Police in Phoenix say they have caught the Baseline Killer, who shot 9 people to death

Friday, December 8th 2006, 8:04 pm
By: News On 6

PHOENIX (AP) An attorney for a man police allege shot nine people to death in the Phoenix area said Friday that his client is innocent and was shocked to hear about the new recommended charges.

"Anyone who did those things is clearly a monster, and I don't think Mark is a monster and I don't think he committed these crimes," attorney Corwin Townsend said of Mark Goudeau, a 42-year-old former construction worker and ex-convict.

Townsend said Goudeau "almost slumped over when he heard the news" Thursday that police were accusing him of being the Baseline Killer and recommending he be charged with 71 counts, including nine counts of first-degree murder.

Goudeau has been in custody since September, when he was arrested and charged with two sexual assaults authorities said were linked to the Baseline Killer, who spread terror across the Phoenix area for nearly a year.

Townsend said he is waiting for prosecutors to file additional charges, and probably will begin assembling a defense team after that.

Bill FitzGerald, a spokesman for the Maricopa County attorney's office, said Friday that formal charges could take some time, but would not provide a specific timeline. "There's a lot to go through," he said.

Police said Thursday that DNA, ballistics and other evidence point to Goudeau, wrapping up what authorities said was the largest investigation in the police department's history.

They recommended that Goudeau be charged with 71 counts, including nine counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of kidnapping, nine counts of sexual contact with a minor and six counts of sexual assault.

"On September 6th on this very spot, we stood before you and announced that Mr. Goudeau had been arrested," Mayor Phil Gordon said Thursday. "We couldn't and wouldn't say that we had a serial killer, but the community knew. You knew. And the attacks stopped. Today, we now have the evidence we need."

In all, Goudeau is considered a suspect in 19 incidents, including shootings, sexual assaults and robberies that left nine people dead between August 2005 and June. The dead, eight of them women, ranged in age from 19 to 39. Most were killed as they went about their daily lives, washing a car, leaving work, and waiting at a bus stop. All nine were shot.

Police have said the Baseline Killer usually struck at night and wore disguises, which included a wig of dreadlocks and a fisherman's hat. The name came from the Phoenix street where some of the earliest crimes were committed.

Goudeau served 13 1/2 years in prison for three aggravated assaults, armed robbery and kidnapping before being paroled in 2004. The former construction worker once blamed his history of violence on a weakness for crack.

The Baseline Killer was one of two serial killer cases that spread fear across the Phoenix area recently.

In August, police arrested two roommates in what was dubbed the Serial Shooter case. The two men are accused of driving around the city and its suburbs at night, firing at people randomly from a car. Seven people were killed.

The defendants are awaiting trial.

Libby Nunez-Rocha, the sister of victim Sophia Nunez, said the news that Goudeau is suspected in the death has offered little closure.

"All I know is what the police are telling us. In my heart, I have to believe that he is the right person," Nunez-Rocha said.