Ray also wrote that he was considering filing criminal misdemeanor charges against Rusty Stuart for violating a court order in his divorce case.

Last June 1, the Scottsdale Times published a story called "Unreasonable Doubt."

It regurgitated every bad thing that PLEA and Rusty Stuart were saying about the Phoenix Police Department's alleged "cover-up" in the Baseline Killer case.

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.

Using Stuart's 2006 report as a template, the piece trumpeted Terry Wayne Smith as the possible serial killer or, at the least, a confederate of Mark Goudeau's.

On June 4, 2009, homicide detectives Mike Meislish and Alex Femenia drove to the state prison facility in Buckeye to obtain a obtain a DNA swab from Terry Wayne Smith. (Femenia has retired from the police department and now works as an investigator for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.)

Prison officials had moved Smith into a protective-custody wing from the general population after the Channel 5 story aired and Smith had gotten death threats from other inmates.

"Killing someone don't matter on the yard," Smith tells New Times, "but those rapes and doing bad stuff to some kids like [the Baseline Killer] did — that shit don't go over at all. It ain't cool. That story on TV was like Rusty Stuart putting a hit out on me for something I didn't do."

Smith allowed Meislish to take the DNA sample.

Police records show that Meislish immediately delivered the swab to the state crime lab for comparison with all the DNA evidence in the Mark Goudeau serial-murder case.

"I knew exactly what they were going to find," Smith tells New Times. "Nothing."

He was right.

Meislish's report says, "No DNA or Y-STR DNA testing revealed any match with DNA profiles found on the victims."

But Meislish, who has assumed the role of Goudeau case agent since Detective Femenia's retirement, wasn't finished.

Police records show he requested the reports generated by the San Bernardino Police Department after the 1989 violent crimes that Rusty Stuart had linked to Smith as a supposed "suspect" in 2006.

Meislish said he spoke to the actual case agent, who told him "there is no evidence of any kind linking [Terry Wayne Smith] to either of the violent crimes."

At least in California, Terry Smith didn't have a cop, a TV station, and a newspaper painting him as a likely serial murderer.

Last August 4, Gilbert issued a criminal citation against Rusty Stuart for interfering with judicial proceedings in his divorce case. He has pleaded not guilty, and the case is pending.

Gilbert police records show that the department also has forwarded to town prosecutors another 15 misdemeanor counts against Stuart.

What might the Rusty Stuart report mean to Mark Goudeau, scheduled to go to trial July 6?

One of Goudeau's attorneys suggested in a November 4 court document that it could mean a lot.

"It was and is ripe with exculpatory information pertaining to Mark Goudeau's defense," Randall Craig wrote, referring to evidence potentially favorable to a defendant.

"Terry Wayne Smith himself told [Stuart] that he was 'one of the ones' who had been committing the offenses."

County prosecutors countered by saying, "Officer Stuart has absolutely no evidence to support his opinion that Terry Wayne Smith was at all involved in any way with the crimes for which [Goudeau] is charged."

Under the law, the defense will have to convince Judge Warren Granville that Smith may have a bona fide connection to the Baseline Killer case.

If not, the judge is likely to keep Smith's name out of Mark Goudeau's trial.

As for Officer Stuart, he's still patrolling for the Phoenix Police Department.

And he still works closely with the Indian School Corridor Citywide Business and Homeowner's Association, which is how he got started on his fixation with Terry Wayne Smith in the first place.

In Officer Stuart's glowing annual work review last July 22, his supervisor wrote, "You have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to complex criminal investigations."

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help
Phoenix Concert Tickets