She must have expressed the terrible pain she felt, and he went on anyway.'

 “I guess she was probably crying when he stomped on her back, and think about what he was stomping on, a little girl, 31 pounds, damaged almost beyond repair, beaten repeatedly, fed occasionally, tied up, sexually abused, burned with cigarettes, for weeks even months.

“Did he deliberately do those acts?   What other word would you put with it?   He extremely deliberately did those acts.   He knew exactly what he was doing.   Was it reasonable for him to expect her to die?   Could she survive another week in this household?   Would she have lived another week?   Ask yourself that.   Probably not.   Would she have lived another month?   No. Was he going to kill her one day or another?

“Think about what she must have felt in the bedroom, internally bleeding, tied up while her mother and [defendant] partied in the other room.   What a terrible, torturous, brutal way to die.   It would be terrible for all of us for adults, but for a little girl just turned three years old the week before, it must have been much more terrifying, much more hard to understand.

“Were the acts deliberate?   Absolutely.”


Stella Ann Kiser, the biological mother who did not deserve to be Tesslynn's mother entered the prison system on May 7, 1999 and has no chance of parole. She was charged with 1 count of murder and 1 count of aggravated murder.

Jesse Caleb Compton, the boyfriend, entered the prison system on December 11, 1997. Unfortunately, as of this reporting in 2022, he is still alive. He is awaiting the death penalty.

Tesslynn was laid to rest at the Desert View Memorial Park in Victorville, San Bernardino County, California, USA

Rest in Peace dear Tesslynn.

33 views0 comments


bottom of page