Before the trial of Serial Shooter suspect Dale Hausner starts in a little more than a month, attorneys are trying to smooth out a glut of leftover details, including a rather big one: where it will be held.
Hausner's attorney has asked for the eight-count murder trial, scheduled to start Sept. 3, to be moved away from the Valley because of the intense media coverage the case has garnered, arguing the coverage has tainted potential jurors.
Attorney Kenneth Everett said in court Friday he wants to call at least two journalists to testify at an Aug. 15 hearing to prove his point.
Everett named reporters Michael Kiefer of The Arizona Republic and Chris Kahn of The Associated Press in court documents filed last week. Both have covered the case since it began in 2006.
"The questioning is going to be something along the lines of: Have you ever experienced anything like it?" Everett told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle on Friday. "They have knowledge above and beyond that of a lay person."
The judge said he was skeptical either reporter could say anything to influence his decision about whether to move the case, but added he still may let the two speak at the mid-August hearing.
While it's rare to see a journalist take the stand in a case he is covering, both Steinle and prosecutor Vince Imbordino made light of the matter in open court.
"I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to cross-examine Mr. Kiefer," Imbordino said.
"I can understand how one would like to get him under oath and ask him a few questions," Steinle replied.
Kiefer, who was in court covering the hearing Friday, declined to comment. Kahn could not be reached. So far, neither reporter has been subpoenaed to testify.
To some, the idea of making a reporter testify in those circumstances seems pointless.
Phoenix media lawyer Dan Barr, who is not involved in the case, said neither journalist would likely be able to provide insight about how wide-reaching or influential the media coverage has been.
Media researchers or pollsters would be more-reliable sources for that information, he said.
"Sounds like this motion is a complete and total waste of time," said Barr, who sometimes represents the Tribune in cases.
Barr also said it's unlikely the case will be moved outside the Valley. High-profile defendants often say the media has tainted the jury pool but rarely can prove it.
"I bet you that you could grab 30 people at random off the street and if you ask them who Dale Hausner is, I doubt you could find five people who know," he said.
The real reason Hausner's lawyer may be raising the long-shot issue, Barr said, is to allow his client to use it in an appeal should he be found guilty.
During the next several weeks, the defense and prosecutors also hope to address several other issues before the trial can start.
Among them is whether prosecutors can tell the jury about other cases pending against Hausner.
Just last week, prosecutors charged Hausner and his brother, Jeff Hausner, with attempted murder in a 2006 stabbing in a west Phoenix parking lot. Prosecutors may try to use the case to point to "prior bad acts" by Dale Hausner.
Dale Hausner is one of two men charged in a yearlong shooting spree that became known as the Serial Shooters case and left eight people dead and 14 wounded.
The other man, Samuel Dieteman, pleaded guilty to some of the killings earlier this year and agreed to testify against Hausner in the rest of thecase.