My Stuff

Serial shooting suspect takes deal

This is why I don’t like plea deals. You can bet that Samuel Dieteman is going to say anything and everything he can to get his former buddy Dale Hausner convicted of murder and executed.

Will Samuel Dieteman tell the truth? Or will Samuel Dieteman tell the jury a script given to him by the prosecutors in Andrew Thomas’s Maricopa Country Attorneys office?


April 4, 2008 - 10:50PM

Serial shooting suspect takes deal

Nick R. Martin, Tribune

One of the two suspects in the Valley’s Serial Shooters killing spree pleaded guilty to two murders and agreed to testify against his friend in a surprise deal announced Friday by prosecutors.

Samuel Dieteman confessed to the murders of Robin Blasnek of Mesa and Claudia Gutierrez Cruz of Scottsdale, each of whom were gunned down in random shootings in mid-2006.

Dieteman also said he would take the stand against his former roommate, Dale Hausner, who is scheduled for trial in September on seven first-degree murder charges and a host of others.

In exchange, Dieteman got nothing. Maricopa County prosecutors still plan to ask a jury to sentence him to death.

But if the jury decides to spare him, the 32-year-old will have to spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole, according to the terms of the agreement.

“One could construe this as him throwing himself on the mercy of the court,” said Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas at an afternoon news conference.

The fact that he is cooperating in the case will be shown to the jury as a possible reason to spare his life, Thomas said.

The deal also “significantly strengthened” the case against Hausner, who has pleaded not guilty to his charges, Thomas said.

The case overall hit a speed bump recently when a key witness, Ron Horton, fell ill and died unexpectedly. Horton was the person who first tipped off police to the identities of the men after Dieteman reportedly made a bar-stool confession to him.

Thomas would not talk about what kind of testimony Dieteman agreed to give or how prosecutors convinced him to take the deal, but at least this much was clear: It brought relief, for now, for some of the victims.

“If that’s what they had to do to get Dieteman to testify against Hausner, then I’m all for it,” said Daryl Davies, a Phoenix man who survived one of the shootings.

Davies said he still has shotgun pellets in his arm and abdomen from the May 31, 2006, shooting linked to the case. Doctors considered it too risky to pull some of the pellets out, so he has to live with them, he said.

The shooting also left him wary of walking outdoors at night, because that was the time of day he was shot.

Davies said he hoped Dieteman would get the death penalty to endure some of the anxiety he has had to live with.

“It’s not the life for me,” Davies said. “It wasn’t the life I intended.”

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said the deal began to lift the lingering pall of the case from the victims and the rest of the Valley.

“While it’s hard to say much that is good about a serial shooter case, this is probably as good a day as it could be,” he said, speaking alongside Thomas at the news conference.

“I’m confident that the county attorney will receive a conviction on the co-conspirator, and hopefully his life will be ended by the state,” Gordon said.

The two murders to which Dieteman pleaded guilty were the only ones with which he was charged. He also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

The killings are thought to be the only ones that took place in the East Valley.

Family members of Blasnek and Cruz could not be reached for comment.

Blasnek was killed July 30, 2006, while walking to her boyfriend’s house near Stapley Drive and Brown Road in Mesa.

Cruz was killed May 2, 2006, near 54th Street and Thomas Road in Scottsdale, while walking to a nearby grocery store. When it happened, she was about two miles away from where a teen, the shooters’ youngest victim, had been shot and injured just two hours earlier.

Isatu Kabba, the mother of that teen, said she was happy to hear the news.

Her son, Kibili Tambadu, is almost finished with high school and has a job, but is still uncomfortable walking or driving anywhere alone, she said.

As of the midday, Tambadu hadn’t heard of the plea deal, but he would be ecstatic to find out, she said.

“It’s just not my son he hurt,” Kabba said. “He hurt a lot of people. It’s good to take him off the street so he can’t hurt other people.”

Tribune writer Mike Sakal contributed to this report.


