PHOENIX - Two men accused of being a serial-killing team faced each other for the first time in more than a year Friday as attorneys sparred over their alleged roles in a series of random, late-night attacks during the summer of 2006.
This time, however, Samuel Dieteman was working with prosecutors, testifying at a hearing that he and Dale Hausner, his former roommate, would take turns attacking people. He also described shootings he didn't witness that he said Hausner and Hausner's brother told him about.
"Just random, senseless destruction," Dieteman, 32, said of their relationship.
Dieteman has pleaded guilty to two murders and told police he wants to die for his crimes. His plea deal will allow jurors to consider his testimony before deciding whether to give him the death penalty, however.
"It's not so much that I want to" die, Dieteman said in court. "But if that's what the people want, I'm not going to waste a bunch of time and fight it."
Dieteman's testimony came as prosecutors tried to persuade a judge to let him tell all he knows of the crimes, including what he allegedly heard from Hausner.
Hausner, 35, has denied any involvement in the shootings and stabbings. He has pleaded not guilty to eight murder charges and other crimes. His first trial, on seven of the murder counts and other related charges, is scheduled to begin Sept. 3.
Authorities link eight killings to the so-called Serial Shooter case, one of two serial murder investigations that put the Phoenix area on edge for months during the summer of 2006. Police attributed another 23 attacks, including nine slayings, to an assailant dubbed the Baseline Killer. Mark Goudeau was convicted of two sexual assaults authorities link to the Baseline Killer, was sentenced to 438 years in prison and still faces trial on murder counts.
Hausner's lawyer, Ken Everett, wants Dieteman's testimony kept out of the trial. He pointed out during the hearing that police lack additional evidence tying Dale Hausner to many of the alleged crimes, and that Dieteman was drinking heavily and using drugs at the time.
Everett said Dieteman's comments regarding the death penalty are insincere, and that the man is trying to sell out his friend in hopes of avoiding lethal injection.
"I don't believe anything when he opens his mouth," Everett said of Dieteman outside the courtroom. "He will do anything to save his own skin."
Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle III did not rule on what he will allow jurors to hear.
Dieteman told Steinle during the hearing about how he met Hausner, and how they collaborated in a series of attacks that ended Aug. 3, 2006, when police pulled them from an apartment they shared in Mesa.
Almost immediately after they met, Dieteman said, they started shoplifting bottles of alcohol, music CDs and other small items that Hausner would then sell. "He'd pay me half of the money he made," Dieteman said.
They turned to lighting garbage on fire, shooting out car windows with BB guns and puncturing tires. One time, Hausner had a BB gun with him as he pulled up next to a woman on the street.
"He said 'Are you working? Do you need a ride?' and she was like 'no.' And he pulled out the gun and shot her in the chest."
The killings started happening later, Dieteman said. Hausner's brother Jeff, who had introduced the two men earlier that year, was involved in some of the attacks, Dieteman said. The Hausner brothers worried about including him, Dieteman said, and he felt like he needed to beat up and attack more people to gain their confidence.
"As long as I committed a crime in their presence, their trust went up," he said.
Jeff Hausner pleaded guilty last year to a 2006 aggravated assault and was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison in that case. He also faces criminal charges in a stabbing in May 2006.