By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
By Ray Stern
By Pete Kotz
By Monica Alonzo
By New Times
For sure, Terry Smith has been in and out of prison — more in than out — since he was a teen.
"I am what they call a career criminal," the San Bernardino native tells New Times. "Lots of petty stuff — stealing cars and shit, taking shit from people. But I never killed no one, never."
Sometime in late spring 2006, Rusty Stuart approached members of the Baseline Killer task force about Terry Wayne Smith.
That October, Stuart would write: "I HAVE BEEN TOLD BY LIEUTENANT [Benny] PINA AND OTHER DETECTIVES FROM THE BASELINE KILLER TASK FORCE ON FOUR SEPARATE OCCASIONS [that] TERRY WAS NOT A SUSPECT AND HAD BEEN ELIMINATED AS A POSSIBLE SUSPECT IN THEIR INVESTIGATION BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE THEY CAN SHOW HE WAS IN JAIL AT THE TIME OF ONE OF THE MURDERS. HOWEVER, I WAS AWARE OF HIS BIZARRE AND CRIMINAL BACKGROUND."
Several members of the former task force tell New Times they were aware of Rusty Stuart's ongoing efforts, and that supervisors had urged (if not ordered) him to give it up.
But Stuart wouldn't let go — and apparently still hasn't, as will be shown later in this story.
The Baseline Killer didn't strike for almost two months after May 1, 2006, when his gun misfired during the attempted murder of the woman.
The mother of two was talking to a male friend on a cell phone. He later told police that he heard a man ask Miranda for change and then heard what sounded to him like a struggle.
A blurry videotape from a closed-circuit camera installed at the car wash showed the unidentifiable man pushing Miranda into her car and driving away in it.
Miranda's body was found two hours later in her car, parked about 100 yards away, behind a barbershop. She had been shot once in the head. Again, a .380-caliber shell casing was found on the floorboard.
The homicide marked the last-known criminal act of the Baseline Killer.
Mark Goudeau first came to the attention of the task force on July 14, 2006.
At first, it was just another tip among thousands. It came from a woman who said she had seen the widely disseminated composite sketch of the man believed to be the Baseline Killer. (Most people who lived in the Valley at the time will remember the sketch. It showed a black man in dreadlocks and a fisherman's hat.)
The woman told authorities that the man in the sketch was Mark Goudeau.
Hers was the extremely violent case that had landed Goudeau behind bars for 13 years of an original 21-year sentence.
Court records show that in 1990, authorities accused Goudeau of bashing the woman's head with a barbell and shotgun and raping her.
Goudeau plea-bargained those and other charges in an unrelated case (an armed robbery of a Phoenix supermarket) down to a reduced sentence.
Records show that a task force detective went with Goudeau's parole officer to a home on 28th Street and Pinchot Avenue, where Goudeau had been living with wife, Wendy, since his parole.
By foot, the residence is literally a minute or two from the site of Carmen Miranda's murder and easy walking distance from other Baseline Killer crimes.
The detective reported that Goudeau, a muscular construction worker with a sincere manner, had answered questions adequately.
Still, task force supervisors ordered surveillance on Goudeau because of his violent past and the proximity of his home to the Baseline Killer's target area.
In August 2006, Phoenix police finally sent DNA swabs from the 2005 sexual-assault case involving the two sisters to the state crime lab.
(The Phoenix PD's failure to deliver the swabs from its lab to the better-equipped Arizona Department of Public Safety facility in a timely manner was the subject late last year of "notice of claim" letters — a prelude to a lawsuit against Phoenix police — that a local attorney sent on behalf of the families of two Baseline Killer victims.)
A hospital nurse had collected the previously unidentified DNA from the breasts of the sisters shortly after the assaults.
The state soon ran the swabs through its Y-STR DNA testing system (Phoenix PD didn't utilize such a system). It's said to provide a more accurate reading of the DNA of males.
A state analyst determined that Mark Goudeau's DNA was on a swab taken from one of the sister's breasts (his DNA profile had been in the national database since his release from prison).
If accurate, that would prove Goudeau had been in physical contact with the young woman, a sure road to a conviction.
As all this was going on, Rusty Stuart stayed focused on Terry Wayne Smith.
He noted later that, on August 8, 2006, a Phoenix cop had responded to a call from a 7-Eleven clerk at 40th Street and Thomas. Smith suspiciously was standing in the dark on the side of the store for 30 minutes. He told the officer he was waiting for a girlfriend.
The next night, August 9, a different officer stopped Smith and another man (not Goudeau) for questioning after a frightened woman ran into a restaurant and called police, saying the pair were following and intimidating her.