Over the course of a single evening, the suspects in last year’s serial shootings discussed their death count, compared themselves to another serial killer and spoke of disguises — all of which police caught on tape, prosecutors say.
Prosecutors hope to use those recordings to prove that Samuel Dieteman and Dale Hausner were responsible for killing seven people and wounding at least 17 during a shooting spree that plagued the Valley between May 2005 and August 2006.
But defense attorneys are fighting to keep the wiretapped conversations out of court, claiming the conversations were recorded without a search warrant. That would mean the recordings were unconstitutional, Hausner’s attorney Kenneth Everett wrote to Maricopa County Superior Court on July 13.
In fact, Judge James Keppel authorized the wiretaps of Dieteman’s cell phone and the men’s Mesa apartment and Toyota Camry on Aug. 4, 2006. But the 48 hours of recordings began Aug. 2, after an emergency application was granted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Everett will try to show that the wiretappings weren’t an emergency and that police and prosecutors abused their power to go on a “fishing expedition.”
But if admitted into evidence, the recordings — of boastful comments about the killings — are sure to add to prosecutors’ firepower.
The transcripts of that evening’s recordings say that Dieteman told Hausner: “The D.C. sniper is more experienced than us with more technology and know how.”
A few minutes later, the duo discussed the news media’s version of the death count: six.
Hausner said: “The death toll is higher than that. What about the (expletive) guy I shot at 27th Avenue and Northern?” He then called Dieteman and himself “pioneers” in killing.
“It feels good, doesn’t it?” Hausner said.
Also, Dieteman talked about altering his appearance by tanning and dyeing his head and facial hair black so he’d look Hispanic, the transcripts state.
Also that night, the men watched the news and debated the reports that said 27 people in the Phoenix area had died because of serial crimes.
Dieteman said: “27? We killed 35.” He said he was going to kill about 500.
“I love shooting people in the back. That’s so much fun,” Hausner told Dieteman.
“My favorite thing is when someone is walking away and giving (me) a couple of seconds to aim without them looking,” Dieteman responded.
Judge Roland Steinle will decide later this month whether the recordings may be admitted into evidence.
In addition to wiretaps, prosecutors also plan to present evidence found during searches of the Toyota Camry they say the men used during their drive-by shootings and of the Mesa apartment the men shared.
Search warrants show that police seized several weapons — including three shotguns — ammunition, newspaper clippings about the shootings, and obituaries of the victims.
In a separate motion on July 23, Everett asked the judge to bar information about any unsolved slayings, crimes or other “bad acts” with which Hausner may be charged.
The former roommates are being tried separately. Dieteman has been charged with two counts of murder, and Hausner faces seven counts. Both have pleaded not guilty.