Spencer also alleged in his letter that "this same supervisor stated that when Violent Crimes Bureau management was presented on multiple occasions [by Rusty Stuart] with potentially exonerating evidence that may have had exculpatory value to Goudeau, the response from both a lieutenant and a sergeant was, 'Why would you want to give that nigger an alibi?'"

Forget the completely unsubstantiated allegations of racial epithets.

The big question is, to what "planted" evidence might this "manager" have been referring?

The 2007 prison mug shot of Terry Wayne Smith, whom Rusty Stuart targeted as the Baseline Killer.
The 2007 prison mug shot of Terry Wayne Smith, whom Rusty Stuart targeted as the Baseline Killer.
Former Phoenix detective David Barnes  "excluded" Smith as a murder suspect.
Michael Ratcliff
Former Phoenix detective David Barnes "excluded" Smith as a murder suspect.

Was it the ring of preschool aide Tina Washington, one of the Baseline Killer's nine known murder victims?

Phoenix homicide Detective Mike Meislish (not a "manager") discovered the ring during the final search of Mark Goudeau's home, weeks after his arrest.

Did Meislish, among the state's most respected crime-scene detectives, plant the ring in one of Goudeau's shoes to ensure conviction?

New Times wrote about the Washington murder six weeks before Goudeau's arrest ("Fear Factor," July 27, 2006). The paper was present when one of the slain woman's sons told a detective about the custom-made ring, which he insisted she always wore.

But the ring was missing after Tina Washington was murdered on December 12, 2005.

Police had scoured area pawnshops for months afterward, hoping in vain to find the keepsake — and with it, an investigative lead.

Or maybe cops planted shell casings that linked many of the homicides to the same gun? (The murder weapon never has turned up.)

Or perhaps it was Mark Goudeau's DNA, which the state lab detected on some of his alleged victims, that these Phoenix cops lied about?

In the latter scenario, crime-scene specialists and hospital personnel (a nurse, in the case of the sisters sexually assaulted by Goudeau) really hadn't lifted genetic material matching Goudeau's from some of the Baseline Killer's victims.

The odds of Goudeau's defense team convincing even one juror of any of that are about as long as making them believe Jesus Christ was involved in the conspiracy.


Rusty Stuart recently claimed that Terry Wayne Smith confessed to him that he was "one of" the Baseline Killers.

That, according to Goudeau attorney Randall Craig, in a court document filed last November 4.

Like the Channel 5 story, Stuart's statement would've been a bombshell if only he or anyone else could've corroborated the supposed confession.

But Stuart didn't mention any such confession in his 2006 summary.

Instead, he wrote at the time, "IT IS CERTAINLY UNCLEAR WHETHER TERRY SMITH HAD ANY INVOLVEMENT IN ANY OF THE CASES ATTRIBUTED TO THE BASELINE KILLER.

"HOWEVER," Stuart continued, "[Smith] DEFINITELY HAS STRONG CONNECTIONS TO THE SUSPECTS IDENTIFIED AS BEING INVOLVED BY THE HOMICIDE TASK FORCE, AND STRONG EVIDENCE OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY IN EACH AREA THE SUSPECTS HAVE STRUCK."

But what about the "confession?"

Terry Smith tells New Times in an interview from prison that he never confessed to Stuart about the Baseline Killer cases.

"I never even spoke to him about that Baseline dude," Smith said in the phone interview from the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis, where he is serving six years for punching a man.

"Personally, I think that Mark Goudeau is a very sick individual who should be put out of his misery for what he did to those poor women."


Rusty Stuart responded to a radio call on the evening of April 18, 2006.

A woman had complained that a man followed her inside the Home Depot at 36th Street and Thomas Road and, then, outside in the parking lot. The man was Terry Smith.

Stuart later wrote about the incident:

"UPON MY CONTACTING TERRY, HE WAS VERBALLY ABUSIVE AND APPEARED TO BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS. TERRY WAS EXTREMELY UNCOOPERATIVE, REFUSED TO GIVE ANY ADDRESS WHERE HE LIVED, AND WAS ACTING IN A VERY AGGRESSIVE MANNER TOWARD MYSELF [and another officer]."

Smith's version to New Times: "I mother-fucked [Stuart] every which way, totally disrespected him, and he didn't like it. This is where it started. He said he was not going to forget me, and he didn't."

It was a tense time in the Valley. Police were convinced that two serial killers were at large, striking at random.

(The Serial Shooter turned out to be two men, Dale Hausner and Sam Dieteman, Mesa roommates who shot their victims from a car window with a shotgun or rifle. The pair killed eight people and wounded 17 during their rampage across the Valley from May 2005 until their August 2006 arrests. Hausner is now on death row, and Dieteman is serving a life sentence without parole.)

The other serial killer first had been dubbed the Baseline Rapist because of the location of his earliest identified crimes, sexual assaults near Baseline Road.

His was an utterly different modus operandi than that of the Serial Shooters — who killed and wounded at a distance from the safety of their car.

The man later recast in the spring of 2006 as the Baseline Killer grabbed women (mostly in Central and South Phoenix), often robbed them, sexually assaulted them, and then shot them to death.

Phoenix police convened two task forces in early 2006 to work the parallel serial-murder cases.

The detectives had to run down thousands of leads, analyze their databases, keep track of the increasing mounds of evidence, and break down the list of possible suspects.

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