July 30, 2009 in Nation/World

Jury chooses life sentence in Phoenix serial murders

Amanda Lee Myers Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Samuel Dieteman reacts during court in Phoenix on Wednesday shortly after his sentence was read. A jury sentenced Dieteman to life in prison.
(Full-size photo)

PHOENIX – A jury spared a man convicted in a series of random nighttime shootings from the death penalty and sentenced him to life in prison on Wednesday.

Samuel Dieteman, who pleaded guilty to two of six murders in the metropolitan Phoenix Serial Shooter case of 2005 and 2006, appeared stoic as the jury’s decision was announced.

“I’m truly sorry for the pain that I’ve caused to many, many people,” Dieteman, 33, said after his sentence was read. He thanked the court for treating him like a human being. His lawyer and family members cried as the verdict was read.

Authorities say Dieteman and his former roommate, 36-year-old Samuel Hausner, preyed on pedestrians, bicyclists and animals in attacks that ended in August 2006 when both men were arrested at the apartment they shared in Mesa. Dieteman and Hausner met in April 2006 – about nine months after the Serial Shooter attacks began, and Dieteman’s defense attorneys painted him as being Hausner’s follower.

Prosecutors had urged the death penalty for Dieteman. They painted him as a willing participant, pulling the trigger and serving as Hausner’s lookout.

Dieteman’s lawyers asked jurors to consider his testimony as a key witness against Hausner, who received six death sentences earlier this year.

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