By CHRIS KAHN |
The Associated Press
PHOENIX- Three suspects have been arrested in crime sprees once thought to be the work of only two serial predators in the Phoenix area but even with the suspects in custody, police say one or more killers may remain on the streets.
For more than a year, a serial predator known as the "Baseline Killer" has terrorized the Phoenix metropolitan area with a series of crimes ranging from murder to rape and robbery. On Thursday, police announced they had arrested a man in two sexual assaults that have been blamed on the killer, but stopped short of saying the suspect was involved in all the crimes.
The arrest followed arrests last month of two men in the area's "Serial Shooter" attacks.
Mark Goudeau, a 42-year-old construction worker, was taken into custody Wednesday and accused of attacking two sisters, ages 21 and 24, in September 2005 while they were walking in a park at night. His lawyer, Corwin Townsend, said he planned to plead not guilty.
With police linking Goudeau only to two attacks, they stressed Thursday that one or more killers may still be free.
"This suspect has been arrested for the sexual assault of two victims in one case only and is not connected to any of the other offenses in this series at this time," Police Chief Jack Harris said.
Police said forensic evidence tied Goudeau to the two crimes, but would not elaborate and did not say exactly how the women were assaulted.
The Baseline Killer, so-named because the earliest incidents occurred along Phoenix's Baseline Road, has been linked to 23 crimes in the metro area dating to August 2005, including eight killings, 11 sexual assaults of women and girls, and several robberies.
Investigators said they connected the crimes through either forensic evidence or similarities in the way they were committed.
Goudeau made an initial appearance in court Thursday, looking fatigued and a bit shellshocked as he was asked by a judge to state his name and date of birth. He was booked for investigation of aggravated assault, kidnapping, sexual abuse and sexual assault and was ordered held without bail.
"My husband is innocent," Goudeau's wife, Wendy Carr, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "This is a huge miscarriage of justice. And they have an innocent man in prison. This is all a mistake. He shouldn't be in prison for something he didn't do."
According to the state Department of Corrections, Goudeau has convictions for three aggravated assaults in 1989 and armed robbery and kidnapping in 1990. He served 13 years on those convictions before being paroled in 2004, eight years before his sentence was to end.
During his parole hearing, Goudeau told the five-member Arizona Board of Executive Clemency that he was a reformed man, according to board documents.
He blamed his problems on a weakness for cocaine an addiction he said he beat in prison.
"I didn't realize how many people I had hurt," Goudeau said, according to a tape from the hearing. "I'd love to talk to youths and tell them about this place before they make the same mistake I did."
Clemency board chairman Duane Belcher Sr. said it's too soon to say whether the decision was a mistake.
"He still has to have his day in court," said Belcher, who was one of three members to vote to grant Goudeau parole in 2004.
Police Cmdr. Kim Humphrey said Goudeau resembles a widely circulated police sketch depicting the Baseline Killer as a man with dreadlocks. But neighbors of Goudeau told reporters he does not look like the man in the sketch.
Goudeau showed up in court with a goatee and hair cropped close to his skull. He wore a long-sleeved shirt, khakis and mud-caked work boots. He'd been in police custody since his arrest outside his home in a tidy neighborhood east of downtown Phoenix.
Investigators said the sexual assaults blamed on the Baseline Killer range from fondling to rape. In many cases, victims had conversations with the man before they were attacked. He appeared to have a gun, and often threatened to shoot and kill victims. The Baseline Killer is also thought to wear disguises, to strike in the dark, and to target people who are alone.
In the Serial Shooter case, police arrested Dale S. Hausner, 33, and Samuel Dieteman, 30. The roommates are charged with murder and attempted murder in 16 shootings, two of them fatal. They have pleaded not guilty.
Police believe Hausner and Dieteman took turns shooting victims at random. Authorities are investigating a total of 37 random shootings that killed seven people and wounded 17 since May 2005.
Associated Press writers Amanda Lee Myers and Jacques Billeaud contributed to this report.