Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Random Recreational Violence: Phoenix's Serial Shooters

Stand-Up Family Man Or Psychopath?

Dale Hausner
Dale Hausner
During his 2009 trial, Dale Hausner, 36, would cast himself as an upstanding citizen and a busy man. He'd been a janitor at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport since 1999, and he picked up extra work as a bartender, a comedian, a commercial actor, and even a boxing photographer. A sports fan, he also kept two cats as pets, Mike and Tyson.

A divorced dad, Hausner had custody of his daughter two nights a week. She suffered from a chronic illness, not detailed in reports of the crimes and trial: she was on a feeding tube, and her glucose levels demanded frequent monitoring. When he had custody, he needed to check on her every few hours.

He also asserted himself as a ladies' man, offering up a complicated romantic schedule as an alibi for his whereabouts during the killings.

The truth was a little sadder.

Karen Ledford
Karen Ledford
In 1994, Hausner lost two sons when he and his then-wife were driving with them near Corsicana, Texas. His wife, Karen Ledford, allegedly fell asleep at the wheel, and the family car drifted off the road and tumbled into a creek. Hausner tried to rescue the boys but couldn't; he never seems to have recovered from the guilt and grief. He slipped into a severe depression, and his wife left him.

Ledford later claimed that Hausner was bisexual, and that he'd violently attacked her. She claimed that when she began dating someone else after their separation, he drove her into the desert near Wickenburg and threatened to kill her. The murder, she said, was thwarted only when a pair of motorcyclists drove by.

Hausner started spending much of his time drinking and joyriding with his brother, Jeff, and eventually they found an even more miserable sidekick.

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