He drove around at night, shooting complete strangers. But what made Dale Hausner kill?

Dale Hausner

Dale Hausner (Photo: PA Photos)

Seemingly random killings were spreading across Phoenix, Arizona.

Between 2005 and 2006, bodies were piling up.

Cyclists, pedestrians and even animals were being gunned down on deserted streets.

Some were wounded, others shot dead.

The first to lose their life was 20-year-old David Estrada in June 2005.

The final victim was Robin Blasnek, 22, murdered in July 2006.

The police received a tip-off from a man who’d heard local criminal Samuel Dieteman bragging about how he and his roommate, Dale Hausner, liked to shoot people at night.

Both were put under surveillance and arrested in connection with arson incidents.

In Hausner’s apartment, officers found rifles, ice picks and other weapons – as well as newspaper clippings about the shootings.

They also found a map with dots marking the location of some of the killings.

Both men were charged with first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted first-degree murder.

However, it was Hausner who was ultimately convicted of 80 crimes…

Dale Hausner was born in Nebraska, in February 1973, believed to be the youngest of five brothers.

By November 1994, Hausner, then 21, was married to Karen, and had two sons, aged 3 and 2.

But tragedy struck that November…

His wife, Karen, was driving when she fell asleep at the wheel. The car plunged into a creek. Hausner attempted to rescue his sons, but failed.

The little boys lost their lives…

Hausner later talked about his ‘extreme guilt’ and said that he battled ‘serious depression’.

Could the guilt have affected him enough that he became a killer?

Hausner’s marriage to Karen crumbled. She said he’d driven her to the desert, threatened to shoot her.

She even filed for an order of protection against him.

Then, in 2005, the crime spree started…

Dieteman claimed that Hausner professed his hatred for prostitutes and homeless people, and they looked for victims in areas frequented by such people. They’d drive around, looking for people on which to perform ‘random recreational violence’.

Many people died, 17 others were shot and wounded from a passing car and one was stabbed.

Ten animals were also shot, two shops set alight and a bartending school shot at during the spree.

Hausner told reporters Dieteman may have taken his car and guns.

During Hausner’s trial it emerged that Hausman said he was fascinated with killers Charles Starkweather and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Had this fascination inspired his own evil path?

He was convicted of 80 crimes, including six counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and cruelty to animals.

Dieteman admitted two charges of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

He received a life sentence. Hausner was sentenced to die by lethal injection.

In June 2013, Hausner’s body was discovered in his cell.

He’d taken an overdose of antidepressants.

Dieterman remains in prison.

And, while the families of Hausner’s victims missed out on seeing him executed, they can rest safe in the knowledge that ultimately, he paid with his life.