Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Jury: Serial killer can get death sentence

PHOENIX — A man convicted in a series of random nighttime shootings that terrorized the Phoenix area is eligible for the death penalty, a Phoenix jury decided Tuesday.

The same jury found Dale Shawn Hausner guilty March 13 of murdering six people during the so-called ‘Serial Shooter’ attacks in 2005 and 2006.

They decided that Hausner is eligible for the death penalty after listening to testimony Monday from the medical examiner who performed the autopsies on two victims.

A prosecutor told jurors that Hausner committed multiple murders in an especially cruel, heinous or depraved manner. Defense attorneys argued that the crimes did not merit the death penalty.

Jurors will now hear evidence in mitigation before deciding if the death penalty should be imposed.

The jury found that at least two aggravating factors applied in each of the six murders — that multiple murders had occurred and Hausner had committed previous serious offenses, making Hausner eligible for the death penalty.

Hausner sat quietly as the verdicts were read, looking down and occasionally sipping water.

An aggravating factor includes whether a defendant committed multiple murders or the crimes were “especially cruel, heinous or depraved.” If jurors hadn’t found an aggravating factor applied, Hausner would have faced life in prison.

Mitigating circumstances under Arizona law can include a defendant’s inability to understand the wrongfulness of his actions or whether he was forced or threatened into committing a crime. Presenting that portion of the case could take days or stretch into weeks.

Along with the six murders, Hausner was found guilty of attacking 19 other people. He was convicted on a total of 80 charges related to the Serial Shooter attacks.

Prosecutors said Hausner, 36, preyed on pedestrians, bicyclists, dogs and horses in attacks that ended in August 2006 with the arrests of Hausner and his roommate, Samuel Dieteman, at their Mesa apartment.

Dieteman pleaded guilty to two murders in the Serial Shooter attacks and testified against Hausner. He could also face the death penalty.

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