As usual, an inebriated Smith stuck around for questioning. He was not arrested.

Two weeks after that, on the morning of August 23, a Phoenix officer interrogated Terry Smith at a gas station near 32nd Street and Thomas — ground zero for the Baseline Killer.

That officer wrote in his field report: "[Smith was] talking to self about shooting people."

Phoenix Police Officer Rusty Stuart
Phoenix Police Officer Rusty Stuart
A composite sketch of the Baseline Killer and serial-murder suspect Mark Goudeau after his September 2006 arrest.
A composite sketch of the Baseline Killer and serial-murder suspect Mark Goudeau after his September 2006 arrest.

Rusty Stuart would play up that comment in his report a few months later, as if the Baseline Killer would've been bragging loudly on the street about his exploits.

Police did arrest Smith the following day on a misdemeanor warrant, and he would stay locked up at the county jail until September 8.

That was two days after Mark Goudeau's stunning arrest on the sexual-assault charges involving the two sisters, and on a count of possessing crack cocaine (the cops found a usable amount of the drug after they pulled over Goudeau in his car).

No fool, Goudeau declined to speak with detectives after his arrest.

But the cops quietly were confident that physical and forensic evidence they still were amassing would prove that Mark Goudeau was the Baseline Killer.

Goudeau's arrest might have spelled an end to Rusty Stuart's not-so-magnificent obsession with Terry Wayne Smith.

It didn't.

Instead, Stuart soon morphed his theory, recasting Smith from a solo act to a new role as Goudeau's co-conspirator.

Smith himself provided an opening for the officer within hours after his release from jail on September 8.

That night, a drunken Smith got into a fight with an ex-girlfriend at the home of his mother, Renee, and threatened to kill everyone present, according to Stuart's account. (No charges were filed.)

Stuart soon got wind of the incident.

A week later, according to his October 2006 report, he showed up at Renee Smith's workplace and interviewed her.

No audiotape apparently exists of Stuart's interview of Renee Smith (who could not be located for this story).

But Stuart's 20-page summary includes his detailed recollection of the interview.

Stuart wrote that he didn't mention the Baseline Killer case to Mrs. Smith at first, telling her only that he knew about Terry's recent outburst at her far-west Phoenix home and feared for her and her family's safety.

He quoted Mrs. Smith as then asking, out of the blue, "YOU THINK HE IS THE BASELINE KILLER, DON'T YOU?"

She supposedly volunteered to the officer that she had wanted to call police a few times about her son's troubling behavior.

Stuart wrote that Mrs. Smith then told him Terry had insisted (at an unspecified point in time) that the Baseline Killer case involved two suspects, not one.

According to Stuart, Terry told his mother after he saw Mark Goudeau's face on television after his arrest, "Rape maybe; murder never."

Stuart said Renee Smith also told him that Terry "BRAGGED [at some unexplained point in time] TO ALL OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE HE HAS KILLED."

Stuart also made note of a bloody shirt that Terry reportedly wore to his mother's home about the time of Carmen Miranda's murder on June 29, 2006.

(The bloody shirt would become one of Stuart's major talking points in his effort to convince people that Terry Smith was involved in the Baseline Killer crimes. But the police reports depict the Miranda crime scene as a small amount of pooled, undisturbed blood on a car seat, where the killer shot her.)

Finally, Stuart recalled Renee Smith's telling him that her son described the voices "OF WOMEN SCREAMING AND BEING RAPED."

Officer Stuart phoned state prison officials soon after Mark Goudeau's arrest. He learned that, in early 2001, Smith had been incarcerated "IN THE SAME WING OF THE SAME [Tucson] FACILITY FOR APPROXIMATELY SIX MONTHS [with Michael Goudeau]."

Michael is the brother of Baseline Killer suspect Mark Goudeau.

Stuart suggested in his summary that Michael Goudeau might have introduced Smith to brother Mark after Smith left prison in 2005.

However, no evidence to link Terry Smith to the Goudeau family — especially to Mark — has yet emerged.

But to Officer Stuart, it all was adding up in the fall of 2006: Terry Wayne Smith surely was involved in the Baseline Killer case, no matter what the task force said.

The Baseline Killer task force learned later that day about Rusty Stuart's interview with Renee Smith.

A report by lead case agent Alex Femenia says a sergeant asked him to contact Stuart, which he did.

Femenia met with Stuart and Mrs. Smith at a police station, where he interviewed the woman.

According to Femenia's report, Mrs. Smith repeated to him some of what Rusty Stuart later put in his 20-page summary.

She also told Femenia there were papers at her home in which Terry wrote of his deep hatred of women. Femenia asked Smith's mother if she would show him the papers.

She agreed, and the trio — Stuart, Femenia, and Renee Smith — drove to her home.

As Mrs. Smith had said, the writings did include a litany of awful things her son had to say about women.

With Renee Smith's permission, Detective Femenia took the papers with him after the interview.

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