The man who confessed to two homicides in a 14-month shooting spree took the witness stand Tuesday amid heavy security and much anticipation in the trial of his co-defendant.
Samuel Dieteman, 33, testified for an hour, describing how he and Dale Hausner, who is on trial on eight counts of first degree murder and 79 other offenses, came to meet and what lead up to their first shooting together.
Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Vince Imbordino stopped questioning Dieteman and asked for a recess until today just as they were about to get into details of the shooting death of Claudia Gutierrez Cruz on May 2, 2006, in Scottsdale.
Dieteman said he decided to plead guilty to Cruz's death and the death of Robin Blasnek of Mesa along with a third charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder to clear his conscience and avoid a long, unnecessary trial.
"To give me a chance to get up here and tell what I knew," he said.
Dieteman said he pulled the trigger on Cruz and acted as a lookout in the shooting death of Blasnek while Hausner fired the shotgun at her as she walked on Gilbert Road, near Brown Road.
At least four muscle-bound deputies in black SWAT uniforms stayed close by in the wings and four other deputies stood in plain view throughout the courtroom.
Dieteman also wore an electrical belt under his jail-stripes, his feet were chained and Judge Roland Steinle instructed him to stay seated or else deputies would pounce.
Steinle allowed him to testify with his hands free.
Authorities believe the shooting spree in which eight people died and 17 were wounded occurred throughout 2005 and 2006.
Dieteman said he was an unemployed alcoholic who lived with Hausner's brother, Jeff Hausner, when he first met the defendant in April 2006.
"Looking back on it now after a couple of years of being sober, I was an alcoholic, drunk everyday," he said.
They met in the parking lot of the apartment complex where Hausner's parents lived in Phoenix. Jeff Hausner, who is serving a 7 1/2-year sentence for an aggravated assault conviction, had gone over to borrow money. The brothers have also both been charged in a May 2006 stabbing attack.
Dieteman moved into Hausner's Mesa apartment in July 2006.
They were arrested in August 2006.
Dieteman said the night he shot and killed Cruz began with an argument with another roommate when he was living with Jeff Hausner.
He said he stuffed his clothes into a box and started walking down the street when Dale Hausner picked him up on the street and he, Jeff Hausner and Dale Hausner went out to eat and go shopping.
That's where Imbordino ended the testimony for the day.
He is expected to testify for up to two weeks.