Archive for the ‘Serial Shooter Trial’ Category

Looking for, and finding, signs of life in a double murderer

By Nick R. Martin | Thursday, July 30th, 2009 | 3:10 am | 2 Comments »


Samuel Dieteman

In the end, it was the good he did that saved his life.

For sure, Samuel Dieteman has done a lot of terrible things in his lifetime, some of the worst a man can do. He set fire to buildings, helped shoot and wound more than a dozen people and murdered two hapless young women in the summer of 2006.

But when it came time Wednesday to decide how the 33-year-old Phoenix man should be punished for his role in the Serial Shooter killing spree, a group of 12 people, his jury, chose to look beyond his horrific crimes to his efforts at helping police and apologizing to his victims after his arrest.

“It changed my mind,” said Ulysses Fuentes, who ultimately sided with his fellow jurors to spare Dieteman’s life. “He actually confessed and took charge for the crimes that he did.”

They spare his life

By Nick R. Martin | Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 | 4:11 pm | 4 Comments »

Live from the courtroom: A jury has decided to spare the life of Samuel Dieteman, the second gunman in the Serial Shooter killing spree, for his role in the murders of Claudia Gutierrez-Cruz and Robin Blasnek.

The jury decided that Dieteman deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of release as long as he is alive.

Dieteman pleaded guilty to the 2006 murders but agreed to help authorities convict his co-conspirator, Dale Hausner, who was convicted and received six death sentences earlier this year.

Jury returns with one fewer person: Was someone booted?

By Nick R. Martin | Thursday, July 16th, 2009 | 1:53 pm | No Comments »

Live from the courtroom: The jury in Samuel Dieteman’s sentencing trial returned after the lunch break this afternoon with one fewer person sitting on it, though it’s not clear why.

Late Wednesday and early today, Judge Roland Steinle talked to attorneys about a note he received from one of the jurors, which said several members of the jury had been talking about the case — a violation of rules they’re under.

At least one of those chatty jurors apparently was also overheard saying he or she had already made up his or her mind, following just one day of testimony, about whether Dieteman should be sentenced to death.

Phoenix TV station will hand over footage of Serial Shooter in his underwear

By Nick R. Martin | Thursday, July 16th, 2009 | 12:08 pm | No Comments »

A Phoenix television station will hand over the footage it aired earlier this week of the second gunman in the Serial Shooter case being paraded around the jail in his underwear, an attorney for the station said today.

Phoenix media lawyer Dan Barr said Channel 3 (KTVK-TV) has agreed to honor a subpoena for the footage, sent to them by the defense attorney of confessed gunman Samuel Dieteman. The gunman was pulled from his cell in front of television cameras during a tour of the jail’s high-security unit, which was given to the station over the weekend by officials with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Chatty jurors could be a problem in Serial Shooter trial

By Nick R. Martin | Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | 6:14 pm | No Comments »

Judge Roland Steinle told the attorneys late this afternoon that one of the jurors in Samuel Dieteman’s trial overheard at least three other jurors chatting about their opinions on the case, a revelation that could have serious consequences.

If true, it would mean the jurors broke an explicit rule — on the first day of testimony no less — to refrain from talking about the case with anyone (even each other) until all the evidence has been presented and they are asked to decide the verdict.

Steinle told the attorneys he would get to the bottom of the matter before testimony picks up again on Thursday morning. It’s possible the whole thing is a misunderstanding, but in the worst-case scenario, all three could be booted from the trial for gabbing about their opinions.

Back again from the brink of death, survivor returns to the courtroom

By Nick R. Martin | Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | 3:24 pm | No Comments »


Paul Patrick, who considers himself “the face of the victims” in the Serial Shooter case, listens to testimony in the trial of one of his attackers, serial killer Dale Hausner, earlier this year. Photo by Julio Jimenez

Live from the courtroom: The man who has positioned himself as “the face of the victims” in the Serial Shooter case returned to the courtroom today after fending off death for the second time.

