The 48th state to join the Union, Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. This southwest state is known for its desert climate and its breath-taking terrain, but Arizona is also renowned for some of America’s most infamous criminals, including Corey Deon Morris, a serial killer who murdered several women in Phoenix, keeping their corpses in his home to have sex with their decomposing bodies, and Dale Hausner, a murderer who terrorized the capital city by shooting eight men and women to death and wounding many others. When he was only 17, Dennis Manaford Whitney robbed and murdered multiple men in Phoenix and Tucson before making his way to Florida to continue his crimes, while Mark Goudeau preyed upon women and girls in Arizona’s capital, making him one of Phoenix’s most notorious serial killers.
James Marlow and Cynthia Coffman, a husband and wife duo, abducted and murdered a woman from Bullhead, Arizona, before going on to kill several other women in California, while Willie Steelman and Douglas Gretzler, a pair of friends who committed crimes together, murdered a total of 17 people in Arizona and California before they were finally apprehended. Many of Robert Wayne Danielson’s victims were campers who were exploring the natural wonders of Arizona when they had the misfortune of making his acquaintance, while John Martini shot a man and a woman to death in Phoenix — with the help of his girlfriend — before heading to Philadelphia where he finished his reign of terror. Randy Greenawalt was given life in prison for killing two men in Arizona, but he managed to escape from police custody, enabling him to end the lives of several more people before he was finally recaptured and executed for his senseless crimes.
Corey Deon Morris
From September 2002 to April 2003, Corey Deon Morris murdered several women he had convinced to come to his motor home in Phoenix, Arizona, after offering them money and drugs for sex. Morris — who was born on May 10, 1978 — strangled the women to death during sex, and he also engaged in necrophilia with many of his victims’ lifeless bodies. After ending their lives, Morris discarded most of the women’s corpses in an alley near his home, and law enforcement initially blamed their deaths on drug overdoses, even though some of the women were nude when their bodies were discovered. This Arizona serial killer’s crimes were uncovered on April 12, 2003, when Morris’s uncle went inside the motor home — which was on his property — to investigate a foul odor and found the badly decomposed body of Julie Castillo hidden underneath a blanket.
Morris’s uncle promptly contacted law enforcement, and the authorities determined Castillo had been dead for several days, having been strangled to death with a necktie. Despite the state of the woman’s body and the maggots that had taken over the motor home, this Arizona serial killer had repeatedly had sex with Castillo’s corpse after killing her. Following his arrest, Morris confessed to murdering Barbara Codman, Shanteria Davis, Jade Velasquez, Sharon Noah, and Julie Castillo, and he was sentenced to death on July 19, 2005. This convicted serial killer is considered a suspect in the murders of several other women in Arizona and his home state of Oklahoma; Morris is currently in Eyman State Prison in Florence, Arizona, awaiting execution.
From May 2005 to July 2006, Dale Hausner murdered eight people in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, by randomly firing at cyclists and pedestrians with a small caliber weapon. In addition to ending the lives of eight men and women, Hausner seriously injured 19 other people and killed several dogs and horses, causing the media to dub him the “Serial Shooter.” On July 30, 2006, this Arizona serial killer murdered his final victim, 22-year-old Robin Blasnek, when he shot the young woman to death as she was walking to a friend’s home in Mesa, Arizona.
Hausner — who was born on February 4, 1973 — and his roommate, Samuel Dieteman, were arrested on August 3, 2006, at their apartment in Mesa, Arizona, after law enforcement received a tip from one Dieteman’s friends who said he had been bragging about killing people. Dieteman pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, and he was a given life in prison for his role in the crimes, while Hausner was convicted of six murders and received multiple death sentences on March 27, 2009. While Hausner has never offered an explanation for the killings, during his sentencing hearing he compared himself to Charles Manson, indicating he may have been motivated by a desire for fame. Approximately four years after he was given the death penalty, the Serial Shooter was found dead in his cell at the Eyman State Prison on June 19, 2013. An autopsy determined Hausner had ended his life by taking an overdose of anti-depressants; he was 40 years old.
