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'Baseline Killer' trial opens in Arizona

/ Source: The Associated Press

Opening statements began Monday in the trial of a man accused of killing nine people and committing dozens of other crimes, including rape and child molestation, in the Baseline Killer case in Phoenix.

Prosecutor Suzanne Cohen told the jury that defendant Mark Goudeau, 46, was driven by a hunger to rape, and the victims who didn't cooperate were shot point-blank in the head.

"The only thing that matched his hunger to rape was his determination to not get caught and not be sitting in this chair," Cohen said. "Those innocents did nothing wrong but cross his path while he was hunting."

As prosecutors began laying out the case against the former construction worker, Goudeau sat quietly, wearing a suit and tie and listening closely as the 74 charges were read and opening statements began.

Cohen told the jury to "beware of the predator that comes to you wrapped in sheep's clothing because he is a ravenous wolf. Mark Goudeau is that ravenous wolf and you shall know him by his deeds."

Cohen detailed every crime Goudeau is charged with in graphic detail.

She showed the court the bodies of the victims, all shot in the head, lying in pools of blood. Many had their pants unzipped and partially pulled down.

Goudeau has pleaded not guilty. His trial is expected to last nine months.

He already is serving a 438-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2007 of 19 counts in a brutal 2005 attack. In that case, police say he raped a woman while pointing a gun at her sister's belly.

The killings started in August 2005 and ended with the murder of Carmen Miranda of Phoenix in what police described as a "blitz attack" on the mother of two on June 29, 2006. She was vacuuming her car and talking on her cellphone at an east Phoenix car wash when a man kidnapped her then shot her in the head and shoved her body in the back seat.

The other eight people who were killed also were attacked while going about daily activities, such as leaving work, waiting at a bus stop or cooking lunch.

The victims were shot in the head, and many of the bodies were left with their pants unzipped and partially pulled down. The victims — eight of them women — ranged from 19 to 39 years old.

Police said forensic evidence, including DNA and ballistics, ties Goudeau to the killings. Defense attorneys contend there are likelier suspects than Goudeau and discredit the DNA tests.

Goudeau's wife, Wendy Carr, maintains that her husband is not guilty and attends nearly every hearing in the case.

"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 in April. "If even a teeny bit of me thought he could be guilty, I would just go away."

Before handing down the sentence in the 2005 rape, Klein said Goudeau must have two "diametrically opposed" personalities: one calm and respectful in court, and the other sociopathic and brutal.

Goudeau also has been imprisoned for 13 years after being convicted of beating a woman's head against a barbell. The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency paroled him eight years early in 2004.

Goudeau previously acknowledged being a recovering drug addict and once blamed his history of violence on a weakness for crack cocaine.

Police named the series of 2005 and 2006 killings and other 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.