ANCHORAGE — Even before he was charged in the slaying of a young barista, Israel Keyes bluntly told authorities in Alaska he would talk about other victims, but only on his terms.
Among the demands issued by the confessed serial killer: He wanted an execution date, not to languish in a maximum security federal prison. During an April 6, 2012, interview, Keyes made his wish known after federal prosecutor Kevin Feldis asked him to specify what his demands were.
“Tell me what you want,” the prosecutor said. “I don’t know what you want.”
Keyes said he wanted everything wrapped up one year from that date.
“If I went to trial on these and got convicted, no jury in the U.S. would not vote for the death penalty for me,” Keyes said. “I already know that.”
His driving motivation for his execution appeared to be protecting his daughter.
“I’ll tell you about everything, I’ll plead guilty to whatever, I’ll give you every single gory detail you want, but that’s what I want, because I want my kid to have a chance to grow up,” he said.
“She’s in a safe place now, she’s not going to see any of this. I want her to have a chance to grow up and not have all this hanging over her head,” he said.
Audio tapes of 13 interviews involving the FBI, prosecutors and Anchorage police were released this week after the Alaska Dispatch, an online news organization, asked the court to unseal them. The interviews were conducted between April 2, 2012, and late July.
In the end, Keyes didn’t tell prosecutors everything.
Keyes, 34, committed suicide in his jail cell in December as he awaited a federal trial in the death of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, who was abducted February 2012 from the Anchorage coffee stand where she worked. Alaska prisons officials say Keyes was a segregated inmate who had been mistakenly issued a razor before he slit his left wrist and tied a noose around his neck and right foot.
Keyes confessed to killing Koenig and at least seven others, including Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vt., and investigators believe there could be more victims.
Koenig and the Curriers were the only victims named by Keyes, leaving investigators with multiple unsolved cases.
FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez said Tuesday investigators are still actively pursuing leads on possible victims, but there have been no major breakthroughs.
Investigators concluded Koenig was raped and strangled. Her body was left in a shed outside Keyes’ Anchorage home for two weeks while he went on a cruise.
The kidnapping gripped the city as investigators held out hope that she remained alive. Unknown until later, Keyes texted messages from Koenig’s cellphone.
Keyes was arrested in Lufkin, Texas, about six weeks after Koenig’s disappearance. He had sought a ransom and used Koenig’s debit card, and initially was charged only with access device fraud.
Three weeks after the arrest, Koenig’s dismembered body was found in a frozen lake north of Anchorage.
Keyes was later charged with kidnapping resulting in death. By then, he had already told authorities about his execution wish.
In late May, Keyes attempted to escape from the federal courthouse after breaking out of his leg irons. He was quickly subdued with a stun gun in the federal courtroom.
The following day, investigators told Keyes the stunt did not go over well with authorities, including prosecutors.
“Why? Did they actually think I would get away?” he said, laughing. “That would be embarrassing for them, I guess.”
After that, enhanced security measures were used on Keyes, including full restraints, a two-officer escort any time he was out of the cell, and restrictions on possession of razors and pencils.
He also was subjected to daily strip searches and cell searches.
In September, Keyes was found guilty of possessing an object which had been modified as a handcuff key.
A disciplinary board found him guilty, and he had to serve 60 days — with 45 days suspended — in punitive segregation.
That sentence began days before his suicide. At the time of his death, his access to personal property was restricted.
Keyes was in state custody in Anchorage because there are no federal prisons in Alaska.
The state of Alaska has no death penalty, but Keyes could have faced that outcome under federal law.
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