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Phoenix police say they have caught Baseline Killer
PHOENIX -- Police said Thursday they have caught the Baseline Killer, the gunman responsible for nine slayings that spread terror across the Phoenix area for nearly a year.
Police chief Jack Harris said investigators are recommending that Mark Goudeau, a 42-year-old construction worker who has been in jail since September, be charged with 71 counts, including nine murders -- most of them random shootings committed on the street at night.
Goudeau was arrested three months ago in two sexual assaults that were attributed to the Baseline Killer. But at the time, police stopped short of pronouncing him the Baseline Killer while they built a case against the ex-convict.
Cmdr. Joe Klima, who oversaw the investigation, said investigators have collected forensic evidence -- including DNA and ballistics -- and other evidence implicating Goudeau.
"All of this evidence points to Mark Goudeau as the one who committed these crimes," Klima said.
Prosecutor Andrew 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."
The Baseline Killer 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 a total of 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.
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.
Police said they followed up on 8,000 leads to get to this point.
About half of the Baseline Killer attacks occurred within three miles of the Phoenix home Goudeau shared with his wife. One woman was killed just around the corner.
Goudeau served 131/2 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.
After his arrest, Goudeau's wife, Wendy Carr, lashed out at police and the mayor for their handling of the case, saying accusations "have been spilled into the streets with complete disregard for the truth."
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.