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Serial killer bargained with prosecutors in exchange for death

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Hours of recorded interviews between Israel Keyes and investigators reveal a detached serial killer who, after he was finally caught, had one main goal: to die. Keyes, apparently frustrated that the legal system couldn't accommodate his speedy execution wish, ended up taking his own life in December, about nine months after his arrest in connection with the kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Anchorage barista Samantha Koenig.

The interviews were released to the public for the first time Monday, the result of an Alaska Dispatch court motion to unseal federal case files related to Keyes. Alaska Dispatch and the U.S. Attorney's Alaska office negotiated the release of most, but not all, of the records, agreeing to allow some details and files to remain private to accommodate either the sensitivity of the victims' families or the limited, ongoing needs of investigators.

The audio files contain discussions with Keyes that took place from April to July last year. In them, he seems unfazed by his capture. Articulate, level-headed and polite, he trades nibbles of information for time to puff on cigars, and seems confident it is he -- not investigators -- who has the upper hand. He wants to fire his attorney and is firm in his desire to keep the details of his crimes out of the media spotlight.

He believes there is no way he can avoid the death penalty in an American courtroom, nor does he want to. He pushes prosecutors to guarantee him death within a year. Do this for him, he tells them, and he will lead them through the details of his nationwide killing spree, excursions he would later refer to casually as "trips."