Sam Dieteman, Serial Shooter, is Spared Death Sentence by Jury; Will Spend Rest of Life in Prison

Dang -- what does it take to get the death penalty in this state, anyway? Shooting people randomly in the street -- including one person who died -- isn't enough, it seems.

A jury today spared the life of Sam Dieteman (pictured), one of the two "Serial Shooters" who terrorized the Valley three years ago. Instead of sentencing him to death, which they could have done, jury members voted instead for two life sentences, plus 25 years.

Back when the state was new, this kind of sentence might have spurred a lynch mob. But the jury members undoubtedly had their reasons, some of which might be revealed if the press interviews them.


Fellow shooter Dale Hausner wasn't so lucky -- a few months ago, he received the death sentence six times over.

Of course, given the slow rate of executions in Arizona and the expensive automatic appeals, Hausner might live almost as long as Dieteman and cost the state much more.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.