Topic: serial killer
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October 1, 2013 at 11:27 AM
ANCHORAGE — Investigators are following up on tips about an Alaska serial killer that were prompted by new information released to the public, an FBI official said.
The agency in August posted more than six hours of videotaped interviews with Israel Keyes conducted by agents, federal prosecutors and Anchorage police in the months before his suicide last December in an Anchorage jail.
The FBI also released an updated timeline of travels and crimes by Keyes in the hope that someone might be able to match his movements in the past 12 years to people missing before his arrest in Lufkin, Texas, in March 2012. Keyes was believed to have killed 11 people across the country, but investigators had exhausted all their leads and decided to seek the public’s help with the release of the interviews and the timeline.
Investigators received a few leads from outside Alaska after the new information was released, according to FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez. He declined to elaborate on the nature of the information.
“At this point, there’s nothing that we’re discussing publicly,” Gonzales said Monday.
Keyes said in interviews with authorities that he buried three victims in the state of Washington and submerged two others in a lake. But as with most of his other victims, Keyes refused to provide many more details about their whereabouts.
Keyes also voiced concerns about two knives that were missing from his girlfriend’s home in Anchorage, indicating that blood might be found inside one of them, a folding knife, and that it was associated with one of the Washington killings.
Keyes frequented prostitutes during his travels, according to the FBI. Authorities said he also robbed several banks to fund his travels along with money he made as a general contractor. He told investigators he broke into as many as 30 homes throughout the country and said he covered up a homicide through arson.
When he killed himself in jail, Keyes, 34, was awaiting a federal trial in the rape and strangulation murder of his last known victim, Samantha Koenig, 18. The teenager was abducted in February 2012 from the Anchorage coffee shop where she worked.
Koenig’s dismembered body was pulled from a lake north of Anchorage two months after she went missing.
The FBI has said that after Koenig’s death, Keyes may have been responsible for a homicide in Texas or a nearby state — a crime Keyes denied.
Keyes later confessed to the 2011 murders of Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vt., and indicated to authorities that there were victims in a total of 10 states.
Koenig and Curriers were the only victims named by Keyes because he knew authorities had tied him to their deaths. Keyes told investigators only one other victim’s body besides Koenig’s was ever recovered, but said that person’s death was ruled as accidental.
The bodies of the Curriers were never found.
Keyes moved to Anchorage in 2007, but continued to travel extensively outside the state.
May 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM
Condemned serial killer Robert Lee Yates Jr., awaiting execution for the murders of two women in Pierce County in the late 1990s, is seeking an appeal of his death sentence in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Yates, 60, a father of five and former Air National Guard helicopter pilot, has already had his death sentence upheld by the Washington State Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to reconsider that decision. Yates is now attempting to enter the federal district court system by seeking a petition for habeas corpus.
Even though Yates does not currently have an execution date, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez ordered a stay until September, pending the filing of the formal petition. Martinez said that Yates has raised at least one “nonfrivolous ground for relief.” He also appointed two attorneys to represent him on appeal.
Yates, who has confessed and pleaded guilty to 13 other murders in Spokane, Walla Walla and Skagit counties, alleges in a petition filed Wednesday that he was denied effective counsel during his 2002 trial in Pierce County. He alleges his attorneys failed to adequately investigate and present to the jury evidence of mental illness or present “evidence of Yates’s many positive relationships, his acts of caring and kindness, and his love he feels for his family and they feel for him.”
“Robert Yates has repeatedly killed,” the motion states. “Understanding and explaining why … is the most basic duty of competent capital counsel.
“Trial counsel failed to meet that obligation in this case,” the motion says.
The motion states that Yates is mentally ill and that, “through no fault of his own, Mr. Yates suffers from a severe paraphilic disorder” that predisposed him to commit sex-killings.
“I don’t think Mr. Yates helps his cause by relying on the fact that he’s a necrophiliac,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
Yates killed at least 15 people, mostly prostitutes, between 1996 and 1998. He received a plea deal and 408 years in prison in 2000 for confessing to 13 of the murders.
Prosecutors in Pierce County, where two of the women were killed, sought and obtained a death penalty in 2002 for the deaths of Melinda Mercer, 24, in 1997 and Connie LaFontaine Ellis, 35, in 1998.
December 11, 2012 at 7:02 AM
Is Jesus the reason, or is the sign just too big? A man in Pasco, Tri-Cities, has a 6 feet by 3-and-a-half feet decoration outside his home that says “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but his homeowners association says the sign violates the association’s covenants and wants it down. The homeowner says the real reason is some folks don’t like the message, and he’s not budging. The association says the only issue is the sign’s size, not its message.
Parking for free at the airport … Were you among the 10,500 folks who didn’t get billed for parking at Sea-Tac? (Audit: $395,000 lost due to faulty Sea-Tac parking machines.) Of course, it’s not a good thing that the port didn’t collect all that money, but, again, did you get to park free at the airport, huh? Is that cool or what? Do you think the people who didn’t get charged should now pay up? Vote in our poll.
Tacoma shooting leaves one dead, one wounded: The shooting occurred about 1 a.m. today in a church parking lot. The victims were in a car with three other people.
The Alaska serial killer: Israel Keyes, who killed a barista up there and then confessed to several other slayings before he killed himself Dec. 2, says he did research on Ted Bundy and other serial killers, but that he had his own style. Why are we still writing about this guy?