Dennis Manaford Whitney
Dennis Manaford Whitney murdered his first victim, Jim Ryan, a gas station attendant in his home town of Victorville, California, on February 12, 1960, when he was just 17 years old. After robbing Ryan of $30 and shooting him to death with a stolen pistol, Whitney traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, where on February 21, 1960, he murdered Spencer Frazier, a 36-year-old unemployed truck driver, in his motel room. Then, he used Frazier’s car to drive to Tucson, Arizona, where he killed Glen Smith, a 28-year-old gas station attendant, after robbing the young man of $104. The following day, Whitney — who had traveled back to Phoenix — killed Ira Lee Hardison, a 55-year-old transient man. After murdering his third victim in Arizona, Whitney fled the state, hitchhiking across the country until he wound up in Miami, Florida, where he killed two gas station attendants on February 29, 1960, ending the lives of Ken Mezzarano, 21, and Arthur Keeler, 53.
On March 3, 1960 this serial killer shot another gas station attendant, Jack Beecher, four times, but the man not only survived the attack, he provided law enforcement with a description of Whitney. The following day, the teenage killer kidnapped Virginia Selby, 62, from the parking lot of a department store in Hialeah, Florida, and he drove her to northern Palm Beach County where he bludgeoned the housewife with a hammer before shooting her to death. However, police managed to track him to Jupiter, Florida, where he was arrested on March 5, 1960. Whitney confessed to the killings and was given the death penalty on June 30, 1960, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972. This convicted serial killer spent more than four decades behind bars in Florida before he passed away in prison in 2005. Whitney was approximately 62 years old.
James Marlow & Cynthia Coffman
After he got out of jail in 1985, James Marlow — who called himself the “Folsom Wolf” as an ode to the infamous California prison — started dating his former cellmate’s girlfriend, Cynthia Coffman, and the pair promptly began a life of crime together that ended with one man and four women dead. According to Marlow, he and Coffman were hired to kill their first victim, 28-year-old Gregory Hill, and he said he accidentally shot the young man to death on July 7, 1986, near Hill’s home in Kentucky when they were struggling over the gun. Shortly after killing Hill, the couple got married, and the newlyweds headed west to California where they strangled Sandra Neary, 32, to death on October 11, 1986, in Costa Mesa. Less than three weeks later on October 28, 1986, Marlow and Coffman abducted and murdered Pamela Simmons, 35, from Bullhead, Arizona, before returning to California to kill two more women, Corinna Novis, 20, and Lynel Murray, 19.
Their crime spree — which included murdering, sexually assaulting, and robbing their victims — finally came to end when investigators found Corinna Novis’s driver’s license and checkbook in a bag with documents bearing Marlow and Coffman’s names in a dumpster in Laguna Niguel. Also, the manager at a motel in San Bernadino contacted law enforcement after they found a paper in the couple’s room that the husband and wife had been using to practice the signature of their final known victim, Lynel Murray. The killer couple was arrested on November 14, 1986, at a lodge in Big Bear, California. Marlow and Coffman quickly turned on one another, each blaming the other for the murders, and they were eventually both sentenced to death for their crimes. Marlow — who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in May 1956 — and Coffman — who was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 19, 1962 — are currently on death row in California awaiting execution.
Robert Wayne Danielson, Jr.
Shortly after he was released from jail, having served 11 years in prison for manslaughter, Robert Wayne Danielson, Jr., murdered Harold Pratt, 60, and his wife Betty, 55, while they were camping in the Arizona desert on December 10, 1981, robbing them of their cash and valuables before shooting them to death execution-style. A few months later on March 22, 1982, Danielson attempted to kill Edwin and Ida Davis, both 64, in El Cajon, California, by injecting the elderly husband and wife with horse tranquilizers and leaving them to die. However, Mr. and Mrs. Davis were discovered and received medical attention, allowing them to later identify Danielson from his mugshot, but the convicted killer had already left the state.
