Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reading a book about Phoenix Serial killers, Dieteman and Hausner

I didn't really intend to spend part of the afternoon reading this book, but when I got to the theater I found out I had gone a week early! I did get in a nice walk and returned and picked up some books from the library. I saw the first book out I have seen on just two of three Phoenix Serial killers who terrorized Phoenix all at the same time called "A Sudden Shot" by Camille Kimball. One was a lone man who sometimes just raped women, but killed some, too. The other two, well, they are almost unbelievable in the amount of misery and grief they brought to this city all one year and more before they were finally caught.
Of course I followed the cases in the news as they happened during 2006, but reading about so many victims in a book really brought home to me how bad the carnage was. The pair were believed to have first started doing what they called 'recreational violence' and shot a lot of animals first. Imagine! They shot horses, a burro, and a number of dogs, and then they started in on people. However the trial suggests that Dale Hausner's brother was his partner in the early crimes, who is in prison for stabbing someone and may never be tried for these crimes. Dieteman came on to the scene after through first living with Jeff Hausner and then moving in with his brother Dale. Jeff Hausner referred to his younger brother as psychopath and appeared to want out of the rampages of unbelievable violence. Hausner gave Dieteman crystal meth who is reputed to cause the users to be more violent than most drugs. He did not drink alcohol as Dieteman did but appeared to be mostly a meth user, who said he bought it from people at work.
The shootings were just so frightening. If anyone was so imprudent as to be walking out fairly late at night, the chances of getting shot suddenly got astronomical. People often walk at night in Phoenix because it is impossible to walk far in the summer when it is a blistering 110 degrees or more. Many of the victims were just random people who for one reason or another were out walking fairly late at night.
It took a while for law enforcement to realize there was a pattern and what seemed like random shootings all over the city were related. Then fairly late on in their killing rampage they staged two fires at Walmart one after another, causing the store 25 million in damages. But an alert employee immediately started looking at surveillance cameras of which Walmart has many, and she spotted the same pair of men pushing a shopping cart close to the decoration department where the fires were set among plastic flowers. She saw smoke coming from this department shortly after the men were spotted on camera.
So a break finally came in the case, because at least two people who knew Dieteman recognized him and called the police from the number on billboards donated to give news and information to a city under siege. They also both reported that he had said some strange things about killing people, serial shootings, etc, which they both blew off as just drunken talk. One of the tips came from a man who had let him stay in his home several months before he left to room with the brother of the man who later became his partner in the serial killings, Dale Hausner.
This man's conscience finally got bothering him so badly after the pair shot a young woman in Mesa, learning disabled, who decided to slip out around 11pm and go to her friend's house a few blocks away. She became one of what turned out to be the last victims targeted by the killers in a deadly sport for 'fun.'
When you read about the sufferings of the victims, their inner organs torn up by bullets and shot gun pellets, it all comes home to you just how bad such crimes are. As a matter of fact one of the victims who barely survived now lives here in the Westward Ho, permanently disabled in a wheel chair. He went from a man in his late thirties with a job and good prospects deciding to walk to a convenience store for cigarettes to one hospitalized in a medically induced coma for months. He was well enough to attend the trial for the two men. He wanted to see these two convicted so badly that he did not miss a day at the trial until a stroke put him back into the hospital for a number of months.
The trial over, the two men sentenced, Patrick has been out of the hospital a few months and is living back here. In a miracle surgery his mother allowed the doctors to remove part of his skull so that the stroke with massive bleeding would not kill him. Many wanted to see this courageous man live after he had tried so hard to come back from the dead.
The manager has placed him and his mother in one of the few two bed room apartments in the complex. He will probably live out his days here.
He is not the first victim of a murderous attack who has lived here either. He is just one of the latest who was in the news during the trial.
I hate having to write about such terrible crimes, but sometimes it seems necessary just to keep track of the more criminal elements of our society. I had to note that tips from ordinary people who had encountered these men are who brought them down. They became upset at all the suffering they had caused and cooperated with the police.
