Jurors said they decided to spare Samuel Dieteman the death penalty Wednesday because his testimony helped convict the man who committed most of the crimes, The Arizona Republic reported. Dale Hausner received the death sentence for killing six people.
Between May 2005 and July 2006, eight people were shot dead in Phoenix and 17 others wounded. Ten animals were also killed and two stores burned in arson fires.
Investigators said Hausner was responsible for most of the killings. Dieteman, recruited by Hausner in February 2006, carried out the last one and was also present when Hausner committed one murder, the Republic said.
In addition to testifying against Hausner, and his brother, Jeff Hausner, who was convicted of two stabbing assaults, Dieteman pleaded guilty. Jurors only had to consider the penalty.
Dieteman was so sure he would receive a death sentence he wrote his gave his lawyer a letter Wednesday morning saying it was not her fault, the newspaper said. But he received three consecutive life sentences, two for murder and one for conspiracy, with no possibility of parole.
"He looked astonished," Eric Pyles of Mesa, who was on the jury, said of the defendant's demeanor when he learned of his sentence.