Approximately three months later, Danielson killed Arthur Gray, Jr., 62, at a campground near Eugene, Oregon, on June 25, 1982. The following month, Danielson murdered Benjamin and Edith Shaffer in Mendocino County, California, and in November 1982, this serial killer shot Ernest Corral, 38, to death near Apache Junction, Arizona. After an all-points bulletin was issued for his arrest, Danielson was apprehended on April 7, 1984, in Odessa, Texas, where he was working with a traveling carnival. During his trial in California, Danielson’s mother, Mary Ann Bishop, tried to give him a loaded gun, earning her three years in prison for efforts. Danielson was convicted of multiple counts of murder, and on November 13, 1986, he was given the death penalty for killing the Shaffers in California. However, while this serial killer was in San Quentin State Prison awaiting execution, he hanged himself with a tube sock in his cell on September 7, 1995. Danielson was 49 years old.
On August 6, 2005, Mark Goudeau — who was born on September 6, 1964 — sexually assaulted two girls behind a church near Baseline Road in his home town of Phoenix, Arizona. Goudeau sexually assaulted and robbed several more victims in the area until December 12, 2005, when he murdered 39-year-old Tina Washington by shooting her in the head behind a restaurant. Less than three months later, Goudeau killed Romelia Vargas, 38, and Mirna Palma-Roman, 34, on February 20, 2006, inside the lunch truck the two women operated in Phoenix, and the following month, this Arizona serial killer murdered Liliana Sanchez Cabrera, 20, and her coworker, Chao Chou, shooting them to death while they were driving home from the restaurant where they were both employed.
Goudeau — who was dubbed the “Baseline Killer” by the media because he killed his earlier victims near the major road — murdered two more women, Kristin Nicole Gibbons, 26, and Carmen Miranda, 37. However, in August 2006, he became a suspect in the killings when his parole officer noticed a resemblance between Goudeau and a composite sketch that was created with the help of one of this Arizona serial killer’s surviving victims. When law enforcement searched the home Goudeau shared with his wife, they found evidence tying him to the murders, and he was arrested on September 4, 2006, after the authorities linked his DNA to the two sexual assaults in September 2005. On October 31, 2011, the Baseline Killer was convicted of 67 charges, including nine counts of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to death for his crimes. Goudeau is currently on death row in Arizona awaiting execution.
Willie Steelman & Douglas Gretzler
Between October 17, 1973, and November 6, 1973, Willie Steelman and Douglas Gretzler murdered 17 people, killing men, women, and children in Arizona and California by stabbing, shooting, and garotting them to death. While traveling to Arizona from California, Gretzler and Steelman picked up Steve Loughren, a hitchhiker, who they murdered near the Superstition Mountains before visiting their friends, Bob Robbins and Yafah Hacohen, at their home in Phoenix, killing them both on October 25, 1973. Eight days later on November 2, 1973, the pair murdered Gilbert Sierra, a hitchhiker they’d picked up in Tucson, and the following day, they broke into the home of Michael Sandberg and his wife Patricia, shooting the young couple to death after tying them up and robbing them.
After murdering the Sandbergs in their Tucson condo, Gretzler and Steelman stole the couple’s car and drove to Lodi, California, where on November 6, 1973, they broke into the home of Walter Parkin — a grocery store owner — and his family. The pair forced the grocer to give them thousands of dollars from his store’s safe before they murdered Parkin and eight other members of his family, including an 11-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy. Investigators quickly connected the two men — who had left a trail of victims in their wake — with the Parkin murders, and they were arrested in Sacramento, California, on November 8, 1973, when a hotel employee recognized Gretzler and Steelman from a newspaper story about the brutal killings. This deadly duo was convicted of multiple counts of murder, and they were sentenced to death for murdering the Sandbergs in Arizona. However, Steelman died of liver disease on August 7, 1986, at the age of 41 while awaiting execution. Gretzler was executed by lethal injection on June 4, 1998, at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence. This Arizona serial killer was 47 years old at the time of his death.
John Martini, Sr.
Born in the Bronx, New York, on July 30, 1930, John Martini, Sr., and his girlfriend Theresa Afdahl murdered Teresa Marie Dempster, 27, and David Richard Uhl, 42, both of Phoenix, Arizona, by shooting them to death. Their bodies were discovered in a car in the parking lot of a Glendale shopping center on November 8, 1988, shortly after they were murdered. Martini — who had been living in Glendale at the time of the killings — fled to New Jersey where he abducted an old acquaintance, Irving Flax, on January 23, 1989, just after the 58-year-old businessman left his home in Fair Lawn to head to work at a warehouse in Secaucus. After kidnapping the middle-aged man, Martini called Flax’s wife, ordering her to pay a ransom demand in exchange for the safe return of her husband. Mrs. Flax contacted law enforcement and — with the help of the FBI — she delivered the money to Martini at a restaurant in Paramus, New Jersey. However, Martini didn’t let Flax go; he was found dead the following morning in his vehicle in the parking lot of a Paramus mall, killed by three gunshot wounds to the back of his head.