1 accused 'Serial Shooter' pleads guilty

Man admits his role in 2 of 7 murders

by Michael Kiefer - Apr. 4, 2008 11:19 AM

The Arizona Republic

Samuel Dieteman, one of two men accused of the "Serial Shooter" crimes that left seven dead during a 14-month shooting spree, pleaded guilty to two murders Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

There had been whispers in the courthouse for months that Dieteman would plead guilty and offer testimony against his co-defendant, Dale Hausner.

But the assumption was that prosecutors would take the death penalty off the table for Dieteman. That was not the case on Friday. Dieteman, 32, will still face a jury to decide if he lives or dies. And even if the jury chooses life, Dieteman waived the possibility of parole after 25 years and agreed to serve the rest of his life in prison.

"We dropped quite a few charges," said Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. "But as an actual matter, those charges were meaningless, because he has agreed to natural life in prison. The punishment he would have faced if he had been convicted of every charge that was dropped would not have increased his actual punishment."

Dieteman's plea agreement, which was approved Friday morning by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe, admits to guilt on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Dieteman was never charged in the five other murders attributed to the Serial Shooters in 2005 and 2006. Seventeen other people and several dogs and horses were also shot at random as, according to police, the pair drove across the Valley looking for victims of what they are said to have called "random recreational violence."

Hausner, 35, is charged with all seven murders and numerous other counts. The two were arrested at their Mesa apartment in August 2006.

On Friday, Dieteman pleaded guilty to:

• The May 2, 2006 murder of Claudia Gutierrez-Cruz. Gutierrez-Cruz, 20, had gotten off a bus about 10:30 p.m. on her way home from her restaurant job when she was gunned down from a passing car.

• The July 30, 2006 murder of Robin Blasnek. Blasnek, 22, was walking to a friend's house from her parents' home in Mesa when she was shot and killed.

• Conspiracy to commit murder in the July 1, 2006 shooting of Diane Bein. According to police reports, a "female" was shot in the back and seriously injured as she walked in the 2500 block of E. Van Buren Street in Phoenix after 1:00 a.m. Dieteman was originally charged with attempted first-degree murder in the case.

Dieteman's attorney, Maria Shaffer, did not return phone calls to comment on the plea.

Dieteman will still have to stand trial to determine his punishment, because under Arizona law, the death penalty must be imposed by a jury. It will take place after Hausner's trial, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 3 before Judge Roland Steinle.

Dieteman's guaranteed testimony will help the case against Hausner, which has suffered setbacks in recent months.

In January, an informant who was expected to testify died unexpectedly.

And Hausner's attorneys have challenged the use of incriminating evidence gathered by wiretaps. The Arizona Court of Appeals ordered Steinle to hold hearings on the evidence and Steinle, in turn, has ordered Thomas to appear in court on April 18 to explain why he authorized the wiretap under pretense of emergency instead of having a judge approve it beforehand.

Thomas has filed a special action with the Arizona Supreme Court to avoid testifying.

"I remain concerned that the (evidentiary) proceeding, should it go forward, could create problems for the case on appeal, and that is the primary reason that we have appealed the ruling," Thomas said.

[ First I think Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman are guilty. But I have a pretty bad track record on this. I also thought Ray Krone was guilty, and the Tucson kids who got busted for the temple murders were guilty. Of course all those people were framed by the cops and proven innocent. Ray Krone sat on death row for 10 years before that happened, and the kids from Tucson sat in the Maricopa County Jail for almost a year.

Of course I think the cops violated the civil rights of both Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman. The cops tapped their cell phones and searched their home with out getting a valid search warrant. And of course they paid Samuel Dieteman to testify and probably lie about his buddy Dale Hausner by offering not to sentence him to death. And for all of those reasons I think Dale Hausner's conviction should be thrown out. Yes he is probably as low as you can get when you go around murdering people. But the cops who framed him are also scum. The cops could have busted both Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman with out framing them. But of course in the American police state a cop wouldn't know what a constitutional right was if it punched him in the face so they didn't hesitate to violate their constitutional rights. ]


2nd 'Serial Shooter' Hausner convicted

by Michael Kiefer - Mar. 14, 2009 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

The jurors took their job seriously, slogging through 87 counts, testimony from 150 witnesses and notes from six long months of trial.

