PHOENIX – Police arrested a man in two sexual assaults blamed on the city's elusive Baseline Killer. But they stopped well short of saying Thursday that they have caught the predator who has been spreading fear across the Phoenix area.
Mark Goudeau, a 42-year-old construction worker, was arrested Wednesday and accused of attacking two sisters, ages 21 and 23, in September 2005 while they were walking in a park at night.
Police said forensic evidence tied him to the two crimes, but they would not elaborate, and did not say exactly how the women were assaulted.
The Baseline Killer, so-named because his earliest crimes occurred along Phoenix's Baseline Road, has been linked to 23 crimes in the Phoenix metropolitan area dating to August 2005, including eight killings, 11 sexual assaults of women and girls, and several robberies. Investigators said they connected the crimes through either forensic evidence or similarities in the way they were committed.
"This suspect has been arrested for the sexual assault of two victims in one case only and is not connected to any of the other offenses in this series at this time," Police Chief Jack Harris said.
He said there may be other people who committed crimes that are part of the Baseline Killer investigation who have not yet been caught.
Goudeau made an initial appearance in court Thursday, looking fatigued and a bit shellshocked as he was asked by a judge to state his name and birthdate. He was charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, sexual abuse and sexual assault and was ordered held without bail.
His lawyer, Corwin Townsend, said he will plead not guilty.
"My husband is innocent," Goudeau's wife, Wendy Carr, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "This is a huge miscarriage of justice. And they have an innocent man in prison. This is all a mistake. He shouldn't be in prison for something he didn't do."
Police Cmdr. Kim Humphrey said Goudeau resembles a widely circulated police sketch depicting the Baseline Killer as a man with dreadlocks. But neighbors of Goudeau told reporters he does not look like the man in the sketch.
According to investigators, the sexual assaults blamed on the Baseline Killer range from fondling to rape. In many cases, victims had conversations with the man before they were attacked. He appeared to have a gun, and often threatened to shoot and kill victims. The Baseline Killer is also thought to wear disguises, strikes in the dark, and generally targets people who are alone.
The case is one of two serial killer cases that have shaken the Phoenix area over the past year.
In the other, dubbed the Serial Shooter investigation, police arrested Dale S. Hausner, 33, and Samuel Dieteman, 30, last month. The roommates are charged with murder and attempted murder in 16 shootings, two of them fatal.
Police believe Hausner and Dieteman took turns shooting victims at random. Police are investigating a total of 37 random shootings that killed seven people and wounded 17 since May 2005.