After Flax’s body was discovered, investigators linked his killing to the murders Martini and his girlfriend had committed months earlier in Phoenix, Arizona, and the pair was arrested on January 25, 1989, as they were trying to leave a hotel in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Martini was convicted of Flax’s murder, and he was given the death penalty in New Jersey on December 12, 1990. This convicted killer pleaded guilty to shooting Dempster and Uhl to death in Arizona, and he was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the murders. While he was behind bars, investigators linked him to an unsolved murder: in November 1997, Martini was convicted of killing Anna Mary Duvall, 62, in Philadelphia two decades earlier in 1977. This serial killer shot Duvall in the head after she traveled from Arizona to Pennsylvania to confront him about a fraudulent real estate deal. However, while Martini was in the New Jersey State Prison awaiting execution, he died of natural causes on September 10, 2009, at the age of 79.
In July 1974, Randy Greenawalt and his brother James were sentenced to life in prison after they pleaded guilty to murdering Stanley Sandage, 40, on January 15, 1974, while the trucker was asleep in his vehicle at a rest stop near Flagstaff, Arizona, and killing truck driver Henry Weber, 42, on January 12, 1973, in Mississippi County, Arizona. However, just four years after Randy Greenawalt was sentenced to life in prison, he and a fellow inmate — Gary Tison — escaped from Arizona State Prison on July 30, 1978, with the aid of Tison’s three sons. The following evening, Greenawalt and his accomplices murdered John Lyons, 25; his wife Donnelda, 23; their 2-year-old son, Chris; and their 15-year-old niece, Theresa Tyson, when the family stopped to help the escaped convicts with a flat tire near Quartzsite, Arizona.
After killing the man, woman, and two children, Greenawalt — who was born on February 24, 1949 — and his accomplices stole the family’s car and crossed into Colorado where they killed James Judge, 26, and his new wife, Margene, 23, while the couple was on their honeymoon in Pagosa Springs. The Judges were shot to death at some point in July 1978, but their bodies weren’t discovered until several months later in November 1978. This Arizona serial killer was finally arrested on August 11, 1978, after Greenawalt and his accomplices tried to run a roadblock in Pinal County, Arizona, while driving the vehicle they’d stolen from the Judges. Gary Tison managed to escape into the desert where he was found dead days later, while Tison’s son Donnie was killed during the shootout with police. Greenawalt was sentenced to death for his crimes, and he was executed by lethal injection in Arizona on January 23, 1997. This Arizona serial killer was 47 at the time of his death.
Test Your Knowledge About The Most Alarming & Awful Arizona Serial Killers!
How did serial killer Dale Hausner die?
Dale Hausner was found dead in his cell at the Eyman State Prison on June 19, 2013. An autopsy determined Hausner had ended his life by taking an overdose of anti-depressants; he was 40 years old.
What nickname did the press give to Mark Goudeau?
Mark Goudeau was dubbed the "Baseline Killer" by the media because he killed his earlier victims near Baseline Road in Phoenix, Arizona.
Who was James Marlow's accomplice?
James Marlow committed his crimes with his wife, Cynthia Coffman.
Who helped Randy Greenawalt escape from prison?
Randy Greenawalt and a fellow inmate -- Gary Tison -- escaped from Arizona State Prison on July 30, 1978, with the aid of Tison's three sons.
How were Corey Deon Morris's crimes uncovered?
Corey Deon Morris's crimes were uncovered on April 12, 2003, when Morris's uncle -- investigating a foul odor -- went inside the motor home -- which was on his property -- and found the badly decomposed body of Julie Castillo hidden underneath a blanket.
Test Your Knowledge About The Most Alarming & Awful Arizona Serial Killers!
Show Comments (1)