Paul Patrick became an enduring figure in the courtroom earlier this year during the six-month trial of serial killer Dale Hausner, who led the Serial Shooter crime spree during 2005 and 2006. Patrick saw his daily presence there as a duty to the victims who could not or did not attend the trial for whatever reason.

Defense asks jury to judge Serial Shooter 'as a whole man'

By Nick R. Martin | Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | 11:26 am | No Comments »

Live from the courtroom: During an emotional opening speech this morning, defense attorney Maria Schaffer gave the jury an unflinching look at the gruesome crimesof her client, Samuel Dieteman, in the summer of 2006.

It began with the wounding of Kibili Tambadu on May 20. Dieteman was riding in the car with his friend, Dale Hausner, when Hausner pulled a shotgun from the back seat, rolled down a window and shot the lone man walking in the dark. Schaffer described her client’s reaction as “shock.”

Minutes later on that same night, Hausner handed the shotgun to Dieteman and told him, “Your turn, dude.” Dieteman mimicked his friend, and fired the gun at another lone figure, this time nearly cutting in half a woman named Claudia Gutierrez-Cruz. The woman did not survive. Schaffer called it “Sam’s first kill.”

Attorney outraged over footage of Dieteman in his underwear

By Nick R. Martin | Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | 9:49 am | No Comments »

Live from the courtroom: The attorney for the confessed second gunman in the Serial Shooter killing spree was outraged this morning because, she said, the sheriff’s office paraded her client around the jail in his underwear in front of television cameras in recent days.

“I think it’s outrageous. I think it’s undignified,” attorney Maria Schaffer told a judge just minutes before the death penalty trial for Samuel Dieteman began this morning.

Maricopa County jail officials apparently pulled Dieteman from his cell with local media watching so it could be searched as part of the their recent crackdown on racial tensions among inmates.

Second gunman in Serial Shooter case will ask for mercy

By Nick R. Martin | Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 | 6:03 pm | No Comments »


Samuel Dieteman

Tomorrow is the day that Samuel Dieteman gets to do what his victims could not: ask someone to spare his life.

The 33-year-old is the confessed second gunman in the Serial Shooter killing spree, which came to a boil in the Phoenix area three years ago this summer. By the end of it, at least eight people were dead and dozens of others wounded. The main shooter, Dale Hausner, was sentenced to death earlier this year for his role in the spree. Authorities have said Dieteman joined in the violence only during the the latter part of it, taking part in two of the killings and several other shootings.

On Wednesday, opening arguments are scheduled to begin in a sort of mini-trial in Maricopa County Superior Court in downtown Phoenix, where a jury will be asked to decide whether Dieteman should be put to death for the murders of Claudia Gutierrez-Cruz and Robin Blasnek. Dieteman has already pleaded guilty to the crimes and will be asking for the greatest mercy he can receive under a plea agreement — life in prison without parole.

For the prosecutors, the task of asking for his death will not be an easy one. Despite his heinous crimes, Dieteman has served as their ally for the past two years, a star witness in the case against Dale Hausner, as well as in a successful attempted-murder trial against the serial killer’s brother, Jeff Hausner. Without Dieteman’s eyewitness testimony in both cases, convictions would have been much harder to come by.

Serial killer's brother gets 18 years for stabbing

By Nick R. Martin | Monday, June 15th, 2009 | 1:32 pm | No Comments »


Jeff Hausner

The brother of serial killer Dale Hausner was sentenced to 18 years in prison today for nearly stabbing a man to death in 2006 in a Phoenix parking lot.

Jeff Hausner, 42, was convicted last month of attempted murder and aggravated assault for luring a man named Timothy Davenport to a church parking lot near 73rd Avenue and Camelback Road and stabbing him multiple times in the back.

The 18-year sentence was added atop an eight-year prison stint Hausner was already serving for stabbing another man around the same time.

In both cases, authorities believe he was accompanied by his younger brother, Dale, and a friend named Samuel Dieteman, both of whom were part of a broader, yearlong killing spree that later became known as the Serial Shooter case. That belief is based largely on testimony and statements by Dieteman, who admitted to being present for the stabbings, as well as taking part in two murders and numerous other shootings in the summer of 2006.