Baseline Killer lawsuit: Suit on behalf of victims' families claims Mark Goudeau's DNA sat untested

PHOENIX - For 11 months, Mark Goudeau terrorized the Valley in a string of crimes that included murders, rapes and robberies, and now, new claims are coming to light that may prove his crime spree could have ended much earlier.

The "Baseline Killer" would leave a trail of fear as the Phoenix Police Department assembled a large task force, offered a massive reward and issued public service announcements to ease concerns from the public.

In all, more than a dozen people were sexually assaulted and nine murdered between August 2005 and June 2006.

Mark Goudeau was arrested on his 42nd birthday in September 2006 at his central Phoenix home.

Eventually Goudeau was convicted on the charges and sent to death row.

While Goudeau prepares an appeal, a Chandler attorney has revised a massive lawsuit against the City of Phoenix regarding Goudeau's crime spree.

Marc Victor filed the revised lawsuit in September to include five family members whose loved ones were killed by Goudeau.

Victor claims eight of Goudeau's nine murders could have been prevented had DNA recovered from a double sexual assault on September 20, 2005 been tested sooner.

"This really could have, and should have, and very easily could have been prevented," Victor said.

Victor said two swabs were taken from the sexual assault victim, but only one was tested shortly after the incident at a south Phoenix park.

In previous court hearings, Goudeau's DNA was found on the victim's breast.

"They take the right breast swab and they order those for testing at the Phoenix crime lab, the left breast swabs are not sent for testing, they're put in a freezer," Victor described.

According to the lawsuit, Victor claims several months, along with eight murders and other sex assaults and robberies, went by as the DNA sat idle in an evidence room.

"Think about it, there were actually eight people murdered during that time frame that would not have been murdered had Mark Goudeau simply been taken into custody," Victor said.

Goudeau's DNA was already in the criminal system computer from a 1991 robbery and kidnapping conviction.

"Eleven months went by and all they had to do was a short little test that my DNA expert tells me would take one person two or three hours to test the left breast swab they would've gotten the same match 11 months earlier that DPS (crime lab) got prior to all these homicides, and think, these are just the homicides," Victor said.

The Chandler attorney told us he's asking for a May trial date and said he plans to have several Phoenix detectives on his witness list.

"I think what happened here is really beyond dispute," said Victor. "I do have a detective who was very involved in the Baseline Killer investigation who is going to be on our witness list."

ABC15 contacted the Phoenix Police Department for comment or reaction to the lawsuit and claims by Victor, but a police department spokesperson was unable to comment, citing the pending litigation. It is standard procedure for the Phoenix Police Department to not comment on lawsuits.

One of Victor's clients, Alvin Hogue , told ABC15 no matter the outcome, he just wants to know if someone dropped the ball.

"If there's something the crime lab did or did not do depending how you look at it that caused my wife's death where it could have been prevented, I think that needs to be brought to light," Hogue said.

Hogue's wife, Romelia Vargas was found shot to death with another woman, Mirna Palma Roman, in their mobile lunch truck.

The two women were shot in the head while parked on the corner of 91st Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road on February 20, 2006.

"She never even got to go to the hospital, so she didn't even have a chance," said Hogue while thinking about that day.  "I don't even think I cried at that moment, I was in shock, I couldn't believe my wife was murdered and I wanted to approach her lunch truck but everything was blocked off and everyone stopped me."

Hogue and Vargas had 4-month-old twin boys at the time of her murder.

"We decided to have one and God blessed us with twins, what can I say, I was happy," said Hogue with a smile on his face. "They're my life, my boys give me my inspiration everyday and they give me a lot of drive."

Victor says his clients like Alvin Hogue and the four other families have similar stories.

"I don't see him (Hogue) as a client, I see him as a friend," said Victor. "We've got a lot of little kids who are absolutely entitled to compensation because their moms are now dead."

Hogue says he often talks about Romelia to his children, but approaches the topic carefully.

"I was the one left with the task to tell those kids that their mother was dead and I couldn't do it, I couldn't do it for a while," Hogue remembered. "I do tell them about their mom, I try not to bring it up on a daily basis."

Victor claims an initial meeting with the attorneys for the City of Phoenix didn't go well.

"I want to do my duty to make sure this doesn't happen in our community again."

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