By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
“He knows a lot about everything,” says Browns, who says he paid Hausmann $125 to $150 per vehicle. “He is absolutely the smartest person I've met. It takes him nine minutes to do theNew York Timescrossword puzzle. You have to be crafty to repossess cars. He was very good at his job. He never had any money. If he made $500 a day, he would spend $550.”
Hausmann says that after graduating from Santa Rosa High School, he attended San Francisco State University for two years before he transferred to the University of Southern California in 1959 to study psychology. However, USC found no records that Hausmann ever attended the university. Nor did San Francisco State, though university officials said their records are incomplete.
At the age of 19, Hausmann says, he married his first wife, a 15-year-old girl who looked like the actress Tuesday Weld. Twenty years later, in 1979, Hausmann was arrested in Fresno for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, but the case was dismissed when he later married the girl. He also claims to have ridden with the Hell’s Angels for eight years, but he dropped out because “they used to talk trash about my black women.” Instead, he and a bunch of friends started the L.A. Deuces, a black motorcycle club that formed in the early ’70s, he says.
Over the years, Hausmann says that he has sold dope and worked as a pimp in Fresno and L.A. His L.A. hangout, he claims, was a now-defunct restaurant at Florence Avenue and Figueroa Street. His stable of girls worked out of bars and hotels along the Miracle Mile and in Beverly Hills. From 1960 to 1995, he sold cocaine out of a “rock house” on 19th Street in L.A., he says.
He also said he sold drugs in Fresno until he was baptized into the full-gospel Christian faith in 1995, which inspired his “flushing down the toilet of two kilos of cocaine, still in the Medellin Cartel wrappers.” That is when he says he went clean.
According to Steinhoff’s affidavit, Hausmann’s arrest record goes back decades. In 1976, he was arrested in Lynwood on suspicion of lewd acts against a child; in 1982, in Bakersfield, enticing a minor female for prostitution and pimping; in 1985, in Los Angeles, assault with a deadly weapon; in 1995, assault with a firearm. Between 1985 and 2003, arrest records show that Hausmann often traveled between Fresno and Los Angeles.
Between 1968 and 1982, Hausmann was arrested on seven weapons charges. In 1968, 1972 and 1979 for carrying a concealed weapon; in 1971 and 1976 for exhibiting a deadly weapon/firearm; in 1981 and 1982 for carrying a loaded firearm. The affidavit does not state how the cases were resolved.
Hausmann claims that over the years he has been beaten by the Fresno police, and that the police are out to get him because he stopped supplying the force with drugs in the early ’90s. He also says that the police don’t like the fact that he likes African-American women and that he was regularly called a “nigger-lover Jew-boy slave” by a local cop.
In May 2003, he says that he was turned upside down by a police officer and dropped on his head on the sidewalk when he was legally trying to repossess a pickup truck. He has also accused the police of failing to come to his aid when he was robbed and hit on the head with a large kitchen pot. He said he went to the police station and was “laughed at by service personnel who were on their break.”
That same year, he wrote to a Fresno judge that he was a “perennial victim” and the “butt of many jokes” by the Fresno Police Department.
“These people in this county have lied consistently ever since I walked out of here in 1993,” he says. “At times I have had traffic tickets, and I was guilty. I haven’t done anything else.”
Hausmann’s court-appointed private investigator, Rick Barclay, puts it this way: “He is a little bit eccentric, but he is sharp. He certainly thinks the police here are after him. I just think they have more pressing things to deal with than Roger. I suppose if the cops had the goods on him, they would have done more than they did. I would hope they would have something better to do than carry on a 20-year vendetta against someone.”
he LAPD's cold-case unit, formed in late 2001 to investigate more than 9,000 unsolved killings, is on the fifth floor of Parker Center. One supervisor and six detectives work in the room, surrounded by thousands of files, some as thick as phone books. One shelf among the many contains eight blue binders — named for the six women and one pimp killed by gunshots along with the lone strangulation victim who have been linked by DNA and ballistics tests. These are the cases that matched up with Princess Berthomieux, the 14-year-old prostitute, and prompted Steinhoff to seek a DNA sample from Hausmann.
Adding to the intrigue is the span of time they represent, from the first one in 1985 to the most recent in 2003, and how it’s possible that the killer could have gone undetected for 18 years.