It was New Years Eve of 1980 in Prescott, Wisconsin and emergency services in the area would receive their first of several frantic phone calls from a man making equally frantic claims. Unfortunately these were not horrible pranks, they were always true and these odd calls would trickle in throughout the coming months. On this night however, the man with the high and frantic voice called 9-1-1 to report an incident at 3 in the morning. The man told the operator where the victim was located and they were hurt. Law enforcement would arrive to a shocking site. A 20 year-old woman lay near the train tracks beaten with a tire iron and suffering from stab wounds. Thankfully she would survive her horrific attack.
Six months later, operators would receive their second strange phone call from the high pitched man. On June 3rd, 1981 the stranger would stab the young Kimberly Compton (18) over 60 times with an ice pick in the capitol city of St. Paul, Minnesota. He would make several calls to operators and newspapers to correct details about the case. Despite all of the contact, authorities were left with every little to work on.
Another call would not be made for more then a year when the stranger again decides to strike, this time in the city of Roseville, Minnesota. On July 21st, 1982 Kathleen Greening (33) would be found, drowned in her apartment using her own bath tub. Shortly after Greenings murder on August 6th, his next victim would be attacked in Minneapolis. Barbara Simons (40) would be found dumped near a river after having drinks at a bar. Simmons met a stranger while drinking and expressed interest in him stating the following: "He's cute, I hope he's nice, since he's giving me a ride home." Simons astonishingly had over 100 stab wounds to her body. Who ever this stranger was, he had a hatred within him, and a strange urge to continuously attack innocent women. He would later call authorities expressing regret, apologizing through tearful, unintelligible words. However that could have just as easily been an act, never truly feeling remorse for his victims.
2 weeks later the stranger would attempt another brutal attack. He gave Denise Williams (21) a ride and shortly after the ride, she thought the man was trying to pull a fast one on her. She noted he was taking a strange route, and definitely not the route she told him. Her senses were right, before she knew it the stranger was attacking her, stabbing her multiple times with a screwdriver. Denise received a burst of adrenaline and was able to break a glass bottle over the stranger's head and escape. The stranger was hurt so badly that he had no choice but to go to a hospital. Once their it became clear that he was involved with the attack on Williams and he was arrested soon after. He would be identified as Paul Michael Stephani and would also be linked to the previous murder of Simons as well. Stephani’s first 2 murders would go unsolved for many years.
The killer with the frantic voice was put on trial and sentenced to 40 years for the attack on Williams and the murder of Simons. While incarcerated he contracted skin cancer and decided to reveal the details of his other crimes. He allegedly wanted to give closure to families and admitted to 3 unsolved crimes; the first attack where his victim survived and to the murders of Compton and Greening. He would die soon after his confession.
The following are transcriptions of his calls:
“Don’t talk just listen. I’m sorry for what I did to Compton I couldn’t help it. I don’t know why I had to stab her. I am so upset about it. I keep getting drunk every day, but i can’t believe i did it its like a big dream….I can’t think of being locked up, if I get locked up I’ll kill myself, I’d rather kill myself then get locked up. I’ll try not to kill anyone else.”
“Please don’t talk just listen. I'm sorry I killed that girl. I stabbed her forty times. Kimberly Compton was the first one over in St. Paul. I don't know what's the matter with me. I'm sick. I'm going to kill myself, i think. I'm just going to... If somebody dies with a red shirt on it's me. I've killed more people... I'll never make it to heaven!"
"God damn, will you find me? I just stabbed somebody with an ice pick. I can't stop myself. I keep killing somebody."