Two suspected serial killers in the Phoenix area's serial shooter investigation wrote letters to The Arizona Republic, each pointing the finger at the other, the newspaper reported.
Samuel Dieteman, 32, pleaded guilty to two slayings as part of a plea agreement, and Dale Hausner, 35, faces eight murder charges and has pleaded not guilty.
The Republic reports that both suspects wrote to the newspaper in response to a story last week that Dieteman had implicated both Hausner and Hausner's older brother Jeff in the death of a homeless man in central Phoenix.
In one of two letters, dated May 22, Hausner wrote to the Republic that the homeless man, Nathaniel Schoffner, 45, was probably killed by Dieteman and another man, "which is how Sam had such detailed info on this shooting even though he claims he wasn't there for it."
"I still maintain my innocence," Hausner wrote. "I didn't shoot or kill anyone, nor was I with anyone when they did."
Dieteman's letter, which arrived the same day as Hausner's, paints a different picture.
In it, he confesses to one murder and involvement in two other shootings by Hausner, but claims he didn't even know Hausner until April 2006, nearly a year into the shooting spree. He asked to not be held responsible for any of the crimes that occurred before they met.
"I am in no way trying to play 'Mr. Innocent,' as Dale Hausner is. I have taken responsibility for my crimes," Dieteman wrote. "I signed a plea agreement to where I'm still going to 'death row.' The only benefits I get out of that deal are avoiding an unnecessary trial and being able to help put Hausner away.
"I am not looking for attention - I've had all I can handle for my part in these disgusting crimes - just honesty," he wrote.
In his letter, Hausner also criticizes the investigators involved in the case and the Republic for its coverage of it.
Hausner wrote that Phoenix police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives knew Dieteman's name, cell phone number and whereabouts before the last two murders even took place. Police say they only knew his name in connection to an unrelated arson investigation.
"The bottom line is, the ATF and the Phx. P.D. had ample opportunity to get Sam Dieteman," Hausner wrote. "They were simply too lazy to do any type of real police work."
"In a police report, the Phx P.D. said they 'walked by' the apartment that Sam Dieteman was living at on 6-21-06. Not stake out. Not knocked on the door. Just 'walked by,'" Hausner wrote. "What were they hoping to find, the front door wide open with Sam standing there holding a shotgun and can of lighter fluid?"
Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said Wednesday that when Dieteman's name surfaced in June 2006, it was in relation to two arson fires at Wal-Mart stores, not any of the murders.
That corroborates recent testimony from ATF agents.
Hill said Dieteman's name was connected to a shotgun shooting in July 2006. Police said Dieteman and Hausner had identified themselves as witnesses and talked to investigators at the scene of a shooting in May 2006. Hausner makes reference to that shooting in one of his letters to the Republic.
Hausner also criticized the Republic for overstating the number of criminal charges he faces and running an unflattering photo of him.
"Could you possibly put a worse photo of me in the paper?" he wrote. "Maybe you should photo-shop one of me with devil horns. That would sell a lot of papers!!"