What makes a psychopathic murderer like Israel Keyes tick?


On 2 December 2012, prison guards in Anchorage, Alaska, found a horrific scene.

Inmate Israel Keyes had cut one wrist and strangled himself with bed sheets.

Keyes, 34, had previously killed 11 people.

He left behind a suicide poem which acts as an insight into his twisted mind.

There will be no more laughter here. I feel your body tense up…

You shudder with revulsion and try to shrink far from me.

I’ll have you tied down and begging to become my Stockholm sweetie…

But what drove him to kill?

Keyes was born into a strict Mormon family, second of nine children. As such, it’s possible that the attention he had been used to receiving when he was younger, was increasingly being shared among his siblings. Did that give Keyes an ego problem and a need for attention?

At a white supremacist church he became friends with brothers Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe – who’d later be jailed for bombings, murders and torture.

Did Keyes find in them kindred spirits, who may have encouraged his psychopathic tendencies?

Either way, Keyes had a love for shooting and torturing animals.

He became a loner.

Thrown out by his parents for being an atheist, he joined the Army. It’s conceivable that in somebody like Keyes, some of the attraction of a military career would have been the possibility of taking life.

In 2001 he left the Army and, shortly afterwards, murdered an unidentified couple.

It’s possible he went on to kill up to 11 people across America.

Shockingly, he buried ‘murder kits’ around the country, containing shovels, bleach, guns and ties, and he would take himself off on ‘murder trips’, usually in remote areas far from home.

Keyes sought power and control over his victims, appearing to view them as commodities.

He later had a daughter and, although he split from her mum, he remained a doting dad.

In April 2009 he robbed a bank and burgled a house before setting it on fire. All of which would have fed his ego.

In June 2011, he broke into the home of Bill and Lorraine Currier. He tied them up, beat Bill with a shovel and shot him, then sexually assaulted and strangled Lorraine.

Bill and Lorraine Currier (Photo: PA Photos)

Bill and Lorraine Currier (Photo: PA Photos)

Eight months later he kidnapped Samantha Koenig, 18. He raped and strangled her.

Keyes demanded a ransom, before dismembering her.

He was arrested withdrawing funds after the ransom was paid.

Shockingly, Keyes chuckled as he confessed. It seems he got a sick enjoyment out of killing, and this retelling of the events helped him to relive moments when he felt most alive and powerful.

Samantha Koenig was raped and strangled (Photo: PA Photos)

Samantha Koenig was raped and strangled (Photo: PA Photos)

It was while awaiting trial that he took his own life.

Though Keyes had admitted seven murders, police still believe he killed around 11 strangers.

Killing had become so engrained in his whole being that it could be argued that he couldn’t bear to live without being able to kill. As he faced the death penalty, he might have balked at the idea of someone else taking his life – he viewed it as his job to kill.

Keyes left a suicide note, but not by way of explanation, confession or apology – it was more a glorification of himself. The final act of claiming the attention he felt he deserved.

In his own twisted way, Israel Keyes has assured himself the place in history he craved.