In September, police arrested Mark Goudeau, a 42-year-old ex-convict and former construction worker, in two sexual assaults that were attributed to the Baseline Killer. But they stopped short of declaring they had the man responsible for the string of crimes.
That changed Thursday, when police said DNA, ballistics and other evidence pointed to Goudeau, wrapping up what authorities said was the largest investigation in the police department's history.
''On Sept. 6 on this very spot, we stood before you and announced that Mr. Goudeau had been arrested,'' Mayor Phil Gordon said. ''We couldn't and wouldn't say that we had a serial killer, but the community knew. You knew. And the attacks stopped. Today, we now have the evidence we need.''
Goudeau's attorney, Corwin Townsend, said his client insists he's innocent.
Police submitted their investigation to Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on Thursday, recommending that Goudeau be charged with 71 counts, including nine counts of first-degree murder.
Thomas said his office would draw up the charges.
''I still believe this man should never again be able to walk the streets of this Valley or anywhere else in freedom,'' Thomas said. ''I'm going to do everything within my lawful authority to make sure that that is the outcome.''
Goudeau was already in custody Thursday, facing 20 counts in the 2005 sexual assaults of two sisters, a case also linked to the Baseline Killer investigation. He has pleaded not guilty.
The case originally included 23 shootings, rapes and robberies that left eight people dead between August 2005 and June. The dead, seven of them women, ranged in age from 19 to 39. Most were killed going about their daily activities, such as leaving work, washing a car or waiting at a bus stop.
A ninth killing was not publicly revealed until Thursday. The victim, Sophia Nunez, 37, was found dead in her Phoenix home by her 8-year-old son in April. Other cases were dropped from the investigation, leaving 19 in which Goudeau is a suspect.
''It's just a shock when you lose a child. Sophia was 37, but she's still my child,'' Nunez's mother, Maria, said Thursday.
Sheila Hall, a friend of another victim -- 39-year-old preschool teacher Tina Washington -- said charges will bring some closure for Washington's family, including her 17-year-old son.
But, Hall said, ''It won't change the fact that he took his mom's life. Nothing can be done to make that person feel better.''
Police have said the killer usually struck at night and wore disguises, which included a wig of dreadlocks and a fisherman's hat. The name Baseline Killer came from the Phoenix street where some of the earliest crimes were committed.
About half of the attacks occurred within three miles of the home Goudeau shared with his wife. One woman was killed just around the corner.
Goudeau served 13 1/2 years in prison for three aggravated assaults, armed robbery and kidnapping before being paroled in 2004. He once blamed his history of violence on a weakness for crack.
The Baseline Killer was one of two serial killer cases that spread fear across the Phoenix area recently.
In August, police arrested two roommates in what was dubbed the Serial Shooter case. The two men are accused of driving around the city and its suburbs at night, firing at people randomly from a car. Seven people were killed.
The defendants are awaiting trial.