The trial has begun for the man police and prosecutors believe to be the “Baseline Killer,” who terrorized Phoenix for 13 months in 2005 and 2006, committing rapes and robberies and leaving nine dead – all but one of them women.
Mark Goudeau, 46, is already serving a 438-year prison sentence for September 2005 sexual assaults against two sisters near 31st Avenue and Baseline Road in south Phoenix. The women, both in their 20s, were assaulted as they walked home from a park. One of them was six months pregnant, and she testified that Goudeau held his pistol between her legs and made her beg for her baby’s life. Goudeau was convicted of those rapes in 2007.
But he faces 74 more felony charges: nine counts of first-degree murder, for which he could face the death penalty; one count of attempted first-degree murder; 11 counts of kidnapping; one count of attempted kidnapping; 12 counts of armed robbery; three counts of attempted armed robbery; 14 counts of sexual assault; six counts of attempted sexual assault; five counts of sexual abuse; 10 counts of aggravated assault; and one count each of burglary and child molestation.
According to police reports, court documents and testimony, the Baseline Killer, so named because the initial attacks seemed to take place near Baseline Road, would snatch women off busy street corners, even in broad daylight. He wore hats, wigs and masks, and it seemed that the women who were shot to death were those who resisted his sexual assaults.
One survivor only lived because her assailant’s gun misfired.
Goudeau was arrested Sept. 6, 2006, after police got a DNA hit in the 2005 rapes.
His trial will take place in the courtroom of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville. Deputy County Attorneys Suzanne Cohen and Patricia Stevens will try the case; attorneys Randall Craig and Rodrick Carter will defend Goudeau.
And, after a trial expected to last the better part of a year, a jury will determine whether Goudeau committed the following crimes:
- Aug. 6, 2005 - Three teens were approached at 48th Street and Baseline Road; two were sexually assaulted.
- Sept. 9, 2005 - Georgia Thompson, 19, was shot to death outside a Tempe apartment complex where she lived.
- Sept. 28, 2005 - A mother and her adolescent daughter were abducted in their car outside a Mexican restaurant on Central Avenue near Baseline, driven to a secluded area nearby and sexually assaulted.
- Nov. 3, 2005 - A man robbed a lingerie and sex-toy boutique near 32nd Street and Indian School Road at gunpoint and then abducted a woman in her car from a parking lot across the street and sexually assaulted her.
- Nov. 7, 2005 - Two fast-food restaurants were robbed and a woman outside a check-cashing store was robbed at 32nd Street and Thomas Road.
- Dec. 12, 2005 - Tina Washington, 39, was taken from a bus stop at 40th Street and Southern Avenue, dragged behind some stores and shot to death.
- Feb. 20, 2006 - Romelia Vargas, 38, and Mirna Palma Roman, 24, were shot and killed in a lunch wagon they ran at a construction site near 91st Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road.
- March 14, 2006 - Chao “George” Chou, 23, offered a ride home to co-worker Liliana Sanchez Cabrera, 20, after her first shift at a restaurant at 24th Street and Indian School Road. They were abducted in the parking lot. Chou’s body was found in an alley near 32nd Street and Indian School, and Sanchez Cabrera was found dead in the car a few blocks west of 24th.
- April 4, 2006 - The body of Kristina Nicole Gibbons, 26, was found stuffed between a house and a storage unit on 24th Street, south of Thomas Road. Police believed she had been killed March 29.
- April 10, 2006 - Sophia Nuñez, 37, was found shot to death in her bathtub by her 8-year-old son. Nuñez apparently knew Goudeau, and the DNA found on her body linked Goudeau to the bullets that killed all of the victims, authorities say.
- May 1, 2006 - A woman was abducted at gunpoint at 32nd Street and Thomas Road and forced to drive to a secluded location, where she was forced to undress and was sexually assaulted. When she refused to cooperate, the assailant pulled the trigger, but his gun misfired, saving her life. She got out of the car and ran to a nearby house.
- June 29, 2006 - Carmen Miranda, 37, was abducted from a car wash at 29th Street and Thomas Road, just blocks from where Goudeau lived. The abduction was captured on surveillance tape, showing a man in a Gilligan-style hat and a dreadlock wig shoving Miranda into her car and driving off. Though police arrived in minutes, Miranda was found dead in her car just a hundred yards away.
Prosecutor: “Suspect in Baseline Killer case a wolf.”
By AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press
Prosecutor Suzanne Cohen said in her opening trial statement that defendant Mark Goudeau was a wolf who hunted his victims.
“The only thing that matched his hunger to rape was his determination to not get caught and not be sitting in this chair,” Cohen said. “Those innocents did nothing wrong but cross his path while he was hunting.”
Goudeau, 46, is accused of killing nine people and committing dozens of other crimes, including rape and child molestation. If convicted of the murder charges, he could face the death penalty.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Randall Craig said there was a serious lack of DNA evidence in the case. He also questioned the integrity of the investigation.
“The Phoenix Police Department suffered from a severe case of tunnel vision,” he said. “The key result of all this was they apprehended the wrong guy.”
As prosecutors laid out their case against the former construction worker, Goudeau sat quietly, wearing a suit and tie and listening closely as the 74 charges were read.
Cohen told the jury to “beware of the predator that comes to you wrapped in sheep’s clothing because he is a ravenous wolf. Mark Goudeau is that ravenous wolf and you shall know him by his deeds.”
She said DNA, ballistics and other evidence tied Goudeau to the crimes. For instance, Cohen said police found a ring belonging to murder victim Tina Washington inside one of Goudeau’s shoes when they searched his house. The ring had three birth stones and the phrase “we love mom” inscribed on the side.
Washington, a 39-year-old preschool teacher, was found shot to death in an alley on Dec. 12, 2005. She had been waiting at a bus stop after a Christmas party when her attacker struck.
Later Monday, Cohen called the first witness — an 18-year-old woman whom Goudeau is accused of sexually assaulting along with another girl when they were 12. The Associated Press has a policy of not identifying the victims of sexual abuse.
The young woman cried and wiped her eyes as she told jurors how she and her friend were forced to take off their clothes on Aug. 6, 2005, and how they were sexually assaulted.
She also said the assailant put a gun to her head and threatened to shoot her if she looked at him. When Cohen asked the woman who had assaulted her, she said it was Goudeau.
Under cross-examination by Craig, the woman said she never saw the suspect’s face and based her in-court identification of him on a picture of Goudeau that she saw on television when he was arrested.
She said it was dark outside, and the assailant wore a baseball cap and kept his head constantly lowered. The woman said she was able to observe the assailant’s mannerisms and physical characteristics, and that she was positive Goudeau was the person who sexually assaulted her.
In opening arguments, Cohen detailed every crime Goudeau is charged with in graphic detail.
She showed the court images of the bodies of the victims — all shot in the head and lying in pools of blood.
Some people attending the trial had to leave the courtroom as the pictures were shown, including that of a 37-year-old woman whose 8-year-old son found her body at home in a tub of water.
Cohen said the boy turned off the water and unsuccessfully tried to pull her out of the tub before attempting to perform CPR on her lifeless body.
The picture showed the woman’s arm dangling over the edge of the white tub, with blood running down the side.
Goudeau has pleaded not guilty. His trial is expected to last nine months.
He already is serving a 438-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2007 of 19 counts in a 2005 attack. In that case, police say he raped a woman while pointing a gun at her sister’s belly.
The killings started in August 2005 and ended with the murder of Carmen Miranda of Phoenix in what police described as a “blitz attack” on the mother of two on June 29, 2006. She was vacuuming her car and talking on her cellphone at an east Phoenix car wash when a man kidnapped her then shot her in the head and shoved her body in the back seat.
The other eight people who were killed also were attacked while going about daily activities, such as leaving work or cooking lunch.
The victims were shot in the head, and many of the bodies were left with their pants unzipped and partially pulled down. The victims — eight of them women — ranged from 19 to 39 years old.
Defense attorneys contend there are likelier suspects than Goudeau and discredit the DNA tests.
Before handing down the sentence in the 2005 rape, Superior Court Judge Andrew Klein said Goudeau must have two “diametrically opposed” personalities — one calm and respectful in court, and the other sociopathic and brutal.
Goudeau also has been imprisoned for 13 years after being convicted of beating a woman’s head against a barbell. The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency paroled him eight years early in 2004.
Goudeau previously acknowledged being a recovering drug addict and once blamed his history of violence on a weakness for crack cocaine.
Police named the series of killings and other crimes after Baseline Road in south Phoenix where many of the earliest attacks happened. Goudeau lived only a few miles from many of the attack sites, and Miranda was killed just around the corner from his house.