PHOENIX — Carmen Miranda was vacuuming her car and talking on her cell phone when a man dubbed the Baseline Killer shot her in the head, shoved her body in the back seat and lodged her legs over her head with her pants pulled down.
The Phoenix woman was the last victim connected to a string of eight other killings in 2005 and 2006 in which victims were attacked while going about daily activities such as leaving work, waiting at a bus stop or washing a car.
They were shot in the head, and many of the bodies were left with their pants pulled down.
Now, the man accused of being the Baseline Killer is set to stand trial for murder. Jury selection began Tuesday in the case against Mark Goudeau, whose trial is expected to last about nine months.
The killings started in August 2005 and ended with Miranda's death on June 29, 2006, in what police described as a "blitz attack" of the mother of two at the car wash.
The dead — eight of them women — ranged from 19 to 39 years old.
Police said they have forensic evidence, including DNA and ballistics, tying Goudeau to the killings.
The 46-year-old former construction worker is the last of three suspects to go on trial for a rash of attacks that terrorized the Phoenix area for more than a year.
Dale Hausner and Samuel Dieteman were arrested in the so-called Serial Shooter case in August 2006. Hausner was convicted in March 2009 of killing six people and attacking 19 others in dozens of random nighttime shootings and was given six death sentences. Dieteman testified against Hausner and was sentenced to life in prison.
Goudeau already is serving a 438-year prison sentence. In September 2007, he was convicted of 19 counts in a brutal 2005 attack in which he raped a woman while pointing a pistol at her sister's belly as they walked home from a park. That crime was part of the Baseline Killer case.
But this year's trial will be the first time Goudeau is tried on nine first-degree murder counts and 65 other charges, including attempted murder, sexual assault, child molestation, kidnapping and armed robbery.
"There's no question it's a big case," said Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County attorney's office, which is prosecuting the case. "A case this big with this many victims just took a long time to get to the point where it could be tried."
Goudeau has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney, Randall Craig, has not returned repeated calls for comment.
Goudeau's wife, Wendy Carr, is standing by her husband and goes to almost every hearing.
"I don't mean to oversimplify it, but Mark is innocent, and I think it's important that I show my support for him," she said. "If even a teeny bit of me thought he could be guilty, I would just go away."
She said it's scary to be on the cusp of the murder trial.
"Juries just scare me because people feel like they have a civic duty to convict, but hopefully people will be selected who can really listen to the case and understand there's not a shred of evidence that links Mark to any of these crimes," she said. "DNA is not what they say it is, not even close."
Carr referred to the DNA that police say connected Goudeau to the 2005 sexual assault of the two sisters.
Lorraine Heath, who worked as a forensic specialist with the Department of Public Safety, told a Maricopa County Superior Court that Goudeau was almost undoubtedly the source of male DNA found on the left breast of one of the sisters. It was 360 trillion times more likely that DNA collected from the crime scene came from Goudeau rather than an unrelated African-American man, Heath said.
Corwin Townsend, Goudeau's defense attorney at the time, pointed out that Heath's analysis showed only a partial match. Under cross-examination, Heath agreed that Goudeau's DNA was consistent with only three of 13 genetic markers.
Goudeau maintained he was innocent.
"What happened to those two girls was indeed horrible," he told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Andrew Klein at his sentencing, "but I had nothing to do with it."
Before handing down the sentence, Klein said Goudeau must have two "diametrically opposed" personalities: one calm and respectful in court and the other sociopathic and brutal.
Goudeau, who grew up in Phoenix, already has spent much of his life behind bars.
He was imprisoned for 13 years after being convicted of crimes that included beating a woman's head against a barbell. The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency paroled him eight years early in 2004. About a year later, police said, Goudeau started attacking again.
In August 2005, police said Goudeau accosted three teens — two girls and a boy — near Baseline Road in south Phoenix, forced them behind a church, and molested the girls. In the months that followed, prosecutors say Goudeau killed nine people and committed other crimes.
Police named the crimes after Baseline Road in south Phoenix where many of the earliest attacks happened. Goudeau lived only a few miles from many of the attack sites, and Miranda was killed just around the corner from his house.
Goudeau previously acknowledged being a recovering drug addict and once blamed his history of violence on a weakness for crack cocaine.
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