Channel 15 "Exclusive" on Baseline Killer Case Defines Lame

We wrote earlier this year about the obsession of Rusty Stuart, a veteran Phoenix street cop (in photo) who became fixated during the Baseline Killer investigation with the possible culpability of a seriously mentally ill, low-level criminal named Terry Wayne Smith.


Here's the story, which we called "Going Rogue."

Suffice to say that the piece points out that any -- and we do mean any -- evidence that links Smith to any of the Baseline Killer cases or to Mark Goudeau, the convicted rapist facing trial next year in the serial murder case, is non-existent.

When we say non-existent, we'll defer to the dictionary definition of the word, which is "absence of existence, a thing that has no existence."

We wrote the following in our cover story, and stand by it:

"A review of Stuart's [police] report finds it rife with speculation, innuendo, leaps of logic, and factual inaccuracies. That Stuart's effort eventually found a receptive audience with an uncritical news media, a virulently anti-Phoenix PD Web site, and Goudeau's defense team is part of this tangled yarn."

Another point we made was that the subtext of the Stuart allegations (check out the link to our story if you want to get the skinny) concerned the antipathy of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA, the police union) toward most of the agency's top brass, led by beleaguered Public Safety Manager (read: Police Chief) Jack Harris.

Stuart is a representative of PLEA, and his disdain for all things management at the PPD (except for those supervisors who buy his unsubstantiated B.S.) is no secret.

To that end, the cop may end up testifying on behalf of convicted rapist (serving a life sentence, in effect for assaulting two Phoenix sisters) and accused murderer Goudeau at the trial, at least if the defense team has its way.

Channel 5 took a run at Stuart's dangerously fanciful tale some time ago in its own "exclusive investigation" on Rusty Stuart, Terry Wayne Smith, and Mark Goudeau.

It was lame.

Last night, Channel 15 did its own six-minute "exclusive investigation" on "new revelations" in the Baseline case.

Even more lame than its competitor -- check it out on the station's Web site to see for yourselves.

Question: What happened to the concept of actual "reporting?"

Hey, the sprawling murder cases against Goudeau aren't perfect -- few cases are.

And, yes, the Phoenix police crime lab surely should have processed the dude's DNA to the crime lab in a more timely manner. That unfortunate misstep, however, is fodder for another forum.

But as for the outcome of the Mark Goudeau murder case, we'll stick to the "bold" (LOL) prediction made in "Going Rogue" earlier this year, when we wrote, "The odds of Goudeau's defense team convincing even one juror of any of [Rusty Stuart's theories] are about as long as making them believe Jesus Christ was involved in the conspiracy."