After more than two weeks of deliberation, they brought back 80 guilty verdicts Friday afternoon in Maricopa County Superior Court, including six of eight murders.

Their verdict was confirmation: Dale Hausner was the mastermind of the 14-month "Serial Shooter" killing spree in 2005 and 2006 that left at least six men and women dead, wounded 18 more, and killed or wounded nine animals.

The verdicts bring a symbolic close to the events that, along with a second serial-killer case, left the Valley on edge for the summer of 2006, as killers prowled the streets and police worked desperately to find them.

Rebecca Estrada, mother of murder victim David Estrada, sobbed as the verdicts were read.

"He has made my family and myself the most sorrowful family on Earth by taking away David," she said afterward, but she was happy to hear the guilty verdicts. "It helps immensely."

The trial is not over.

When the jury returns on March 23 after a week's vacation, it will kick into a new phase as it determines whether the crimes merit the death penalty.

Some of the factors that would call for the death penalty are obvious. He is convicted of multiple serious crimes. Prosecutors will also try to convince the jury that the murders were carried out in a "cruel and heinous" and "cold and calculating" manner.

Hausner showed little emotion as the verdicts were read.

When the clerk had finished reading, Hausner's mother and two of his brothers were hustled out of the courtroom by sheriff's deputies for their own safety.

"I just want you to know that our hearts go out to the victims of these crimes," Randy Hausner said as he was rushed to an elevator. "We pray for their recovery, and that's where we want to put our focus."

Mary Patrick, mother of shooting victim Paul Patrick, gave an exhausted smile and said, "We're just thankful it's over."

Paul, who attended nearly every hearing, suffered a stroke during the last days of the trial and is hospitalized in critical condition. The stroke is possibly related to his 2006 shooting injuries. Mary said she wished he could have been there for the verdicts.

Verdicts finally here

It was only the earliest crimes in the Serial Shooter case that apparently gave jurors pause: They brought back not-guilty verdicts for the murder of Tony Mendez, shot to death on his bicycle in west Phoenix on the night of May 17, 2005, and Reginald Remillard, a transient shot through the neck and killed while sleeping on a bus-stop bench at Seventh Avenue and Camelback Road seven days later.

They could not convict Hausner of shooting a horse in the West Valley on July 25, 2005, or for trying to kill a dog on Nov. 11, 2005, supposedly before being distracted by Nathaniel Shoffner, whom Hausner shot and killed, instead.

Remillard's sisters attended Friday's verdict reading and said they still had some sense of closure knowing Hausner was convicted of the majority of the charges, even if their brother's death wasn't one of them.

"We're happy he's not going to be out in the public ever again," said Marci Matt, one of the sisters. "We know that he's guilty."

Many of the charges depended on the testimony of Samuel Dieteman, Hausner's accomplice for many of the crimes committed in 2006.

Dieteman was not an eyewitness to the 2005 shootings, although he claimed that Hausner and Hausner's other brother Jeff had bragged to him about some of those crimes.

Dieteman has pleaded guilty in the two murders in 2006 and conspiracy to commit murder. Several counts were dropped in exchange for his testimony against Dale.

Jeff is already serving prison time for one stabbing and will still stand trial for another, a May 2006 attack on a man in west Phoenix named Timothy Davenport. Dale was found guilty in that attack on Friday.

Jeff Hausner also was implicated by Dieteman in two of the murders, although Jeff has not been charged.

After the verdicts were read, Phoenix police Sgt. Andy Hill said, "The investigators and prosecutors are pleased with the verdict. The justice system is moving ahead."

Hill was the voice of the investigation in 2005 and 2006, when the Valley was consumed by simultaneous hunts for the killer in the Serial Shooter case and for another predator known as the "Baseline Killer." Total death toll: 17, plus countless attacks.

