Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman were laughing as they drove away from 17-year-old Kibili Tambadu near 44th and Van Buren streets.
Tambadu was holding his stomach and yelling, so Dieteman, who began his second day of testimony in the Serial Shooter trial Wednesday, said he didn’t believe Tambadu was wounded very seriously.
It was May 2, 2006, and Dieteman and Hausner had just forged their new friendship when Hausner shot Tambadu, Dieteman testified.
Hausner is on trial on 87 counts, including eight first-degree murder charges, in connection with a 14-month shooting spree in 2005 and 2006 that left eight dead and 17 wounded throughout Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix and the West Valley.
Authorities believe Hausner committed most of the crimes and Dieteman, who has agreed to testify against Hausner, described on Wednesday how the two would drive around at night and randomly choose victims to shoot. He described 16 of the shootings from May 2006 — a month after he met Hausner — until July 11, 2006. Court ended before he got to the shooting of Robin Blasnek of Mesa.
He also described two arsons at West Valley Wal-Marts and a stabbing allegedly involving Hausner’s brother, Jeff Hausner, who is serving a seven-year sentence for a stabbing that he and Dieteman committed together.
Tambadu survived, but their next victim that night didn’t, and this time it was Dieteman who pulled the trigger of the 410 shotgun Hausner would bring along on their nights out.
“We saw someone walking, he handed me the shotgun and said, ‘Here dude, your turn,’” Dieteman said from the witness stand in Maricopa County Superior Court.
They were driving west on Thomas Road near 61st Place and a “small, dark figure” was walking west on the north side of the street. Dieteman couldn’t tell if the person was a man or woman.
It turned out to be 20-year-old Claudia Gutierrez-Cruz, a custodian walking home from work in Scottsdale about 10:30 p.m.
Dieteman was in the passenger seat, and he followed Hausner’s example from the Tambadu shooting by resting the gun barrel on the window and firing when they got alongside the person walking.
Dieteman said he wasn’t sure if he hit Gutierrez-Cruz, so they turned around for a second look, but they couldn’t find anyone.
“He started getting a little angry at me for missing,” Dieteman said.
They finally saw her lying in a grassy area.
A previous witness had testified to finding Gutierrez-Cruz crawling across the street with what appeared to be her organs falling out of her wound.
Dieteman said they made a stop for some liquor and returned to Hausner’s Mesa apartment where he drank rum and cola until he reached “pass-out mode.”
“I thought, ‘That was the first person I ever killed,’” he said. “I was kind of freaking out.” Dieteman said Hausner brought him a newspaper clipping on Gutierrez-Cruz’s death.
Hausner was grinning and jovial when they spoke about it, Dieteman said.
“He said, ‘Dude, you got the first murder of the year in Scottsdale, I’m jealous,’” Dieteman said.
Details about other shootings and Hausner’s responses to them were just as chilling.
Dieteman described how one man who was walking his bicycle got shot and leaned against a building before sliding down to the sidewalk.
In a July 2006 shooting in Phoenix, Dieteman said a man was talking on his cell phone, which immediately “went dark” as soon as he was shot.
They made eye contact with Ashley Armenta on July 8, 2006, and she screamed as she turned. Armenta was shot in the head and survived.
Dieteman said Hausner called him once from a Wendy’s fast food drive-thru window, laughing, to report he had shot someone.
“He said, ‘It’s dangerous around here, I think some chick on a bike just got shot,’” Dieteman said.
A short time after a May 30, 2006, shooting in west Phoenix, Hausner called Dieteman to tell him there were “more lights and sirens” in the area.
Dieteman said he found out the next day Hausner had shot two more people.
“His words were, ‘Some guy was walking on Camelback and I dropped his ass in the middle of the street,’” Dieteman said.
He said that from time to time they would return to the scene of the crime immediately after a shooting, and Hausner kept a binder of newspaper clippings of the shootings.
Dieteman pleaded guilty April 4 to two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
He admitted to Gutierrez-Cruz’s death and to being present when Blasnek was shot and killed near Brown Road as she walked alone at night on Gilbert Road.
The state is seeking the death penalty against both men.