A superior court judge ruled Tuesday not to allow public viewing of the original search warrants used to investigate the Serial Shooter suspects.
Samuel J. Dieteman, 30, and Dale S. Hausner, 33, are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, 14 counts of attempted first-degree murder and 16 counts of drive-by shooting. Phoenix Newspapers Inc. had requested to view uncensored versions of the search warrants that led to their arrest.
Though full access to the original warrants was denied, the media and the public may read redacted versions of the search warrants.
Judge James Keppel of Maricopa County Superior Court said that releasing the deleted information might make it harder for police to locate additional suspects.
Police, however, have said there are no other suspects.
Keppel also hoped to protect witnesses who are cooperating with police and whose identities are hidden in censored sections of the documents.
Keppel wrote that one document “identifies certain evidence that could still be destroyed by potential suspects not in custody.”
He added that if additional suspects or witnesses read certain details of the case before being interviewed by police or prosecutors, authorities would have a difficult time assessing whether they had prior knowledge of such details, independent of media coverage.
Keppel also denied Hausner’s request for a gag order, which asked the judge to forbid prosecutors and police from talking about the case to the media.
Keppel called Hausner’s application “overbroad” and said that it presented no proof that media coverage would make potential jurors prejudiced against Hausner before his trial.
Keppel noted that all other records in the case that normally would be open to the public will remain available unless attorneys make a valid request to close them.