Unexpected fireworks this morning at the county courthouse as the newly convicted "Baseline Killer" Mark Goudeau told the judge in no uncertain terms that he doesn't want to be in court for the sentencing phase of his high-profile case.
We weren't there for the outburst (we are holed up writing a cover story on the case), but have spoken to several people who were there and whose accounts are consistent. No media apparently was present.
Dressed in his jail black-and-whites, Goudeau told Superior Court Judge Warren Granville that he has no interest in being present for the "aggravation phase" of his trial, during which prosecutors will begin their push toward a potential death sentence.
Yesterday, the jury convicted the 47-year-old Phoenix man of 67 felonies, including the murders of nine people during a violent crime spree in 2005-06 that ended with his September 2006 arrest.
Answering questions posed to him by the judge, Goudeau said he was sick of listening to deputy county attorneys Suzanne Cohen and Patricia Stevens, whom he described as part of a "corrupt" cabal of cops and prosecutors who long have had designs on framing him. (Former Maricopa County Attorney Andy Thomas may have found a kindred spirit in Goudeau, what with their incessant conspiracy theories involving The Man.)
If we were Goudeau, we, too, would be repulsed by the two veteran women prosecutors--women, for God's sakes!--who were relentless in their organization and presentation of a case against a twisted and vicious man who was apt to pull the trigger, literally, from close range when he didn't get his way sexually or otherwise.
We don't even want to imagine what Goudeau would like to do with the two prosecutors who are hellbent on convincing the jury to send him to death row.
Goudeau also blasted his court-appointed attorneys, Randall Craig and Roderick Carter, saying they hadn't heeded his advice to attack the police investigation that led to his arrest.
In fact, Goudeau's lawyers presented no case, called no witnesses, relying instead on a "reasonable doubt" defense by raising questions during closing arguments about the sufficiency of the prosecution's evidence.
From where we sit, Craig and Carter did an admirable job winning those not-guilty verdicts on four counts in a case where the overall evidence of evildoing by their client obviously was compelling. Note to the future Goudeau appeals team: An "ineffective assistance of counsel" argument ain't likely to fly after a verdict in which 12 people did agree that the defendant murdered nine people but still acquitted him of a few charges.
Goudeau also strongly suggested that no one from his side, namely his apparently still-loyal wife Wendy Carr, will be testifying on his behalf if, as expected, the jury finds the aggravating factors and moves the case along to the final penalty phase.
That would be a bummer, journalistically speaking.
Judge Granville is said to have listened politely and intently to Goudeau before allowing detention officers to escort him out of the downtown Phoenix courtroom and back to his jail cell.
The aggravation phase is scheduled to start tomorrow morning, and we'll see if Goudeau changes his mind about being present.
Somehow, we doubt that this little coward of a killer will be there.