By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
Then, he made her disrobe, still seated in her blue VW Bug.
She testified, "He asked me to touch myself. At that point, I realized it was going to be a rape, and I was afraid to die . . . He said, 'Suck my dick,' and he was going to kill me if I didn't. I said, 'Go ahead and kill me.'
"He said he was going to blow my brains out in the car and my parents were going to read about it in the newspaper the next day. He pulled the trigger and there was a loud clinking noise. I realized that I wasn't dead, and so I got out of my vehicle and ran."
The Baseline Killer story is as much about Mark Goudeau's victims as it is about the murderer himself.
It's about those who survived sexual assaults, robbery at gunpoint, and, like the woman in the VW, miraculously escaped a horrible death.
It's also about the loved ones left to try to cope with their losses — the husbands, boyfriends, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors, and co-workers of those who were slain.
It's also about the good cops who cracked the case, despite serious missteps inside their own and other police agencies, and about a state DNA analyst (Lorraine Heath) and a Phoenix police ballistics expert (Danny Hamilton) whose testimonies were critical.
Finally, it's about prosecutors Suzanne Cohen and Patricia Stevens, who won the day at trial by considering all angles — legal and emotional — and letting it fly.
But for now, let us consider Mark Goudeau.
What causes a man to point a handgun in a stranger's face, order her to perform a sexual act, and then pull the trigger as easily as squirting a water pistol if she says no?
In the case of Goudeau, nothing particularly jumped out to say potential serial killer.
By all accounts, he was popular with neighbors, co-workers, and available single women, with his engaging smile and usually friendly manner. He was known as a hard worker at his construction job during two years or so of freedom after winning parole from prison in 2004.
A Phoenix native, Goudeau is one of 14 siblings from a lower-middle-class family.
A variety of sources — police reports, court records, news accounts, and interviews — suggest that the clan was touched by substance abuse, feuding parents, and other signs of dysfunction. But it also includes good people who have led decent lives and contributed to the community.
Mark moved in with an older sister in Tempe a few years after their mother died when he was 12.
He played football at Corona del Sol High but wasn't as accomplished on the field as older brother Michael, and he dropped out a few credits shy of graduation.
Though he usually held a blue-collar job, Goudeau never found a solid direction in life before going to prison in his mid-20s. He admitted years ago, and then at his parole hearing, to problems with cocaine and alcohol, often blaming his criminal woes on the substance abuse.
But millions of people from similarly troubled upbringings — and with drug and booze issues — barely get crossways with the law, much less become serial killers.
Of all the things said about Mark Goudeau, this may have been the most prescient, if unintentionally so:
"If the true assailant is not incarcerated, I am sure he'll do this again. He's probably done it before."
Actually, Wendy Carr wasn't exactly talking about her future husband when she wrote that to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Rufus Coulter Jr. in May 1990.
At the time, the 25-year-old Goudeau was out of custody and waiting to be sentenced for assaulting and kidnapping a Phoenix woman at his apartment on East Osborn Road, not far from what later would be the Baseline Killer's ground zero.
Goudeau had plea-bargained to the reduced charges, which originally had included counts of sexual assault and attempted second-degree murder.
"No one can EVER convince me that Mark is capable of assaulting anyone," Carr wrote to the judge. "I am confident when I say that Mark has [N]EVER done drugs of any fashion. He is of high morals and sound mind."
The August 6, 1989, aggravated assault of a woman we'll call Darlene wasn't his first brush with the law.
A Phoenix police report from 1982 — when Goudeau still was in high school — contains allegations by a female student that he and older brother Michael raped her repeatedly at their home, which she apparently went to voluntarily.
The report notes that the young woman would not cooperate for a possible prosecution and soon left the Phoenix area.
Goudeau and Wendy Carr were sharing an apartment on 28th Street and Osborn in the summer of 1989.
But Carr apparently wasn't around in the wee hours of August 6 that year, when Phoenix police responded to calls of a man beating a semi-conscious woman with the butt of a shotgun in the parking lot. Officers found the woman naked from the waist down and bleeding profusely from her head.
Two passersby said the assailant had chased them while brandishing the shotgun and a stainless steel revolver before retreating.