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Paul Stephani (Paul Michael Stephani)

Paul Stephani

Paul Stephani’s crimes began after dark, on New Year’s Eve 1980. He viciously beat Karen Potack with a tire iron and raped her, while she was walking home from a New Year’s party in Prescott, Wisconsin. Potack had been beaten so badly that her throat looked as if it had been slit open with a knife. She survived, with life-threatening injuries to her face, head, and throat, and is still recovering from the brain trauma that she suffered during the attack. Stephani was known as the “Weepy-Voiced Killer” for his emotional phone calls to police. The calls started after the assault on Karen Potack. Stephani called police at 3 a.m. to report the attack. In an emotional voice he asked police to hurry to some railroad tracks, then said: “There is a girl hurt there.” After stabbing Kimberly Compton on June 3, 1981, he contacted police pleading: “God damn, will you find me? I just stabbed somebody with an ice pick. I can’t stop myself. I keep killing somebody.” Two days later he called police to say he was sorry for stabbing Compton and would turn himself in, but never did. Instead, on June 6 he called to say newspaper accounts of some of the murders were inaccurate. His next call came June 11. In a whimpering, barely coherent voice he cried: “I’m sorry for what I did to Compton.” There were no calls after Greening’s death, but the “Weepy-Voice Killer” contacted police on the murder of Simons: “Please don’t talk. Listen. I’m sorry I killed that girl. I stabbed her 40 times. Kimberly Compton was the first one over in St. Paul.”

Paul Stephani picked up a 21-year-old woman named Denise Williams on August 21, 1982. He stabbed her several times with a screwdriver. During the attack, Williams was able to escape after she hit Stephani on the head with a soft drink bottle. When he returned home to his apartment, he noticed he was bleeding badly and sought medical help. The call linked him to the Williams attack. Routine investigative work later connected Stephani to the murder of Simons. During Paul Stephani’s trial in the Simons murder case, Stephani’s ex-wife, sister, and a woman who lived with him testified that they believed the hysterical caller revealing the attacks was Stephani. Those observations, alone, were not enough to identify Stephani as the Weepy-Voice Killer since the hysterical crying distorted the voice. Stephani was convicted of the Simons murder and of the attempted murder of Williams and was sentenced to 40 years. Paul Stephani died in prison in 1998 from cancer. Paul Stephani’s confession in prison almost 20 years after the first slaying allowed police to officially link the slayings and calls. He confessed to (1) beating Potack in 1980, (2) stabbing Kimberly Compton to death in 1981, (3) drowning Kathleen Greening in 1982, (4) stabbing Barbara Simons to death in 1982, and (5) stabbing Denise Williams in 1982.


  • September, 08, 1944
  • Austin, Minnesota


  • June, 12, 1998
  • Oak Park Heights, Minnesota

Cause of Death

  • skin cancer


  • Burial Details Unknown

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