Dave Long, a supervisory deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service office in Anchorage, says Keyes abruptly broke out of his leg irons during a routine hearing and tried to escape.
"I've been with the Marshals Service 20 years and I've never seen a set of leg irons broken like that," said Long.
Marshals were able to seize Keyes as he turned to flee, but he managed to climb over a railing into the unoccupied first row of seats in the courtroom’s spectator gallery.
Keyes was subsequently Tasered by marshals, who evacuated the courtroom.
On a a dramatic courtroom audio recording made public following the hearing, onlookers are heard screaming during the outburst and sobbing moments later.
"Kill him!" someone shouts.
"Everybody out please," a voice is heard telling the courtroom. The hearing ended immediately.
Long said Marshals are investigating how Keyes was able to free himself.
"We didn’t notice them broken, so we’re not sure," he said.
Keyes has been on trial for federal charges including kidnapping resulting in death, receipt and possession of ransom money and access-device fraud, after prosecutors say he abducted Koenig from Midtown coffee stand Common Grounds Espresso on the night of Feb. 1 and improperly used a debit card he took from a vehicle at her home. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.
Koenig’s body was found by dive teams last month in Matanuska Lake near Wasilla. In a joint APD-FBI press conference shortly after the discovery, officials said investigators believe Koenig died within hours of her abduction.
Long had no immediate word on whether Keyes would face additional charges for the apparent escape attempt.