Dale Hausner, the creepy crawler who, with co-conspirator Sam Dieteman, terrorized the Valley in 2005-06, randomly killing six people and seriously injuring more than two-dozen people and animals, will remain on Arizona's death row, after the state Supreme Court this morning upheld his convictions and sentences.
The high court confirmed Hausner's convictions on the six murders and 73 of 74 non-capital charges against the Mesa man. The one count tossed out was an animal cruelty charge in which the jury had convicted Hausner of the July 2005 shooting in Tolleson of a horse named Apache.
The court's unanimous 70-page opinion, written by Justice Scott Bales, concluded that Hausner had shot (and killed in this instance) another animal, a dog named Whiskey, with a .22 that same night, but about two miles away from the Tolleson incident, and "a jury could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Hausner also shot Apache.
Though he probably did.
Dieteman, Hausner's partner in the murderous spree, pleaded guilty and testified against his former pal. He is serving a life sentence at the same state prison in Florence where Hausner will be residing on death row for many years to come, as his appeals continue their trek through the labyrinth of the criminal-justice system.
The "Serial Shooters" (one of the weaker handles ever devised for a thrill-seeking murder team) worked in tandem at the same time as "Baseline Killer" Mark Goudeau was shooting and sexually assaulting women, mostly in central Phoenix. (Goudeau was caught shortly after Hausner/Dieteman and also is on death row.)
Those around here at the time will remember the fear well. It was a terrible time.
The Supreme Court's opinion in Hausner is well-crafted, and readers can link to it here.
One of the most chilling parts is when Judge Bales recounts a conversation between Hausner and Dieteman that was intercepted with an emergency wiretap in the Mesa apartment the men shared shortly before their arrests.
It occurred a few days after the pair gunned down 22-year-old Mesa woman Robin Blasnek, who was walking by herself at night near the intersection of Gilbert Road and Grandview Drive.
"I love shooting people in the back, it's so much fun," Hausner tells Dieteman.
Dieteman says he's heard that the cops are looking to link crimes in other states to their murder spree.
"So we're being copycatted, Sam?" Hausner replies. "We're pioneers, Sam? We're leading to a better life for everybody, Sam?"
After listening to Dieteman read an article about the recent Blasnek shooting, Hausner says, "She was on her knees. `Oh, I've been shot!' Blood's pouring out, right?"
Hausner then mocked Blasnek's "I've been shot" wail and, according to the court's opinion, "he and Dieteman mimicked crying, laughed, and referred to Blasnek scornfully. Reading from an obituary, Dieteman later asked if Hausner knew a Blasnek.