Keyes Charged with Kidnapping Resulting in Death, Other Federal Charges, in Koenig Case (UPDATED)
UPDATED: Keyes pleads not guilty to all three charges
UPDATE: Thursday morning in U.S. District Court Israel Keyes pled not guilty to all three charges in the federal case against him related to the slaying of Samantha Koenig. Prosecutors asked the court for the maximum penalty for each charge. For the first charge, kidnapping resulting in death, Keyes could face the death penalty. Count 2, receipt and possession of ransom money, tops out at ten years, and Count 3, fraud with access device, can result in up to 15 years in prison.
ANCHORAGE – Anchorage resident Israel Keyes, long a suspect in the killing of barista Samantha Koenig, finally was charged in that crime today.
A federal grand jury issued a new three-count indictment that accuses Keyes, 34, of kidnapping resulting in death, in connection with the 18-year-old woman's abduction on February 1.
The seven-minute press conference did not provide much, if any information, beyond what is contained in the indictment, except that Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew implied that there's an ongoing investigation into Keyes that involves crimes other than Samantha Koenig’s murder.
But some of the details in the indictment were new.
For example, it suggests that Keyes was on foot when he abducted Koenig from the Common Grounds coffee stand on Tudor Road, saying that he took her to his white pickup truck across the street in the Home Depot parking lot.
Mew expressed concern for the Koenig family: “I only hope that this prosecution will give them some sense of satisfaction in knowing that the man we believe responsible for her death will now have to stand before the bar of justice for his actions."
One revelation today is that prosecutors believe Keyes flew to Houston, Texas, immediately after killing Koenig, returning to Anchorage on February 17.
They say he used Koenig’s phone to demand ransom money in Alaska until he flew to Las Vegas on March 6.
Reward money solicited from the public was used to pay the ransom, which was collected through a credit union debit card that Keyes allegedly obtained from a vehicle shared by Koenig, who gave him the PIN number before she died.
The indictment says he continued to withdraw ransom money in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, before being arrested in Texas in March.
Keyes will be arraigned at 10 a.m. Thursday in U.S. district court.
Alaska does not have the death penalty, but the first count of the federal indictment makes Keyes eligible for it.
To read the indictment, click here.