Since at least January 2007, Dale Hausner, a suspect in the "Serial Shooter" case, has spent his jail time studying the Bible. And according to records obtained by The Republic, he was baptized in May while in jail awaiting trial.
Hausner, 35, is suspected of killing eight people and 10 animals and wounding more than a dozen other people in a Valley-wide shooting spree in 2005 and 2006 that lasted 16 months.
His trial has just entered its fourth month in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Prosecutors have nearly finished discussing the crime scenes and have taken testimony from more than 100 witnesses, including many of the surviving shooting and stabbing victims.
In coming weeks, prosecutors will begin to present the evidence obtained by police wiretaps in the Mesa apartment shared by Hausner and co-defendant Sam Dieteman.
Dieteman, 33, previously pleaded guilty to two murders and a third attack and is expected to take the witness stand against Hausner after the winter holidays.
Hausner continues to say he is innocent.
And he has spent the two years of his incarceration taking more than 50 religious correspondence classes with titles such as "John's Gospel, Basic Bible Survey," "Old Testament" and "Teaching Ministry."
His transcripts from Prisoners of Hope Ministries, a Youngtown-based ministry that organizes religious services for prisoners and provides Bible-study material, show that he has consistently received "A" grades on his coursework.
"He's a pretty sharp cookie," said Carol Carper from Prisoners of Hope. Her husband, Jim, a pastor, visits Hausner in jail.
Because of his status as a maximum-security inmate, Hausner does not attend group worship services. Instead, the pastor comes to him. Hausner gets the study materials through the jail chaplain.
"Hausner has been a model prisoner," said Doug Matteson, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Dieteman has had three disciplinary "write-ups" for threatening detention officers, hoarding jail-issue clothing and trying to head-butt a deputy while being transported between court and the jail.