A forensic psychologist told a judge Friday it would be a “substantial leap” to assume all the crimes connected to Dale Hausner, a suspect in serial slayings, were done for thrills.
While prosecutors have proposed “thrill-seeking” as the common motive for Hausner and Samuel Dieteman’s alleged 14-month shooting spree, psychologist Mark Cunningham — an expert witness hired by defense attorney Kenneth Everett — said he believes that explanation is too broad. Calling all the crimes thrill-seeking, Cunningham said, is like saying “if it’s not anger or sexually motivated, it fits common scheme or plan for the wastebasket of everything else.”
Crime motives can begin with schizophrenia, drug addictions and personal tragedies as much as for money or fun, he explained.
The question before M a r i co p a County Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle on Friday was whether the court would deal with the 81 felony counts Hausner faces in one or multiple trials. Hausner is charged with crimes including first-degree murder, drive-by shooting, arson and animal cruelty.
Prosecutors believe he and Dieteman cruised Valley streets scouting for targets for their own amusement.
Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist and criminologist, explained that wanting to feel more powerful or trying to alleviate boredom and negative feelings all fall under the umbrella of thrill-seeking for the purpose of categorizing serial killers. Dietz said the evidence he considered — including crime scene facts, wiretaps of the men’s conversations and admissions by Dieteman to police — points to at least one common motive. He said serial killers whose targets are purely random are extremely rare.
The judge will continue listening to arguments about how many trials Hausner should face on Oct. 19.