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Convicted Arizona serial killer sentenced to death

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona jury sentenced a convicted serial killer on Wednesday to death for murdering nine people in a violent rampage played out on the streets in the Phoenix area beginning in 2005.

Jurors imposed the death sentence on 47-year-old Mark Goudeau, known as the Baseline Killer, for the murder spree that terrorized Phoenix-area residents for 13 months beginning that August.

The six-woman, six-man jury deliberated for about seven hours before reaching a verdict in the penalty phase of the trial. Goudeau had been found guilty last month of murdering eight women and one man, along with 58 other crimes.

During the penalty phase, prosecutors branded Goudeau, dubbed the Baseline Killer after the road where many of the early attacks took place, a predator who raped, robbed and assaulted his victims.

Jurors heard testimony from family members of the victims as well.

Goudeau, already in prison for sexually assaulting two sisters at a south Phoenix park in 2005, also spoke in court for the first time, chastising his attorneys and assuring jurors he was not the "wolf in sheep's clothing" he was portrayed as.

"I am no monster," he told the court.

That is how Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon had described him following his 2006 arrest in connection with a crime spree that included 13 separate attacks on 33 people.

"A terrible scourge on our community has now been held accountable for his crimes," Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said after the sentencing.

Prosecutors said the attacks began in August 2005 when Goudeau pulled a gun on three teens on Baseline Road. He took them behind a church and sexually assaulted the two girls.

The first murder came a month later, when he killed 19-year-old Georgia Thompson in a parking lot outside her apartment complex, police said.

Goudeau's final victim was Carmen Miranda, a 37-year-old mother of two taken from a carwash as she was talking on her cell phone near Goudeau's home in June 2006, prosecutors say. Miranda was later found dead inside her car.

The case was one of two serial killer cases in the Phoenix area about six years ago. Dale Hausner was convicted of six murders in 2009 and sentenced to death as part of the "Serial Shooter" investigation. His accomplice, Sam Dieteman, admitted to two murders and was sentenced to life in prison.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Johnston)

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