One set up a meeting with undercover officers stationed around with listening devices, and what they heard left them and the tipster with no doubt they were dealing with one of the killers. He seemed to think he could talk about it rather freely to friends and acquaintances who appeared to think what he was saying so 'crazy' it could not be taken serious, but when they went to pick them up, they first rigged the apartment with listening devices and heard them discuss their killing activities, Dieteman angry because not enough 'kills' were attributed to them. He said 'we killed 35, not 27!' The police still don't know who all made up the 35. This man also said, "I am going to keep on until we kill 500!" But in spite of his chilling remarks, the cops came to think of Dale Hausner in his notorious 'silver camry' as the one who initiated the killing spree with a man too weak and raddled by substance abuse to resist the temptation to turn really evil.
The two had started off as a shoplifting team, so the apartment was full of stolen goods. Unbelievably Dale Hausner's little daughter only two years old, who had a serious birth defect, was staying with him at the time they were picked up. She had a feeding tube! The mother had never been in his apartment, but said she had to give him some rights to take the child for short periods of time for fear he would do worse. She was right, he would probably have killed her had she denied him access to the child. He had gotten to the point of being able to kill as though shooting cans at a firing range. Cold and seemingly devoid of recognizable human feelings.
She finally decided to try to get a judge to rescind his rights to take the child because of his behavior. Three weeks before he and Dieteman were arrested for all these killings, the judge turned down her request because he did not consider Dale Hausner 'violent!"
Which goes to show you that very often outside people with jurisdiction over these cases really have no idea how violent a spouse, a former BF, father of a child is. Actually it is the other partner who must find a way, initially to try to protect that child and themselves in the process.
The trial of these killers was on the news for months. Dale Hausner attempted his own defense and turned off his jurors even more with his attitude and lack of feeling. Being his own lawyer did him no good at all. He got a maximum sentence, death. He has not been executed yet, but because of his testimony against his partner, Dieteman's life was spared. He will instead stay in prison for the rest of his life.
I study true crime. I live in a violent city. It seems necessary to protect myself. I live in a complex where residents periodically become threatening or violent, but this complex seems relatively safe compared to the one on the west side where I lived for 13 years. I heard gunfire on a regular basis. I even saw people shot, and people I knew got shot. My nerves got extremely tattered. I was so relieved when I was finally able to move from there.
My poor daughter went to visit a friend and during the night half asleep she heard what she thought was gun fire. She ran out in the hallway with her little child hollering to her friend they had to get down, someone was driving by and shooting. Her friend had to sort of wake her up and reassure her that no, she was safe, there was no gunfire!
I felt bad. She was scarred by growing up in that violent neighborhood. I felt lucky my two kids and I got out of there alive. But people they knew got shot. Kids they went to school with.
Why did we live there? I was disabled. It was the only three bedroom apartment in HUD housing available to me. I tried another one and it frightened me so badly for my kids sake I felt there in two months. I knew I couldn't keep doing that. So we settled down in what seemed to be the safest location, prepared to 'take' what came, just like the rest of the neighborhood.
Two other women got shot there, mothers, by estranged husbands and BFs, the most common assailants. One was threatened with murder by his pals if she testified. The other one had 7 children and finally let her ex-husband take two of them. I think she thought it was better for the family if she did not get shot. But I wondered how badly they were scarred if the father they went to live with would take a shot at their mother because she did not want to let him have two of their children to live with him. He barely missed. The bullet hit the phone she had to her ear. She preferred not to think it was him, but I think she did not dare even express this suspicion out loud. The shooter was likely the one who was the angriest at her.
I dreamed about this shooting about a month ahead of time. I got several details in the dream, that it was in a part of a grocery store, that it was something deadly. I was scared to death. Made my daughter carry mace. Went to meet her when she only had to walk a block. I was always scared. I lived in a war zone.
That's why I still study true crime.


Cathy said...

I, too, study the psychopathy of sociopaths and their compulsions. And I live in a war zone as well. It's become very obvious to me over the years that at one time, every person who's taken a life at one time was someone's little baby, either loved or abused - hence the creation of a human without a conscience - a psychopath. True, as you state, more attention needs be paid the living victims of this pathology but if we KILL these people instead of studying them in a very secure location, then we've admitted the human condition is hopeless, cannot be saved. And I don't believe that. Killing is killing, whether by a diseased man or state-santioned murder. And here I only wanted to wish you a Happy Earth Day!!!

Gerry said...

I do not believe in the death penalty either as I think a psychopath like Dale Hausner needs to be studied indefinitely and also the brother who was probably with him the first few murders. I think this is our problem, a man who was developed in our society so it is counter productive to kill him rather than study him.


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