Journal notes purportedly made by two friends who were lost in the New Mexico desert describe in detail how one killed the other before rescuers reached them.
The diary ascribed to Raffi Kodikian and his friend who was killed, David Coughlin, also included farewell notes to friends and burial instructions, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported today.
"I killed & buried my best friend today. Dave had been in pain all night. At around 5 or 6 he turned to me & begged that I put my knife through his chest. I did, & a second time when he wouldn't die. He still breathed & spoke so I told him that I was going to cover his face. He said OK. He struggled but died. I buried him w/ love. God & his family & mine, please forgive me," Kodikian wrote in a journal entry dated Aug. 8, the newspaper said.
Kodikian, 25, has told investigators Coughlin, 26, pleaded with him to end his pain after the two men got lost and ran out of water early last month while camping in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Investigators won't say exactly what they think happened, but they have charged Kodikian with murder. He is free on $50,000 bail. The Secret Service is examining the journal for fingerprints and analyzing the handwriting to determine whether Coughlin actually wrote in the diary, said Gary McCandless, chief of detectives for the sheriff's office.
On one page is a farewell note signed "David Andrew" and addressed to Coughlin's girlfriend, Sonnet Frost: "Sonnet, Baby, I write this with a shaking hand. . . . I do not know what to do right now, but I am in utter agony and I know you would understand. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! I have barely eaten & drank since Wed. evening. Nobody is coming to help. I love you! . . . We had forever but now all we have is eternity. . . ."
Another journal entry read: "We will not let the buzzards get us alive. God forgive us." Another written by Kodikian said, "Dave has asked that his remains be cremated and thrown over the edge of the Grand Canyon. I leave the handling of my remains to my family."
Kodikian's lawyer, Gary C. Mitchell, said the killing was an act of mercy because the two were lost in the desert in searing heat without water. He said the two had agreed to help one another die.
Authorities have said Coughlin was not near death when he was stabbed, and the men's campsite was just 275 feet from a trail, and a mile and a half from their car.
The Inquirer said the Eddy County, N.M., sheriff's office made public some excerpts from the journal, and that it obtained others, though it did not disclose how.
Sheriff M.A. "Chunky" Click and Gary McCandless, chief of detectives, were unavailable for comment on the newspaper's story.