The man accused in a shooting spree that left eight people dead denied on the witness stand Monday that he shot anyone.
Dale Hausner, who is charged with 87 crimes including eight counts of first-degree murder, spent the day in Maricopa County Superior Court explaining how certain items got into his car, his gun collection, target shooting and his daughter’s medical conditions.
In between those subjects, Hausner’s attorney, Ken Everett, repeatedly asked him if he ever shot anyone from his car, killed any animals, or if he saw confessed killer Sam Dieteman shoot anyone.
“Absolutely not,” Hausner would say, or “No sir.”
Dieteman testified in detail last month that he and Hausner would drive around Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale late at night and look for pedestrians or bicyclists to gun down with a shotgun.
Dieteman, who pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and faces the death penalty, said his involvement included 18 shootings from May 2, 2006 until the pair’s arrest on Aug. 3, 2006.
Authorities allege that the shooting spree lasted 14 months and left 17 people wounded and also claimed several animals.
Hausner answered each of his attorney’s questions rapidly, in detail and in a firm voice.
He said he kept latex gloves in his car because he used them as a janitor at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and as a photographer for handling negatives and prints.
Dieteman said they used the gloves when they loaded shells into the shotgun they used to fire from the car.
Hausner said the shells found in his car were nothing unusual since he would often go to an isolated area in far west Phoenix and shoot guns.
“I’m a gun collector, I enjoy going out to the desert and shooting,” Hausner said.
He said he chose one specific area to shoot in because it was so remote.
“You can get in big trouble shooting in city limits,” he said.
He discussed his collection of dozens of orange lighters he got from the security checkpoint at the airport, where people would have to toss them before boarding a plane.
He said orange was his favorite color and it was an unusual color for a lighter, which made it easier to identify the lighters and get them back from customers when he lent them out at bartending gigs.
Proceeding along that line of questioning, Everett asked him if he ever lit any fires at any area Wal-Mart stores as Dieteman testified they had.
“No sir,” he said.
Many of the shootings were committed with a .22-caliber firearm.
Hausner said the only .22 he owned in 2005 and 2006 was defective and he was unable to get his money back from the pawn shop where he purchased it.
He said he only fired it once in the desert and it jammed. He eventually cut the rifle in half and disposed of one half in Phoenix and the other half in Mesa.
He said decided to saw it in half rather than just throw it away because he did not want it to be traced back to him in case someone got it from the trash and then used it in a crime.
Everett asked him if he ever killed anyone with a .22.
“No sir, I did not,” he said.
Hausner also denied shooting animals and described all of his pets in his adulthood.
There was a feisty homeless cat he adopted called Tyson, after the former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson.
Another cat he called Mike after the boxer.
There was the smelly “kitty” he named “Tinky,” short for Stinky.
Everett said in opening statements that Dieteman was the gunman, sneaking out at night with Hausner’s guns.
In questioning that was apparently used to show Hausner was too busy to be involved in the shooting spree, he described the extensive care his young daughter needed for a disease from which she suffers.
Hausner, who isn’t married, said he had the girl at least two nights a week and he couldn’t leave her side for fear of medical complications.
The girl required a feeding tube and her blood sugar had to be monitored six times a day.
“I would leave to check my mail only,” he said.
At one point, Everett questioned him about a note police found in the Mesa apartment he shared with Dieteman.
It read: “He who asks about the $5 bill is a homicidal maniac, arsonist, thief, destroyer of property, drug using god among mortals.”
He said on the stand that it was a pickup line Dieteman planned to use at bars. Hausner said the idea was for Dieteman to print the inscription on a T-shirt and then tape a $5 bill over. When someone would ask about the money, Dieteman would rip it off for the person to read the T-shirt.
That was much different than what he told the Tribune in a 2006 interview.
“Oh my God,” Hausner said in 2006 with a laugh. “That’s the worst thing I’ve heard all day. I’m absolutely speechless.”
Hausner also implied throughout his testimony that he was a ladies man.
He constantly referred to one girlfriend after another and he said he dated three different women in his apartment complex in the few months he lived there.
He even used his love life to explain why Dieteman shortened the stock of a shotgun allegedly used in the killings.
Dieteman said in testimony he did it to make the gun fit inside Hausner’s car better.
Hausner said there was a loose piece of rubber on the stock that would pinch him and bruise him every time he fired the shotgun.
He said his shoulder would appear to be full of hickeys and he didn’t want for any women who saw him shirtless while they were “fooling around” to think they were hickeys.