Dale Hausner was fascinated with serial killers.
The Mesa man, now accused of being one himself, said as much in a videotaped police interrogation that took place just hours after his August 2006 arrest.
“I find it interesting,” Hausner said in the interrogation, talking about reading lots about American serial killers nicknamed things like the Son of Sam and BTK. “It’s very fascinating.”
“I would like to sit down with a reallife Jeffrey Dahmer, and say, ‘Why the hell would you eat all those people?’ ” Hausner said.
Jurors on Thursday in Hausner’s eightcount murder trial in Maricopa County Superior Court were shown several hours of his videotaped interrogation by Phoenix police detective Clark Schwartzkopf and other investigators.
The grainy black-and-white video showed Hausner vehemently denying that he had killed anyone and even saying that he sympathized with the families of the victims.
“I didn’t shoot anybody,” said Hausner, who has pleaded not guilty to the 87 charges against him. “But the person who did probably should be given the needle.”
Hausner has been on trial for more than three months in downtown Phoenix. He is accused of being the leading half of a duo that became known as the Serial Shooters. Authorities believe they killed eight people and wounded at least 17 others throughout the Valley in 2005 and 2006.
During the interrogation, Hausner was pressed to admit to the killings. Schwartzkopf and the other investigators told him that Samuel Dieteman, the man they believed was his accomplice, would likely spill his guts anyway.
They even confronted Hausner with transcripts of secretly recorded conversations between him and Dieteman in which they discussed the killings.
Hausner continued to deny any involvement in the killings.
“I have a sick sense of humor,” Hausner said, “so I joke about certain stuff.”
“I do not enjoy violence,” he said later.
Hausner also offered the police some alternate theories about who could be behind the serial killings.
He tried to blame the shootings on the Baseline Killer, another serial killer who had been raping and killing women throughout the Valley about the same time. He also threw out the possibility that the crimes could be “gang related.”
“With all those nut jobs out there,” he said, “it could be anybody.”
Dieteman eventually did, in fact, spill his guts. He has pleaded guilty to two murders and agreed to testify against Hausner in the coming weeks of the trial.
The videotape played Thursday marked the second time this week the jury has been faced with the sounds of Hausner himself talking in depth about the killings.
On Tuesday, jurors heard snippets of the secretly recorded conversations between him and Dieteman. In one, Hausner talked about shooting somebody “at 27th Avenue and the yard.”
In another, he goaded his young daughter, who was staying with the men at their Mesa apartment, to tell Dieteman, “Don’t kill anybody, OK?”
Hausner faces the death penalty if convicted. County prosecutors also are seeking the death penalty for Dieteman.