2 serial-killer cases

By summer 2006, police realized they had two serial-killer cases under way, and the Valley cowered in fear. Many people were afraid to go out at night, and if they did, they cringed every time a car drove slowly toward them.

In the Serial Shooter case, police believed a killer was stalking the streets from Tolleson to Mesa, looking for random victims to shoot from a car window.

The Baseline Killer was snatching women off busy street corners, sometimes in broad daylight, robbing and raping, and shooting eight women and one man in the head. He often struck in south Phoenix, just north or south of Baseline Road, and in a square-mile section of central Phoenix near 32nd Street and Thomas Road.

A break came when informants called police, saying they had heard Dieteman talking about the shootings in bars. Police followed him and Dale Hausner as they seemed to troll for victims, and then set up an emergency wiretap at their Mesa apartment, where they were overheard talking about the attacks. The two were arrested there Aug. 3, 2006.

Hausner was a janitor at Sky Harbor International Airport who dabbled in photography. Dieteman was an unemployed electrician. Later, both would testify they drank heavily and used methamphetamine. In the apartment, police found scrapbooks of newspaper articles about the Serial Shooter and Baseline Killer attacks.

A month later, an ex-convict named Mark Goudeau was arrested at his central Phoenix home. He has been convicted in two rapes in the Baseline Killer case and awaits trial on other charges.

Hausner, 36, went on trial Sept. 3.

Several victims took the stand to describe their pain and suffering.

Dieteman, who met Hausner in April 2006, testified that Hausner imagined he was carrying out some kind of social cleansing.

He provided damning testimony regarding Hausner's mind-set and provided details, not only of crimes he witnessed, but others that he claimed the Hausner brothers told him about. Hausner's ex-wife and three of his girlfriends unraveled his alibis.

And then, there were the wiretap recordings, in which Hausner was heard making cartoon voices and laughing about the anguished cries of Robin Blasnek, a 22-year-old woman killed on July 30, 2006.

Blasnek was his final victim.

Rebecca Estrada, the mother of Hausner's first confirmed victim, David Estrada, killed June 29, 2005, in Tolleson, said that hearing the wiretap recording was a final straw for her. "I was so appalled by those tapes," she said, "hearing them mimicking Robin. That's when I became really angry."

Reporter JJ Hensley contributed to this article.


Hausner gets 6 death sentences

The Associated Press

March 27, 2009 - 11:48AM

Dale Hausner waits Friday during his sentencing hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. March 27, 2009.

The Associated PressThe main suspect in the Serial Shooter attacks received six death sentences Friday for a series of murders that put the Valley on edge for nearly two years.

Dale Shawn Hausner, a former janitor convicted two weeks ago of killing six people and attacking 19 others in random nighttime shootings, was expressionless as the decisions were announced. His kept his head down and flipped through papers in front of him. Before being led out of the courtroom, Hausner thanked the judge who presided over his trial.

"It's justice as much as it can be," said Rebecca Estrada, whose 20-year-old son, David Estrada, was shot to death in Tolleson in June 2005. "The death penalty is the limit and that's what he deserves." Hausner's mother was whisked out through the courtroom's back door by one of her son's lawyers. Tim Agan, another Hausner lawyer, declined to comment on the death sentences.

Michael Anthony Scerbo, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which prosecuted the case, declined to comment on the decisions.

The jury's decision came a day after Hausner told jurors they should put him to death because it would help the victims' families heal.

Prosecutors say Hausner preyed on pedestrians, bicyclists, dogs and horses during a 14-month conspiracy that occasionally included his brother and his former roommate, Sam Dieteman. Dale Hausner is scheduled to be sentenced Monday on 74 other convictions in the case.

Dieteman, who has pleaded guilty to two of the killings and is awaiting sentencing, testified against Hausner, saying he and his roommate cruised around late at night looking for strangers to shoot. Dieteman could also face the death penalty.