Stories trending this morning on seattletimes.com:
- Seahawks’ Pete Carroll focuses on Bills as NFL spotlight shines on Seattle
- Op-ed: Old-school job skills you won’t find on Google
- Democratic duo joins with GOP to shake up state Senate
- 2 years after Susan Powell vanished, Utah cops checked dad-in-law’s phone
- Jason Bay another piece for Mariners, but a bigger prize must come
Nick Provenza: 206-464-2142 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @NickProvenza1
December 3, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Before killing himself in an Anchorage jail cell over the weekend, suspected murderer Israel Keyes claimed he had killed four people in Washington and others around the country.
Frank Harrill, the FBI’s senior supervisory agent in Spokane, said this morning that there is a “very active” investigation into Keyes’ statements to Anchorage authorities.
Drivers license and other data show Keyes, 34, had addresses in Colville in Stevens County and Neah Bay in Clallam County. A Neah Bay post-office box was in Keyes’ name as recently as 2008, according to records.
According to military records, Keyes served in the Army from July 1998 to July 2001. He was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord beginning in November 1998.
It doesn’t appear that Keyes had a felony record in Washington state, but was cited for driving with a suspended license in Thurston County in January 2002.
Harrill, however, said at this point the investigation has not focused on specific victims, but rather is looking at known homicides and missing persons and comparing them to the information Keyes has given investigators in Alaska.
“We are working very closely with Anchorage and with our local partners here,” said Harrill, who declined to offer specifics.
Ayn Dietrich, the spokeswoman for the FBI’s Seattle office, said agents here have been looking into information from Keyes “for the past several months.
“We are pursuing all leads on possible victims,” she said.
Keyes was to stand trial in March in Anchorage federal court for the slaying of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, who was abducted from a coffee kiosk in the city last February. He was later arrested in Texas after using the victim’s debit card.
Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said Keyes confessed to killing Koenig, as well as killing Bill and Lorraine Currier, of Essex, Vt.
The bodies of the Curriers have never been found. They were last seen leaving their jobs on June 8, 2011.
During a news conference this morning, authorities in Burlington, Vt., offered additional details in the slayings of the Curriers, according to the Burlington Free Press.
Keyes didn’t have a clear pattern in victims, who ranged widely in age, authorities said. Money appeared to be just a partial motive.
Authorities said they may never know the full extent of Keyes’ crimes because he parsed out only a little information at a time, withholding names and locations of most of his victims.
In addition to Vermont and Washington state, Keyes claimed to have killed someone in New York state.
– Times staff reporter Hal Bernton and news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report, which includes information from The Associated Press.
June 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM
The King County Sheriff’s Office announced today the remains of a woman killed by Green River Killer Gary L. Ridgway have been positively identified.
Since their discovery in 1985, the remains have been referred to as Jane Doe B16, or bones 16, authorities said. But on Monday, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman confirmed that through DNA they have identified the remains as belonging to Sandra Denise Major.
The identity was made after Major’s family in New York State called police after seeing a reconstruction of what the slain woman could have looked like on a television show about Ridgway’s crimes, the Sheriff’s Office said. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office found that DNA in the bones matched the New York family’s DNA.
Major, 20, was last seen in 1982 getting into a pickup in North Seattle.
Major’s remains were found down a steep embankment on the outskirts of Mountain View Cemetery in Auburn on Dec. 30, 1985, according to court filings.
Until now, the B16 was believed to be an African-American woman between the ages of 20 and 25. She was between 5-feet-1 and 5-feet-4, according to court filings. Her body “had been placed along a large fallen log,” court filings said.
When questioned in 2003, as part of his plea agreement, Ridgway “claimed that he could not recall any specifics” about the woman or another set of remains found nearby. Ridgway told investigators that he killed one of the victims, then killed a 16-year-old girl identified as Kimi-Kai Pitsor, and then killed a another woman.
The three sets of remains were found around the cemetery; Ridgway pleaded guilty to all three. Until now, Pitsor was the only one of the three who had been identified.
The third victim’s remains found near Mountain View Cemetery have not been identified. She is believed to be a Caucasian female in her teens, court filings said.
After Ridgway’s arrest in 2001, then-King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng agreed he would not seek the death penalty against him in exchange for his cooperation in locating the remains of dozens of victims. Ultimately, Ridgway admitted to nearly 70 slayings, but at the time prosecutors said they only had evidence linking him to 48 cases.
In February 2011, he pleaded guilty to a 49th homicide, admitting to a packed Kent courtroom that among his first victims was a 20-year-old prostitute named Rebecca “Becky” Marrero. Marrero was last seen walking out of a SeaTac motel on Dec. 3, 1982.
Ridgway admitted to killing Marrero years ago, but her remains weren’t found until December 2010.
Most of Ridgway’s victims were young runaways, prostitutes or drug addicts picked up on Pacific Highway South.
Mystery still surrounds three Ridgway victims, whose remains have been found but never identified. Ridgway implied that the three were killed in spring or summer 1983.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the remains belonged to:
– A white female, possibly as young as 12; found March 21, 1984, in the Burien area off Des Moines Memorial Drive South.
– A white female, between 14 and 17; found Jan. 2, 1986, near Mountain View Cemetery in Auburn.
– A white female, between 16 and 20; found July 2003, in a wooded area along Kent-Des Moines Road.
Also in 2003, Ridgway claimed to have killed three other women: Kelly Kay McGinness, 18; Kassee Lee, 16; and Patricia Osborn, 19. But the women’s remains have never been found and he wasn’t charged in their slayings because of a lack of sufficient evidence.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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