PHOENIX – An Arizona jury on Monday found a former construction worker guilty of killing nine people in the so-called Baseline Killer case that terrorized the Phoenix area during the summer of 2006.
Mark Goudeau was accused of attacking his victims as they went about daily activities, such as leaving work or washing their car. He left most of them with their pants unzipped and partially pulled down. The victims — eight of them women — ranged from 19 to 39 years old
Prosecutors had called the 47-year-old Goudeau a "ravenous wolf" driven by a hunger to rape women and kill those who didn't cooperate with his demands. Defense attorneys insisted that there are likelier suspects than Goudeau and questioned DNA tests linking Goudeau to the crimes.
In all, Goudeau faced 72 counts, including the nine murders and various counts of kidnapping, sexual assault and robbery. He was found guilty of all but four counts, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on one charge.
"Hopefully there's going to be some closure in my mind now," said Alvin Hogue, 53, whose wife was killed with another woman as they cooked food inside a lunch truck in Phoenix. His wife left behind Hogue and six children altogether, including their then 4-month-old twin boys.
"They'll never know their mother," said Hogue, who attended the reading of the verdict along with dozens of other victims' family members. "I've been waiting a long time for this ... It's pretty clear he's the one who did it."
Goudeau, dressed in a suit, kept his head down as the verdicts were read and shook it from side to side periodically. The verdicts in the four-month trial mean he's now eligible for the death penalty. The sentencing phase begins Wednesday.
Although Goudeau already was serving a 438-year prison sentence in a sexual assault case connected to the Baseline Killer crimes for raping a woman while pointing a gun at her sister's belly, prosecutors pursued the nine murder charges in a separate trial to get him the death sentence.
The killings started in August 2005 and ended with the murder of Carmen Miranda, in what police described as a "blitz attack," on June 29, 2006. The mother of two was vacuuming her car and talking on her cellphone at a car wash when she was kidnapped and shot in the head. Her body was shoved in the back seat of her car, her legs over her head and her pants partially down.
The other eight people who were killed also were attacked at random. For example, Tina Washington, a 39-year-old preschool teacher, had been waiting at a bus stop after a Christmas party when she was killed. She was found shot to death in an alley on Dec. 12, 2005.
In opening statements in June, prosecutor Suzanne Cohen showed jurors graphic images of the victims as their family members looked on, weeping and consoling one another. All the victims were shot in the head and were shown lying in pools of blood.
Some people observing the trial had to leave the courtroom as certain pictures were shown. One depicted a 37-year-old woman whose 8-year-old son found her body at home in a tub of water.
Cohen said the boy turned off the water and unsuccessfully tried to pull her out of the tub before trying to perform CPR on her lifeless body.
Prosecutors told jurors that DNA, ballistics and other evidence tied Goudeau to the crimes. Inside his home police found victims' blood and a ring belonging to Washington. The ring had three birth stones and the phrase "we love mom" inscribed on the side.
Meanwhile, Goudeau's attorney, Randall Craig, told jurors that there was a serious lack of DNA evidence in the case, and he questioned the integrity of the investigation.
"The Phoenix Police Department suffered from a severe case of tunnel vision," he said during the trial. "The key result of all this was they apprehended the wrong guy."
Craig told reporters on Monday that he and Goudeau were obviously disappointed in the jurors' decision.
"It's just a shock," he said. "This is something that's going to take time to get used to ... Obviously I don't agree with the verdict, but I respect it."
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement that "a terrible scourge on our community has now been held accountable for his crimes."
"It is now the charge of the criminal justice system to see that the sentences for death are carried out as expeditiously as possible," he said.
In 2007, Goudeau was sentenced to 438 years in prison in a 2005 attack linked to the Baseline Killer case in which he raped a woman while pointing a gun at her pregnant sister's belly. When the judge in that trial handed down Goudeau's sentence, he said that Goudeau must have two "diametrically opposed" personalities — one calm and respectful in court, and the other sociopathic and brutal.
Goudeau also had been imprisoned for 13 years after being convicted of beating a woman's head against a barbell. The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency paroled him eight years early in 2004.
Goudeau previously acknowledged being a recovering drug addict and once blamed his history of violence on a weakness for crack cocaine.
Police named the series of killings and other crimes after Baseline Road in south Phoenix where many of the earliest attacks happened. Goudeau lived only a few miles from many of the attack sites.
Goudeau was the last of three suspects to go on trial for a rash of killings and attacks that terrorized the Phoenix area for more than a year.
Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman were arrested in the so-called Serial Shooter case in August 2006. Hausner was convicted in March 2009 of killing six people and attacking 19 others in dozens of random nighttime shootings and was given six death sentences. Dieteman testified against Hausner and was sentenced to life in prison.
The two serial killer cases had Phoenix-area residents on edge at the height of both sprees in the summer of 2006. Women felt particularly vulnerable because the Baseline Killer targeted women, while the Serial Shooter case made most everyone nervous because the attacks happened at random and targeted pedestrians and bicyclists at night.
Some even changed their daily routines, avoiding being out late or keeping away from busy streets to avoid notice.
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