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The Evening Sun, AZ
The Associated Press
Posted: 07/11/2013 09:02:01 PM EDT
FLORENCE, Ariz.—The death of a convicted Arizona serial killer whose body was discovered last month in an isolation cell was ruled a suicide Thursday by a medical examiner who said the gunman who once terrorized Phoenix had overdosed on antidepressants.
Dale Hausner, 40, was found guilty in a series of random shootings on pedestrians, bicyclists and animals. The former airport janitor was given six death sentences and hundreds of years in prison for killing six people and attacking 19 others in 2005 and 2006.
Hausner was found unresponsive June 19 in his cell at the Eyman state prison complex in Florence. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at a hospital in Anthem, according to Arizona Department of Corrections officials.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Gregory Hess, of the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office, said the cause of death was “amitriptyline intoxication.” Amitriptyline is one of a variety of antidepressant medications.
Prison officials said it wasn’t immediately clear how Hausner obtained the antidepressants. DOC officials said the department was conducting a complete investigation into the circumstances of Hausner’s death and the autopsy report was part of that probe.
Hausner always denied any involvement in the attacks and suggested his former roommate might have carried out some of the crimes.
Hausner was arrested in August 2006 with his roommate Sam Dieteman at the apartment they shared in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa. Inside, police found guns, news clippings of the killings and a city map marked with the locations of some of the shootings.
Dieteman, who pleaded guilty in two of the killings and was sentenced to life in prison, testified against Hausner, saying they cruised around late at night looking for strangers to shoot.
The “serial shooter” attacks and an unrelated serial killer case kept neighborhood watch groups on high alert in the summer of 2006. Families stayed inside and authorities called meetings that drew hundreds of people.
Police said their big break came when one of Dieteman’s drinking buddies called police to say Dieteman had bragged about shooting people.
Even though Hausner had denied any involvement, he took an odd turn during the penalty phase of his trial when he apologized to the families of every victim.
Since his convictions, Hausner had asked that he be executed quickly.
County authorities have said that while he was awaiting trial, Hausner tried to kill himself with an overdose of cold tablets.
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Dale Hausner, One of Phoenix’s Infamous “Serial Shooters” in 2005-06, To Remain On Death Row —(Phoenix New Times)
By Paul Rubin
Dale Hausner, the creepy crawler who, with co-conspirator Sam Dieteman, terrorized the Valley in 2005-06, randomly killing six people and seriously injuring more than two-dozen people and animals, will remain on Arizona’s death row, after the state Supreme Court this morning upheld his convictions and sentences.
Dale Hausner, serial killer, after his August 2006 arrest.
The high court confirmed Hausner’s convictions on the six murders and 73 of 74 non-capital charges against the Mesa man. The one count tossed out was an animal cruelty charge in which the jury had convicted Hausner of the July 2005 shooting in Tolleson of a horse named Apache.
The court’s unanimous 70-page opinion, written by Justice Scott Bales, concluded that Hausner had shot (and killed in this instance) another animal, a dog named Whiskey, with a .22 that same night, but about two miles away from the Tolleson incident, and “a jury could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Hausner also shot Apache.
Though he probably did.
Dieteman, Hausner’s partner in the murderous spree, pleaded guilty and testified against his former pal. He is serving a life sentence at the same state prison in Florence where Hausner will be residing on death row for many years to come, as his appeals continue their trek through the labyrinth of the criminal-justice system.
The “Serial Shooters” (one of the weaker handles ever devised for a thrill-seeking murder team) worked in tandem at the same time as “Baseline Killer” Mark Goudeau was shooting and sexually assaulting women, mostly in central . (Goudeau was caught shortly after Hausner/Dieteman and also is on death row.)
Those around here at the time will remember the fear well. It was a terrible time.
We wrote a bunch about the dual serial killers over the years in stories such as “Waiting For Goudeau” and “Fear Factor.”
The Supreme Court’s opinion in Hausner is well-crafted, and readers can link to it here.
One of the most chilling parts is when Judge Bales recounts a conversation between Hausner and Dieteman that was intercepted with an emergency wiretap in the Mesa apartment the men shared shortly before their arrests.
It occurred a few days after the pair gunned down 22-year-old Mesa woman Robin Blasnek, who was walking by herself at night near the intersection of Gilbert Road and Grandview Drive.
“I love shooting people in the back, it’s so much fun,” Hausner tells Dieteman.
Dieteman says he’s heard that the cops are looking to link crimes in other states to their murder spree.
“So we’re being copycatted, Sam?” Hausner replies. “We’re pioneers, Sam? We’re leading to a better life for everybody, Sam?”
After listening to Dieteman read an article about the recent Blasnek shooting, Hausner says, “She was on her knees. ‘Oh, I’ve been shot!’ Blood’s pouring out, right?”
Hausner then mocked Blasnek’s “I’ve been shot” wail and, according to the court’s opinion, “he and Dieteman mimicked crying, laughed, and referred to Blasnek scornfully. Reading from an obituary, Dieteman later asked if Hausner knew a Blasnek.
Hausner replied, “I know a blast neck.”
These were, and are, very bad men. The worst.