`Baseline Killer' Opening Statements Set For Today; Trial Expected To Take About One Year

Mark Goudeau, the alleged so-called "Baseline Killer," who already is serving a 438-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting two sisters, goes on trial today for a string of murders, rapes and robberies that terrorized Phoenix in 2005 and 2006.

The case will be heard by a jury in the downtown Phoenix courtroom of Superior Court Judge Warren Granville, a veteran jurist who is no stranger to high-profile trials.

Goudeau faces 74 felony counts, including nine charges of first-degree murder that are death-penalty eligible. All but one of the murder victims was a woman, and all were shot in cold blood.

The burly Goudeau was arrested in September 2006 after a year-long police investigation that belatedly gained momentum after a DNA hit linked him to the rapes.

Area residents will not soon forget the specter of two sets of serial killers who were roaming the Valley at the time--the so-called `Baseline Killer' and the `Serial Shooter'. (The latter actually was a two-man team of killers, both of whom also were caught, convicted, and imprisoned.)

Goudeau, 46, lived with his wife near 28th Street and Thomas Road, not far from many of the murders and other crimes. He had been released from the Arizona State Prison a few years prior to his alleged violent crime spree, after serving about 14 years on an aggravated assault rap (he originally also was charged with rape and kidnapping).

The DNA that police say they linked to Goudeau came from a swab taken before his release from prison.

We will sit in on the trial whenever possible (we'll be there today), as we have reported on various aspects of the case over time.

Here are links to a few of our stories on Goudeau and the case.

This one is about a wacky guy from Tennessee named Mullins who "confessed" to killing a Tempe woman who turned out to be the Baseline Killer's first known murder victim.

This one is about the murder of alleged Goudeau victim Tina Washington, a pre-school teacher whose distinctive piece of jewelry was found by police during a search of Goudeau's residence.

And this one is about a rogue Phoenix cop who tried to inject himself in the Baseline Killer investigation with half-baked (make that totally baked) notions about another possible suspect in the case--a man against whom no tangible evidence ever has been identified.