Opening statements begin in alleged 'Baseline Killer' trial

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Mark Goudeau, alleged "Baseline Killer" By Catherine Holland Mark Goudeau, alleged "Baseline Killer" By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- Opening statements are under way in the trial of a man accused of killing nine people and committing dozens of other crimes, including rape and child molestation, in the Baseline Killer case in Phoenix.

Maricopa County prosecutor Suzanne Cohen told the jury Monday that defendant Mark Goudeau was driven by a hunger to rape, and the victims who didn't cooperate were shot point-blank in the head.

The crimes started in August 2005 and ended with Carmen Miranda's death on June 29, 2006, in what police described as a "blitz attack" of the mother of two at a Phoenix car wash. The dead, eight of them women, ranged in ages from 19 to 39. They were killed going about their daily activities, such as leaving work, waiting at a bus stop or, like Miranda, washing a car.

Police said they have forensic evidence, including DNA and ballistics, tying Goudeau to the killings.

Goudeau, a former construction worker, has pleaded not guilty.

Goudeau, 46, sat quietly in the courtroom in a suit and tie, listening closely as the 74 charges were read and opening statements began. He is the last of three suspects to go on trial for a rash of attacks that terrorized the Phoenix area for more than a year and made headlines across the globe.

Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman were arrested in the so-called Serial Shooter case in August 2006. Hausner was convicted in March of killing six people and attacking 19 others in dozens of random nighttime shootings and was given six death sentences; Dieteman testified against Hausner and was sentenced to life in prison.

Goudeau already is serving a 438-year prison sentence. In September, he was convicted of 19 counts in a brutal 2005 attack in which he raped a woman while pointing a pistol at her sister's belly as they walked home from a park. That crime was part of the Baseline Killer case.

This year's trial will be the first time Goudeau is tried on nine first-degree murder counts and 65 other charges, including attempted murder, sexual assault, child molestation, kidnapping and armed robbery.

Goudeau's wife, Wendy Carr, is standing by her husband and has gone to almost every hearing.

"I don't mean to oversimplify it, but Mark is innocent, and I think it's important that I show my support for him," she said. "If even a teeny bit of me thought he could be guilty, I would just go away."

She said it's scary to be on the cusp of the murder trial.

"Juries just scare me because people feel like they have a civic duty to convict, but hopefully people will be selected who can really listen to the case and understand there's not a shred of evidence that links Mark to any of these crimes," she said. "DNA is not what they say it is, not even close."

The trial is expected to last nine months.