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Updated Jul 11, 2013 - 7:03 pm

Death of Arizona serial killer ruled a suicide

FLORENCE, Ariz. — The death of a convicted Arizona serial killer whose
body was discovered last month in an isolation cell was ruled a suicide Thursday
by a medical examiner who said the gunman who once terrorized Phoenix had
overdosed on antidepressants.

Dale Hausner, 40, was found guilty in a series of random shootings on
pedestrians, bicyclists and animals. The former airport janitor was given six
death sentences and hundreds of years in prison for killing six people and
attacking 19 others in 2005 and 2006.

Hausner was found unresponsive June 19 in his cell at the Eyman state prison
complex in Florence. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at a hospital in
Anthem, according to Arizona Department of Corrections officials.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Gregory Hess, of the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s
Office, said the cause of death was “amitriptyline intoxication.”
Amitriptyline is one of a variety of antidepressant medications.

Prison officials said it wasn’t immediately clear how Hausner obtained the
antidepressants. DOC officials said the department was conducting a complete
investigation into the circumstances of Hausner’s death and the autopsy report
was part of that probe.

Hausner always denied any involvement in the attacks and suggested his former
roommate might have carried out some of the crimes.

Hausner was arrested in August 2006 with his roommate Sam Dieteman at the
apartment they shared in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa. Inside, police found guns,
news clippings of the killings and a city map marked with the locations of some
of the shootings.

Dieteman, who pleaded guilty in two of the killings and was sentenced to life
in prison, testified against Hausner, saying they cruised around late at night
looking for strangers to shoot.

The “serial shooter” attacks and an unrelated serial killer case kept
neighborhood watch groups on high alert in the summer of 2006. Families stayed
inside and authorities called meetings that drew hundreds of people.

Police said their big break came when one of Dieteman’s drinking buddies called
police to say Dieteman had bragged about shooting people.

Even though Hausner had denied any involvement, he took an odd turn during the
penalty phase of his trial when he apologized to the families of every victim.

Since his convictions, Hausner had asked that he be executed quickly.

County authorities have said that while he was awaiting trial, Hausner tried to
kill himself with an overdose of cold tablets.

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