- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

PHOENIX (AP) | A former janitor accused in the Serial Shooter attacks was convicted Friday of six murders and dozens of other crimes in a more than yearlong series of random attacks on pedestrians, bicyclists and even animals that unnerved Phoenix-area residents for months.

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Dale Hausner in the next phase of his trial, set to begin March 23. The 36-year-old, who was acquitted of two murders, scratched out notes and whispered to one of his attorneys as the verdicts were announced.

Authorities said Hausner killed eight people and attacked 20 others, along with seven dogs and three horses. He was convicted of 80 of the 87 charges against him, including 18 counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated assault, 23 counts of drive-by shooting and nine counts of animal cruelty.

The mother of Paul Patrick, who was wounded in one of the shootings, covered her mouth with a tissue and wept as she heard the guilty verdicts in the attack on her son.

“I’m just very thankful,” Mrs. Patrick said later.

Prosecutors and attorneys for Hausner declined to comment on the verdicts. Hausner’s relatives didn’t respond to questions from reporters as they were escorted out of the courtroom by court security.

Prosecutors say Hausner preyed on pedestrians, bicyclists and animals in attacks that began in May 2005 and ended in August 2006 when he and his roommate were arrested at their Mesa apartment. Inside, police found guns, news clippings of the killings and a city map marked with the locations of some of the shootings.

The attacks and an unrelated serial-killer case kept neighborhood-watch groups on high alert in the summer of 2006. Families stayed inside as police searched for the killers, and authorities called meetings that drew hundreds of people who learned more about the attacks and were encouraged to provide tips.

Police investigating the Serial Shooter case said Hausner attacked people from his car in a conspiracy that occasionally included his brother, Jeff Hausner, and his former roommate, Samuel Dieteman.

Dieteman, the star prosecution witness, testified that he and Dale Hausner had cruised around late at night looking for strangers to shoot. Jeff Hausner has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Taking the stand in his own defense, Dale Hausner denied any involvement in the attacks, offered alibis and suggested that Dieteman may have carried out some of the attacks. Dieteman, who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to two of the killings, could face the death penalty.

Dieteman said Hausner never explained why he wanted to shoot people, though Hausner professed a hatred for prostitutes and homeless people as they looked for victims in areas they frequented. In one attack, Dieteman said he and Hausner found the sight of a victim wounded by Hausner to be funny, because they didn’t think he was seriously injured, even though the victim was holding his stomach and appeared angry.

Later that night, Dieteman said, he committed his first shooting after spotting a woman walking on a sidewalk in Scottsdale.

“It’s your turn, dude,” Dieteman quoted Hausner as saying. The victim, 20-year-old restaurant worker Claudia Gutierrez Cruz, was attacked after stepping off a bus on her way home from work and later died at a hospital.

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