Convicted killer asks Ariz. court to set execution

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- A man convicted in a series of random murders that put many Phoenix-area residents on edge says he is skipping further appeals and wants the state's highest court to set his execution date.

"I want to be served with my death warrant and to be executed as soon as possible," Dale Shawn Hausner said in a handwritten letter received by the Arizona Supreme Court on Monday.

Hausner's letter is dated July 12, two days after the state Supreme Court upheld his only automatic appeal for his 2009 convictions and death sentences for the murders of six people. Eighteen others were injured in nighttime shootings that randomly targeted pedestrians, bicyclists and animals in 2005 and 2006.

Hausner didn't acknowledge guilt before he received six death sentences in the case. But he said before being sentenced that death should be his penalty to help the surviving victims and victims' relatives heal.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Jennifer Liewer said it's unclear what further activity there will be in Hausner's case. But the Supreme Court would not issue a warrant scheduling an execution until the attorney general's office requests one, Liewer said.

Kent Cattani, the state's chief death penalty prosecutor, said the state will first ask either the Supreme Court or a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to order that a status conference be held to determine whether Hausner truly wants to waive further court proceedings.

Prosecutors also may file a request for the court to determine whether a new lawyer should be appointed for Hausner, which is normally done at this stage in death penalty cases, Cattani said.

"At this point it is entirely up to the inmate to decide whether he wants to proceed," Cattani said.

Death penalty appeals can last 20 years, but Cattani said Hausner could be executed in four or five months - about three years after his trial ended - if his wishes as expressed in the letter are granted.

Hausner's attorney in the Supreme Court appeal, Thomas J. Dennis, declined comment.

Hausner's letter was reported first by The Arizona Republic in an online story Tuesday.

Cattani said the last Arizona inmate to waive his non-automatic appeals was John George Brewer, who was executed in 1993 for beating and strangling his girlfriend, Rita Brier, in their Flagstaff apartment in 1987.

"I committed this crime, and I feel it is an appropriate penalty for the crime," Brewer told the state clemency board. His mother argued unsuccessfully that he be spared.

In its July 10 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld all of Hausner's 80 convictions except one count of animal cruelty. The court said there wasn't enough evidence to support a conviction for the shooting of a horse.

Co-defendant Samuel Dieteman testified against Hausner and was sentenced to life in prison.

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