Two simultaneous serial killing sprees had Phoenix-area residents on edge in the summer of 2006 as police scrambled to find the culprits.
Five years later, the last of the three men arrested in the two separate cases goes on trial to face nine first-degree murder counts and 65 other charges in the so-called Baseline Killer case.
Mark Goudeau has pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintains his innocence. Opening statements from defense attorneys and prosecutors are set for Monday in a trial that is expected to last nine months. Jury selection began April 19.
The 46-year-old former construction worker already is serving a 438-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2007 of 19 counts in a brutal 2005 attack. In that case, police say he raped a woman while pointing a gun at her sister’s belly.
Monday’s opening statements are expected to take all day.
The killings started in August 2005 and ended with the murder of Carmen Miranda, of Phoenix, in what police described as a “blitz attack” on the mother of two on June 29, 2006. She was vacuuming her car and talking on her cellphone at an east Phoenix car wash when a man kidnapped her, then shot her in the head and shoved her body in the back seat.
The other eight people who were killed also were attacked while going about daily activities, such as leaving work, waiting at a bus stop or cooking lunch.
The victims were shot in the head, and like Miranda, many of the bodies were left with their pants unzipped and partially pulled down. The dead — eight of them women — ranged from 19 to 39 years old.
Police said forensic evidence, including DNA and ballistics, ties Goudeau to the killings. Defense attorneys contend there are likelier suspects than Goudeau and discredit the DNA tests.
Goudeau’s wife, Wendy Carr, maintains that her husband is not guilty and attends nearly every hearing in the case.
“I don’t mean to oversimplify it, but Mark is innocent, and I think it’s important that I show my support for him,” she said in April. “If even a teeny bit of me thought he could be guilty, I would just go away.”
Goudeau also said he was innocent at his sentencing in 2007.
“What happened to those two girls was indeed horrible,” he told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Andrew Klein, “but I had nothing to do with it.”
Before handing down the sentence, Klein said Goudeau must have two “diametrically opposed” personalities: one calm and respectful in court, and the other sociopathic and brutal.
Before the Baseline Killer crimes, Goudeau was 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 2005 and 2006 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, and Miranda was killed just around the corner from his house.
Goudeau is the last of three suspects to go on trial for a rash of 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.