Months remain until the trial of two Mesa men in the Serial Shooter killings, but their legal strategies were revealed Monday.
During oral arguments in the cases of Samuel Dieteman and Dale Hausner, a defense attorney said the two would claim different degrees of responsibility.
Kenneth Everett, representing Hausner, said Dieteman’s defense would be to admit involvement in some crimes, while stating his former roommate also participated.
“Our defense is completely, (Hausner) did nothing — and if Sam’s the shooter, so be it,” Everett said.
Prosecutors accuse Dieteman and Hausner of killing seven people and wounding at least 17 during a Valleywide shooting spree between May 2005 and August 2006.
Everett made his remarks during a discussion of the possibility of calling two juries for simultaneous trials. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle held off ruling on that issue.
But Steinle, checking the attorneys’ schedules, did learn it appears next summer is when everyone’s calendars are clear for trial. Steinle expects to set a trial date at a hearing Dec. 10, he said.
Much remains to be decided by Steinle. Among the motions before him: a request to change venues; if the jury will hear about the post-arrest press conference Hausner conducted or previous “bad acts” with which he may be charged; and whether the counts against the men will be tried once or split into separate trials.
But it was the prosecution’s motion for the two juries that generated the most concern. Even prosecutor Vince Imbordino admitted he’s never attempted this.
Dieteman’s defense attorney, Maria Schaffer, said it would be a logistical nightmare.
“The possibility of a mistrial would most likely occur on a regular basis,” Schaffer said.
Everett said a dual-jury trial might work in a case if two men were accused of one murder.
However, he added that this is a complex case with Hausner accused of a greater number of crimes.
During the half-hour hearing, Dieteman and Hausner sat in the courtroom’s jury box.
Both wore prison stripes, and Hausner was surrounded by three deputies, two of whom were clad in tactical gear.
He didn’t appear much different from when he was taken into custody more than a year ago.
Dieteman, meanwhile, sat alone in the other end of the box. His head was recently shaved, and the trimmed goatee he sported at the time of his arrest is now sloppy.