Stretching over that scorching, arid plain of emptiness, flanked by sand, boulders, cactus, and more than its due proportion of dead, Arizona is full of mysteries, since there are several renowned and active serial murderers from the state.
Some of these mysteries will be revealed in this list of serial killers in Arizona, revealing the horrors that lie underneath the state’s stunning natural landscapes.
1. Cory Morris
Cory Morris, the most notorious serial killer in Arizona, committed his murders in Maricopa County, Arizona, between 2002 and 2003. Morris’s “bait” was the promise of financial reward in exchange for sexual services.
Returning to his mobile home, he strangled them to death. He is also one of the uncommon necrophiliac murderers since he sexually attacks the victim before and after death.
In the month of April 2003, police detained Cory Morris. He allegedly admitted to five of the six murders for which he was arrested. Morris was found guilty of murdering six people on July 19, 2005, and was given the death penalty for his crimes.
2. William Huff
In 1967, William Huff, who called himself the Phantom Killer, murdered two young girls. William Huff, at sixteen years old, led Cindy Cleland, then seven, into the Arizona desert and sexually assaulted her. He is another notorious serial killer in Arizona.
Cleland was last seen dead and in the bare a while after that. Evisceration, disembowelment, strangling, and knife wounds were only some ways the little child was injured. A month later, William Huff contacted the police in Sierra Vista, Arizona, claiming to be “The Phantom” and that he was stalking his next victim. Janelle Haines, age 6, was found dead in the same month, too having been stripped naked and brutally attacked.
William Huff spent 48 years in jail before being transferred to a less severe house arrest term. Huff, who was 70 at the time, was returned to prison in 2019 for having a girl of eight in his apartment during a surprise parole check, despite his repeated requests for mercy from the police and the public.
3. Aaron Saucedo
From August 2015 to July 2016, Aaron Juan Saucedo (also known as the Maryvale Shooter) was active in Phoenix, Arizona, killing nine people, injuring two others, and attempting to kill or injure twelve more. After receiving over 3,300 tips from the public, the Pheonix Police Department was able to successfully apprehend Saucedo.
However, the FBI, ATF, and US Marshals Service all lent a hand in this investigation. When police finally caught Aaron Saucedo on April 22, 2016, it was the result of a team effort.
When there are so many potential witnesses, the prosecution has to be well-prepared and confident in its findings. So, the earliest possible trial date for Saucedo is in 2021.
Check out these major prisons in Arizona.
4. Charles Gary Sullivan
Charles Gary Sullivan has only been charged with one murder so far, but he is suspected of being a serial murderer. The murder of Julia Woodward in 1979 by blunt force trauma was linked to Sullivan by the police.
A check of the suspect’s computer revealed bondage porn with a strange link to the Woodward murder, leading authorities to speculate that Sullivan may be guilty of at least two further deaths.
Sullivan’s trial, which will begin in January 2021 after his arrest in Arizona in November 2019, is an ongoing development in this case.
5. Cleophis Cooksey Jr.
On December 17, 2017, Cleophis Cooksey Jr. was apprehended as a suspect in nine separate murders that had occurred over the preceding two months. Cooksey shot nine people between November 2017 and December 2017, including his mother and stepfather. He is a very famous serial killer in Arizona.
In January of 2019, Phoenix police and a prosecutor from Maricopa County arrested Cooksey in connection with the nine fatalities. However, Cooksey insists he is innocent despite the overwhelming evidence against him.
The investigation into this matter has not been completed. Police are holding Cooksey in custody until they have enough evidence to charge him. The trial date has not yet been set.
6. Robert William Fisher
As far as anybody can tell, Robert William Fisher is not only a serial killer in Arizona, a family killer. Fisher murdered his wife and two young children all at once. But since this terrible tragedy occurred in Arizona, he has to be included here.
A home exploded on April 10, 2001, in a relatively peaceful area of Scottsdale, Arizona. The phone lines flooded with calls, and the cops came shortly after. After a short time, it became clear that Mary Fisher, age 38, Brittney, age 12, and Bobby, age 10, had all been murdered.
Fisher is still wanted by the FBI and is on the current list of America’s Most Wanted. However, the police still hold out hope that Fisher is out there somewhere, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Robert William Fisher enjoys hunting, fishing, and generally living dangerously. He is thought to be armed and dangerous because of this.
Don’t forget to take a look at our list of the most dangerous cities in Arizona.
7. Pauline Robbin Burgett
Poor Pauline Robbin Burgett has been stuck on this list forever. Anyone who has heard of or researched this cold case from 1978 knows that Burgett, then sixteen years old, was the victim of a terrible crime.
The events of March 12, 1978, will be remembered forever by the Burgetts as the day their lives changed forever. On that day in Phoenix, Pauline’s mother and brother came home to discover her body. According to Fox 10 Phoenix, the DNA evidence in this case has never matched up with anybody.
There have been over 732,000 homicides in Arizona since 1975, and Pauline Robbin Burgett’s is one of them. The FBI kept track of these deaths in its database. It is thought that someone Burgett knew committed the murder, but this cannot be confirmed.
8. Samuel Little
The FBI calls Samuel Little “the most prolific serial murderer in U.S. history,” a terrifying designation. From 1970 through 2005, Little says he murdered 93 women, yet he was only formally charged with three of the murders.
Horrifyingly, the FBI has linked Little to at least three known and potential murder victims in Arizona, out of a total of fifty killings throughout the nation.
Although Samuel Little knew he was taking a huge risk by preying on prostitutes, he was confident he wouldn’t be caught. His deliberate selection of victims was made so that their disappearances would go unnoticed. Thankfully, Little was incorrect, and detectives were able to connect him to three murder victims, resulting in three life sentences.
9. Dwight Lamon Jones
Jones committed six murders over the course of three days in June 2018. Jones’ six victims were all connected to the dissolution of his marriage. However, nobody in the Phoenix region could rest certain of their own safety as long as the murders continued.
Needless to say, Phoenix was paralyzed by these three days of terror until authorities located Jones at the Extended Stay Hotel in Scottsdale. In the end, Dwight Lamon Jones shot himself in the head in his hotel room after he had fired numerous rounds at police.
Not only do serial murderers find Arizona appealing, but the whole state seems to attract them. It would seem that the FBI and other law enforcement organizations spend a great deal of time investigating homicidal crime in the desert. This may be because of the ease with which bodies can be dumped there, the large number of transients the state of Arizona draws, or just pure chance.
10. Jodi Arias
Famous Arizona serial murderer Jodi Arias was found guilty of the 2008 murder of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander and sentenced to life in prison in 2012. Alexander was found by friends in the bathtub at his Mesa, Arizona home. Some images taken at the crime site depicted a gory and violent scene that spread over many rooms. Alexander was shot in the head, stabbed many times, and had his throat slashed.
There was a lot of interest in the trial and the sentencing proceedings, which were televised all over the globe. Arias testified for herself for a total of 18 days. Evidence presented included scandalous details about Arias and Alexander’s sexual lives, as well as assertions by Arias that the couple’s relationship had become physically and emotionally violent. Arias’s designated lawyer claimed in court that his client was justified in killing Alexander.
After a 15-hour trial, a jury convicted Arias of first-degree murder on May 7, 2012. Judge Sherry Stephens handed down the death sentence to Arias after two previous sentencing hearings resulted in mistrials.
How do you feel about going to Arizona now that you realize this? Are you put off by the proof and not curious to hear the remainder of the tales?