The Serial Shooter attacks and an unrelated serial killer case kept neighborhood watch groups on high alert in the summer of 2006. Families stayed inside as police searched for the killers, and authorities called meetings that drew hundreds of people who learned more about the attacks and were encouraged to provide tips.

Police said their big break in the Serial Shooter case came when one of Dieteman's drinking buddies, Ron Horton, called police to say that Dieteman had bragged about shooting people. "They called it 'RV'ing.' Random Recreational Violence," Horton told The Associated Press in a 2006 interview. Horton died last year.

Dieteman said Hausner professed a hatred for prostitutes and homeless people as they looked for victims in areas frequented by streetwalkers. Still, Dieteman said, Hausner never explained why he wanted to shoot people.

Even though Hausner has denied any involvement in the attacks since his arrest in August 2006, he took an odd turn during the penalty phase of his trial, telling jurors Thursday they should give him the death penalty because it would help the families of victims.

Hausner appeared resigned by that point. He declined the opportunity to call his own witnesses in a bid for leniency and instructed his attorneys not to plead for a life sentence.

"I'm not up here to point the finger at anybody else and say, 'Have mercy on my poor and withered soul,'" Hausner told the jury on Thursday. "I'm willing to accept my punishment like a man without blaming anybody."

Hausner had, in fact, suggested in the past that Dieteman may have carried out some of the attacks, saying his roommate could have taken his car while Hausner was sleeping.

Hausner offered alibis that included being at his girlfriends' houses, shopping at the grocery store, driving in another part of the Phoenix area or taking care of his daughter.

The punishments handed down Friday by the jury were only for the six murder convictions against Hausner. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle is scheduled to sentence Hausner on Monday on his remaining convictions for attempted murder, aggravated assault, drive-by shooting, animal cruelty and other charges.

Two weeks ago, when jurors found Hausner guilty in dozens of the attacks, they acquitted Hausner in two other killings and another attack that didn't result in an injury.

Dieteman, a drifter who slept in Hausner's living room for four months before their arrest, gave damning testimony against his former roommate.

Dieteman told jurors that he and Hausner found humor at the sight of one of their seriously injured victims, who held his stomach and appeared angry.

Hausner's lawyers told jurors that Dieteman gave authorities bad information in hopes of getting out of the death penalty.

Prosecutors said Hausner carried out the shootings for fame and kept news clippings of the crimes as trophies.

Dieteman told jurors that he and Hausner often followed news accounts of the killings because they wanted to see which leads investigators were pursuing. Hausner said there was nothing wrong with his collection of news clippings.

Hausner cast himself as busy divorced father of a sick daughter, a ladies' man and a go-getter with side jobs in standup comedy, bartending and boxing photography. He also made an appearance in a TV commercial for a personal injury law firm.

As a murder defendant, Hausner took several unusual steps. Shortly after his arrest, he held a jailhouse news conference that ended when his newly appointed public defender entered the room and whispered that he should stop talking to reporters.

His decision to take the stand in his own defense exposed him to tough questioning from prosecutors. Hausner admitted that he misrepresented himself to investigators who were looking into two arsons allegedly tied to the case and lying to investigators about where he threw away one of his guns.

In talking to jurors about how the names of infamous serial killers arose during a police interview, Hausner said he was fascinated with serial killers Charles Starkweather and Jeffrey Dahmer, saying he wondered how Dahmer could eat the remains of some of his victims and then go to work the next day.

In a statement to jurors just before deliberations began in his trial's penalty phase, Hausner said the Hausner name would likely become as infamous as Charles Manson's.

Hausner's brother, Jeff Hausner, pleaded guilty in 2007 to a stabbing and is serving a 7 1/2-year prison term. He was indicted in another stabbing attack related to the Serial Shooter case last summer. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.


Jurors sentence Hausner to death

by Michael Kiefer - Mar. 28, 2009

The Arizona Republic

"Serial Shooter" Dale Hausner strode quickly into the courtroom late Friday morning, nodded to the gallery and flashed a quick smile.

But he knew what was coming.

