ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Accused and self-confessed serial killer Israel Keyes took his own life in December 2012 while in custody for a slew of federal charges related to the kidnapping and killing of Samantha Koenig, and amidst an ongoing investigation into his role in the deaths of a Vermont couple.
Earlier this month, a reporter with the New York Post who is writing a book about Keyes' life successfully petitioned the U.S. District Court in Alaska to unseal several records from the court case, including audio recordings of interviews and a psychological evaluation.
Two dozen recordings spanning seven months and hours of talking during 2012 reveal an efficient, methodical individual who liked to be in control and who embraced two sides of himself. One -- a seemingly functional member of society who was an honorably discharged Army veteran, dad, partner, and had his own construction company. He liked the outdoors, traveling, hunting, fishing, camping and building boats.
But he also liked things he knew he had to hide -- he had an intense fascination with guns, fires, killing, and death.
A psychological evaluation conducted to determine his fitness for trial found he had higher-than-average intelligence, and was antisocial, a personality trait that could cause him to "likely be impulsive and hostile," according to Ronald Roesch, Ph.D., who prepared the report. But Roesch found no mental health issues or impairments that would prevent Keyes from going to trial.
He grew up in a deeply religious family, one he describes as gun-loving and cult-like, and became estranged from his father after getting caught shoplifting and stealing guns from neighbors' homes, and after telling his father he wasn't religious.
He left the Army in 2001, the same year his then-girlfriend became pregnant with their child. The couple moved to Neah Bay in Washington State where Keyes found work with the tribe's Parks and Recreation department. He eventually moved to Alaska without his child's mother and started a new life with a woman he met online in 2005.
He made money renovating homes, building decks and additions, making just enough money to pay the bills and leave time for fishing or travel. He and his girlfriend had traveled to New Orleans, Belize, Mexico, Hawaii, California and Washington.
He told Dr. Roesch no one knew about his darker side, and that he always imagined he'd get caught, but much more dramatically: in the act, ending with a shootout with police in which he'd die.
Getting caught and being stuck in prison, awaiting trial with a protracted legal process that would result either in life in prison or years waiting for a lethal injection on death row, was, Keyes had said, the "worse possible outcome," the psychological report said.
In the recorded interviews, Keyes and the FBI agents from Anchorage and Washington state talk fairly comfortably. He leads them to the site of a killing in Vermont. In exchange for his confessions, he wants assurances justice will be swift.
They discuss his travels, his knowledge of boats and woods, and he offers hints at his criminal past that may offer tangible links to unsolved crimes.
He talks about getting an adrenaline rush from killing, and that sometimes, as when robbing banks or stealing and selling guns, he was motivated by money.
He explained his methodology and rationale behind hiding "caches" of crime kits across the nation -- guns, money, other items he'd need to commit a crime or get away quickly.
"I can't be satisfied sitting in prison for all my life. I've been lots of places and I've done lots of things, and sitting in prison for the rest of my life is a death penalty -- same thing to me. I'd rather go out while I still have some sanity and good memories," Keyes told investigators during an interview in April, 2012.
We've attached the audio files to this story, and will update a synopsis for each one as we get through them.
Channel 2 intern Cheyenne Matthews also contributed to this report.