Monday, 25 March 2013

Jewish Serial killer says ’I’m two different people’

Handyman. Army veteran. Itinerant. Serial killer.

By his own admission, Israel Keyes was “two different people.”

The portrait that is emerging of the confessed murderer, who killed himself in his Alaska prison cell over the weekend, shows a methodical man who planned his crimes in detail, carried them out with precision and went to great lengths to dispose of bodies and evidence.

Keyes, a 34-year-old native of Washington state, told the authorities he murdered at least eight people and possibly more — including Vermonters Bill and Lorraine Currier — during a nationwide, years-long spree.

This is how he described himself, according to an audio clip the FBI released Monday night:

“There is no one who knows me or who has ever known me who knows anything about me, really. They know — they’re gonna tell you something that does not line up with anything I tell you, because I’m two different people, basically, and the only person who knows about what I’m telling you, the kind of things I’m telling you, is me.”

Keyes killed himself Sunday in an Alaska prison, where he is jailed on federal charges related to a murder at the start of the year. His death opened a floodgate of information that law enforcement had been withholding. Free of a vow investigators made to Keyes to stay silent publicly regarding his crimes to ensure his continued cooperation, the authorities have started to answer longstanding questions.

“He described to us that he had been involved in criminal activities for many, many years,” Kevin Feldis, chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Anchorage, Alaska, told the Burlington Free Press on Monday.

Keyes’ victims, according to police and prosecutors, all were strangers to him. They include:

• Bill Currier, 50, and Lorraine Currier, 55, of Essex, who were abducted, brutalized and slain June 9, 2011.

• Samantha Koenig, an 18-year-old Anchorage coffee-cart worker who was kidnapped and murdered in February 2012. Keyes’ use of her debit card led to his arrest in March.

• A couple in Washington state sometime between 2001-05, and two unconnected individuals in Washington state in 2005-06, about whom Keyes provided little additional information.

• One unnamed individual who the FBI says was slain somewhere on the East Coast in 2009 and dumped in New York. The person was not from Vermont.

• An unknown number of other people. “We believe there are other victims in other states,” Mary Rook, the FBI special agent in charge for Anchorage, said shortly after Keyes’ suicide. “We are continuing our efforts to identify those victims.”

Keyes plotted his crimes in advance, stashing weapons, money and supplies and scouting locations he planned to use, investigators said. He moved swiftly, purposefully and without pity when he killed. And then he carefully disposed of bodies: Keyes used a chainsaw to cut a hole in a frozen Alaska lake, then dumped Koenig’s body into the icy depths, federal authorities in Anchorage said as an example.

Ayn Sandalo Dietrich, a Seattle-based FBI spokeswoman, told the Free Press on Monday night that investigators are working with agents in Alaska to track down details about the four people Keyes claimed to have killed in Washington.

The suspect’s suicide, Dietrich said, complicates the work. After confessing to the Currier murders, Keyes never told investigators whom else he killed or where he killed them — and there are “dozens” of unsolved homicides and missing-persons cases from Washington’s big cities to its American Indian reservations, Dietrich said.

“We haven’t narrowed it down to any individuals or regions. We have a big pool of people to choose from,” she said. “It’s a big state. There’s a lot of unsolved murders and disappearances. It’s a big disappointment to lose that investigative resource.”

Keyes was born and raised in Washington state, federal prosecutor Feldis said. He graduated from high school but did not attend college. Keyes traveled extensively as an adult and lived in four states: Alaska, Oregon, New York (Constable) and Washington. He has family in Maine and visited them after killing the Curriers.

He served in the Army from about 1999 to 2001, Feldis said, and during at least part of that time was stationed in Egypt. Keyes was based out of Washington state and returned there after his service ended.

The FBI said Keyes remained in Washington until 2007, then moved to Anchorage. His job? Self-employed handyman and general contractor. His customers thought highly of him, Feldis said.

“He did the work and was reliable,” the prosecutor said. “It was something he was skilled at.”

But at the same time, Keyes told the authorities, he was committing crimes across the country: mostly murders, but also multiple bank robberies (two are confirmed, in Texas and New York; others are suspected). He stashed caches of weapons, money and “items used to dispose of his victims” nationwide, after murders and in preparation for future crimes, the FBI said. Two caches have been found, one in Eagle River, Alaska, and another in Parishville, N.Y. — the same town where Keyes dumped the gun and homemade silencer he used to kill Bill Currier.

Keyes told investigators where to find that gun, along with a handgun missing from the Currier home. Locating the weapons helped the authorities corroborate his confession.

The FBI, in a timeline released late Monday broadly describing Keyes’ movements since 2004, said traveled from his Alaska home throughout much of the United States, including Hawaii, the West, Southwest, Midwest and East; British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada; and Mexico.

He killed because he enjoyed it, authorities in Vermont and Alaska said.

“It was not a matter of, ‘Why?’ — it was a matter of, ‘Why not?’ for him after a certain point,” Feldis said.

In the 30-second clip of Keyes’ interview with the FBI released Monday, an unidentified agent asks the confessed murderer, “How long have you been two different people?”

There is a pause, then a laugh, before Keyes responds.

“A long time: 14 years.”

That means his killing spree began when he was 20.

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