The jury handed him six death sentences:

• One: for David Estrada, a young man shot point-blank in the chest along the roadside at 83rd Avenue and Van Buren Street in Tolleson on June 29, 2005.

• Two: for Nathaniel Shoffner, killed by a shotgun blast at 20th and Monroe streets in Phoenix on Nov. 11, 2005, after he stopped Hausner from shooting a stray dog.

• Three and four: for Jose Ortis and Marco Carillo, killed within minutes of each other as they walked in central Phoenix on the night of Dec. 29, 2005.

• Five: for Claudia Gutierrez Cruz, killed by Hausner's co-defendant Samuel Dieteman on a dare on May 2, 2006, as she walked home from the bus near 60th Street and Thomas Road in Scottsdale. Hausner drove while Dieteman shot.

• Six: for Robin Blasnek, shot to death by Hausner on July 30, 2006, as she walked near her parents' home in Mesa.

The jury scurried out of the building without comment. Hausner's mother, Rosemary, was escorted down a back elevator. And it was over.

Only Estrada's mother, Rebecca, who has been a fixture at the trial, had a comment for the media.

"He's been with me the whole time," she said. "I love you, David, as always. You're my baby."

It has been two years and eight months since Hausner, 36, and Dieteman, 33, were arrested in the Serial Shooter crimes, which terrorized the Valley for 14 months in 2005 and 2006.

Eight people died in the attacks. Hausner was found not guilty of two of the murders. An additional 19 people were shot or stabbed but survived, and 10 animals were wounded or killed.

In all, Hausner was found guilty of 80 crimes, including multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, drive-by shooting, arson and animal cruelty.

He will be back in Maricopa County Superior Court on Monday. Judge Roland Steinle will go through the formality of sentencing Hausner for those other counts, which will likely lead to hundreds of years in prison. And then, Hausner will be turned over to the Arizona Department of Corrections and put on death row.

How long he stays there remains to be seen. As with all death sentences, Hausner's case will automatically be appealed to the Arizona and U.S. Supreme Courts. And after that, he can bounce his appeals through state and federal courts for decades.

Dieteman confessed to two murders that took place in 2006. He did not know Hausner when the first of the crimes and the bulk of the murders took place in 2005. But, according to his testimony against his former roommate, Hausner and his brother Jeff had boasted to him about the other crimes.

But even though he pleaded guilty to the Gutierrez Cruz and Blasnek murders, Dieteman still must go on trial and a jury will decide if he, too, deserves to be put to death.

Dieteman claimed that Jeff Hausner, 42, actually killed David Estrada.

Although he has never been charged in any of the Serial Shooter murders, Jeff already is serving prison time for a stabbing he committed in Dieteman's presence. Jeff also must stand trial involving a second stabbing for which Dale already has been convicted. Both will be tried before Steinle in the coming months.

During his closing arguments on Thursday, Deputy County Attorney Vince Imbordino noted that the victims were cut down unexpectedly as they were going about their daily lives. They never knew what hit them.

Imbordino wished otherwise for Dale Hausner.

"He should know the day and the hour," he said.


Condemned killer Hausner also sentenced to life

Mar. 30, 2009 01:07 PM

Associated Press

Convicted Phoenix serial killer Dale Hausner was sentenced to two life terms and more than 900 years in prison Monday, just days after receiving a half dozen death sentences.

The life sentences were the longest Hausner received during his second sentencing hearing for his convictions in the "Serial Shooter" attacks. If it were humanly possible to serve the other prison sentences, the soonest Hausner would be eligible for parole would be after 247 years.

A jury gave Hausner Friday six death sentences for six murder convictions. Monday's sentencing was for 74 additional charges, including attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and drive-by shooting. Hausner was convicted March 13 in the series of random nighttime attacks, which kept the city on edge in 2005 and 2006.

Hausner's former roommate, Samuel Dieteman, also is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to two of the Serial Shooter killings. Dieteman testified against Hausner.

Arizona Republic reporter Michael Kiefer contributed to this article.


Other Stuff