Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Random Recreational Violence: Phoenix's Serial Shooters

Boys Will Be Boys, Or Maybe Meth-Head Serial Killers

Samuel Dieteman
Samuel Dieteman
In early 2006, the guy on the next barstool asked Samuel Dieteman, 30, how he was doing. When Dieteman announced he was unemployed and homeless, Jeff Hausner seems to have concluded the Hausner brothers had found an ideal third wheel. He introduced Dieteman to his brother Dale.

Dieteman's parents had divorced when he was young, and he and his mother had shuttled back and forth between Minnesota and Arizona. In 1992, he and his girlfriend had a baby, married, moved to Arizona, where they had a second daughter.

In 2001, his wife left him and returned to Minnesota. Like Hausner, Dieteman did not take the separation well. He, too, threatened to kill his wife, saying he'd bury her body in the desert.

Family members say he slid into substance abuse. He lost his apartment and moved in with his mother and her new husband for a while, but his stepfather, tired of the drunken Dieteman's failure to even get up in time to make it to work, kicked him out in 2005.

Soon Dale Hausner was letting Dieteman sleep on his couch; he even "hired" him to shoplift liquor and CDs. Hausner sold the stolen goods to his airport coworkers, and the two split the profits.

David Estrada
David Estrada
Dieteman joined the brothers in their late-night, methamphetamine-fueled drives in Dale's silver Toyota Camry. It's not clear whether this started as mere mischief, or whether the other men were aware of Dale's propensity for violence. The "Serial Shooter" killings had already begun some six months before Dieteman and the Hausners met. Dale Hausner had killed 20-year-old David Estrada in Tolleson, followed by Nathaniel Shoffner, Jose Ortiz and Marco Carillo.

Like bad-seed high school kids with too much energy and too little planning, the terrible trio drove about aimlessly, setting garbage cans on fire and shooting out car tires with a BB gun.

Jeff Hausner
Jeff Hausner
One night, they drove up to what they assumed was a prostitute. Dale Hausner asked whether she was working, and, before she could answer, shot her in the chest at close range.

In April, Jeff Hausner stabbed a man in front of his brother and Dieteman.

Dieteman would later recall that he felt pressure to mimic their acts of aggression. Questioned about the allure of this violent group bond, he said it was initially "just random, senseless destruction."

That escalated to a deadly game with simple rules: "Kill, maim and terrify."

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