We have a friend who wishes "scientists" would be allowed to study the brains of incarcerated serial murderers. We try to explain that it sound like something the Nazi "Angel of Death," Dr. Josef Mengele, might be keen on.
Specifically, our friend (a local businessman) is referring to Phoenix's most recently convicted serial slayer, Mark Goudeau, who forever will be known as the "Baseline Killer."
Naturally, we, too, wonder what makes guys like Goudeau turn into mad killers that terrorize communities until, hopefully, they are caught.
Yesterday afternoon, Goudeau spoke directly to the jury and steadfastly denied any responsibility for the myriad violent crimes for which he now stands convicted--murders, rapes, kidnappings, armed robberies, and so on.
In his speech, he never even threw a backhanded bone to his victims, alive or dead, by saying how badly he feels about what happened to them--whoever might have done it.
Finally, after several months in trial, Goudeau now is but a jury verdict away from being sentenced to death row for the 2005-06 murders of eight Phoenix women and one man.
The panel will return to its duties after the Thanksgiving holiday, November 28 to be exact, when it will hear closing arguments in the penalty phase of the trial.
Prosecutors badly want the jury to sentence Goudeau to death.
The 47-year-old Phoenix man and his attorneys are asking jurors to spare his life. Goudeau already is serving a life sentence for the sexual assaults of two Phoenix sisters in September 2005.
Here is our recent in-depth story on Goudeau and the Baseline case, so-called because his first known crimes (a series of sexual assaults) after being paroled from prison in 2004 occurred on or near Baseline Road in south Phoenix.
Predictably, Goudeau blamed others for his current situation--especially his attorneys, whom he said did not do their jobs for him. He was correct in that the defense team called no witnesses on his behalf, including the defendant himself.
But here was just one of the rubs: The defense DNA experts (and this was in large part a DNA case) would have pretty much agreed with the state's analysts--Goudeau's genetic material was on several of the victims.
For purposes of brevity here, let's just say that Goudeau's "fingerprints," as it were, were all over this case. Whatever strategy they employed, his lawyers (actually, Goudeau himself) were screwed.
The jury found him guilty for good reason.
We will never forget Goudeau's opening line to the jurors, who stared at him stone-faced during his six-minute allocution.
"Hi guys," he said to the panel, smiling at them nervously. "Finally, you get to meet `the wolf in sheep's clothing.'"
Goudeau was referring to a phrase that the prosecution team (Suzanne Cohen and Patricia Stevens) must have employed a hundred times during the course of the months-long trial.
In the style of Sheriff Joe Arpaio ("This Sheriff will not tolerate..."), the killer often used the dreaded "third-person" to explain himself.
"They painted me as a monster," he said of the prosecutors. "Mark Goudeau is no monster."
Suffice to say, a bunch of folks, including the 12 citizens who will decide his punishment on the murder convictions, disagree with him on that point.