Murder Victims' Families Sue Phoenix Police
PHOENIX (CN) - The Phoenix Police Department waited almost a year to process DNA evidence that would have identified the "Baseline Killer" and prevented the murders or attempted murders of three people, the families say in separate lawsuits.
Mark Goudeau was convicted on Oct. 31, 2011 of all murders attributed to the "Baseline Killer," and was sentenced to death on top of a 438-year sentence for rape and assault.
According to the three new complaints in Maricopa County Court complaints, the Police Department's crime laboratory gathered DNA evidence on two swabs from a Sept. 20, 2005 double rape of two sisters that matched the "perpetrator" of the act, Goudeau.
The family claims the lab analyzed one of the swabs, which showed a partial, insufficient DNA profile, but failed to test the second swab at the time.
The crime lab "had the capability to analyze biological evidence through Short Tandem Repeats DNA forensic testing," the families claim.
Goudeau at the time was "a previously convicted felon and had provided a STR DNA sample that was on file," the lawsuits state.
The second swab was not tested until almost a year after the sisters were sexually assaulted, the family says. The police crime lab sent the two swabs to the Arizona Department of Public Safety's lab on Aug. 24, 2006, and a hit was soon found on Goudeau's STR DNA sample.
Until September 2006, defendant Roger Schneider, an employee of the police crime lab, had falsely claimed "that all evidence relating to the Baseline Killer/Rapist case that could be tested had been tested by the City of Phoenix Crime Lab," according to one complaint.
The police crime lab's delay in testing allowed Goudeau to "remain unincarcerated and to continue his violent killing spree," resulting in the attempted murder of Adrienne McCormack, and the murders of Tina Washington and Mirna Palma-Roman, the McCormack family says.
One plaintiff says Goudeau kidnapped her at gunpoint on May 1, 2006, ordered her to drive her car to a secluded area and undress. After she refused to perform oral sex on him, he fired his gun at her but it misfired, allowing her to run away from the car, the plaintiff says.
Washington was shot and killed Dec. 12, 2005 while waiting at a bus stop.
Palma-Roman was killed Feb. 20, 2006 while working in a lunch truck.
The families of the murder victims seek punitive damages for wrongful death and negligence.
The survivor seeks punitive damages for false imprisonment and negligence.
They are represented by Marc J. Victor of Chandler.