Paul Michael Stephani
Paul Michael Stephani
Paul Michael Stephani
September 8, 1944
Austin, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died|| (aged 53)|
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Other names||The Weepy-Voiced Killer / Weepy-Voiced Man|
|Conviction(s)||2 counts of attempted murder|
3 counts of murder
|Criminal penalty||58 years in prison|
|Victims||Karen Potack (survived)|
Denise Williams (attempted, escaped)
Span of crimes
Paul Michael Stephani (September 8, 1944 – June 12, 1998) was an American serial killer. He was also known as the Weepy-Voiced Killer due to a series of telephone calls he made to police, anonymously reporting his crimes in a remorseful and high-pitched voice. Stephani killed three women in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area.
On December 31, 1980, Stephani beat Karen Potack in Saint Paul, Minnesota, inflicting severe wounds and brain injury. Stephani himself called police at 3 a.m. to report the attack, directing police to a location where "There is a girl hurt there."
His next victim was Kimberly Compton, an 18-year-old student from Wisconsin on June 3, 1981 in neighboring Minneapolis. After killing her, he again 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 did not. 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."
His next victim was Kathleen Greening, who was found dead at her home just outside St. Paul. Stephani later confessed to drowning her in her bathtub at her Roseville residence. His fourth victim (and last murder victim) was Barbara Simons, a 40-year-old nurse on the Minneapolis side of the Mississippi River. The two met at the Hexagon Bar, after Simons gave Stephani an extra cigarette.
After spending the night at the bar with Stephani, Simons told a waitress, "He's cute. I hope he's nice, since he's giving me a ride home." Simons was found stabbed to death the next day. There were no calls after Greening's death, but the "Weepy-Voiced Killer" contacted police after the murder of Simons: "Please don't talk, just listen... I'm sorry I killed that girl. I stabbed her 40 times. Kimberly Compton was the first one over in St. Paul."
Stephani picked up a 19-year-old sex worker named Denise Williams on August 21, 1982, in Minneapolis. Williams sensed something was wrong when Stephani began driving through a dark, suburban area, rather than returning her back to the city where he originally picked her up. After turning onto a dead-end road, he stabbed her fifteen times with a screwdriver. During the attack, Williams was able to hit Stephani on the head with a glass bottle, causing cuts to his head and face.
Her screams drew the attention of a man who lived nearby and upon seeing Stephani trying to stab Williams again began to wrestle with him, causing Stephani to flee the scene. The man was able to call for an ambulance and later help identify Stephani. However, when Stephani returned home to his apartment, he noticed he was bleeding badly and sought medical help. It was this call that confirmed Stephani was the "Weepy-Voiced Killer" and linked him to the Williams attack. Further in-depth investigative work later connected Stephani to the murder of Simons.
During 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-Voiced 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. He died in prison in 1998 from cancer.
In 1997 Stephani was diagnosed with skin cancer and had less than a year to live. He decided to confess to the murders of Kim Compton, Barbara Simons, and Kathy Greening. He had not been a suspect in the Greening death, as he had not even made a phone call to police as he had done in the other cases. In all, he confessed to (1) a beating attack 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.
The case was covered by Casefile True Crime Podcast on 16 April 2016 and in an episode ("Seeing Red") of Murder Calls on 15 January 2017. It was also covered by Murder and Such on 25th November 2018.  Stephani's crimes were then reported during episode 102 (titled "Quantum Madness and an Abundance of Icicles") of the podcast "And That's Why We Drink" on January 13, 2019. Paul Michael Stephani was also featured in an episode of the podcast Midwretched on November 5, 2020. This case was also covered in an episode ("Rough Winds & High Waters") on the podcast "My Favorite Murder" on May 23, 2019. Paul Michael Stephani and his crimes were the subject of an episode of the podcast "Killer's Crawlspace" on June 20, 2019. Australian true crime podcast Best Served Cold also covered this case in their episode released on July 17, 2020.
- Ronald Baird (2016-08-11), Weepy Voiced Killer Don't Talk Just Listen Paul Michael Stephani serial killer, retrieved 2018-01-22
- Guillen, Tomas (2002). "Serial Killer Communiques: Helpful or Hurtful". Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture. Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2002.
- Minnesota v. Stephani (Court of Appeals of Minnesota 11 June 1985). Text
- Shah, Allie (12 June 1998). "Obituary:'Weepy-voiced killer' Paul Stephani, 53, dies in prison". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 27 October 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Knapcik, Kristina M. (20 December 1997). "'Weepy-voiced Killer' confesses to 1981 death of Pepin woman". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 10 April 2013.[dead link]
- Casefile True Crime Podcast - Case 15: The Weepy Voiced Killer - 16 April 2016
- Murder Calls Season 1: Seeing Red - 15 January 2017