Criminal Minds Wiki
Criminal Minds Wiki

Killing was, seemed to me, the thing you were supposed to do that was part of life. Driving a car was part of life. Eating food was part of life. To me, it seemed like killing was part of life, until I did it.

Paul Michael Stephani, a.k.a. "The Weepy-Voiced Killer", was an American serial killer who became known for reporting his crimes to police in a high-pitched voice.


"God damn, will you find me? I just stabbed somebody with an ice pick. I can't stop myself. I keep killing somebody."

Stephani was born on September 8, 1944 and raised in Austin, Minnesota; as one of ten children by a highly religious family. He was married to Beverly Lider and had a daughter with her. Stephani was once convicted of aggravated assault and had a history of mental illness. His serial killings began on New Year's Eve 1980, university student Karen Potack had just arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota to have a party with her sisters. Potack left the party after midnight and wandered around the city, drunk. Three hours later, police receive a call from a man wanting a squad to be sent to Pierce Butler Road, Malberg Manufacturing Company machine shop, because there was "a girl hurt there". At the location, officers find Potack's naked body in a snow bank near railroad tracks, she had beaten to the point in which her skull had cracked, despite her severe injuries, Potack survived the incident, but is still recovering from brain trauma. Months later, police once again receive a call from the same man, claiming to have stabbed somebody with an ice pick. The body of Kimberly Compton was found shortly after, near an unfinished freeway, she had been stabbed with an ice pick just as the caller had said. This event resulted in police dubbing the caller, "The Weepy-Voiced Killer". Two days later, the killer called again to say that he was sorry for what he had done to Compton.

Fourteen months later, police find the body of Barbara Simmons on a Minneapolis river, she had been stabbed to death. Two days later, the killer calls fire emergency to say that he was sorry for stabbing Simmons and claimed to have been responsible for Compton's murder. A waitress from a local bar identified Paul Stephani as the last person who had been seen with Simmons before her death. Police soon discovered that Stephani had been fired from his job at the Malberg Manufacturing plant in March 1977, three years before Potack was found murdered at that same location. Despite monitoring, Stephani went to the city's red light district, solicited a prostitute named Denise Williams and had sex with her in his apartment. Stephani offered Denise to drive her back to the district and she accepted it. However, instead of driving back to her job, Stephani took Denise to a dark and secluded road, saying that it was a shortcut. Suspicious of Stephani's behavior, Denise saw a glass bottle and planned on using it against Stephani if he tried to harm her. At the end of the road, Stephani stabbed her in the stomach, but was hit with the bottle, which caused profound wounds in his head. Denise manages to open the door but is stabbed several more times, her screams awake a man nearby, who confronts Stephani, causing him to flee.

Later, Stephani calls emergency to stop his bleeding, and his voice is recognized by the department, who quickly connects Stephani's injuries to Denise's attack. Stephani is arrested and convicted of attempted murder and charged with the murder of Barbara Simmons. During the trial, police could not link Stephani to the murders committed by the Weepy-Voiced Killer, despite Stephani's sister confirming it was indeed his voice when listening to the tapes. Years later, after being diagnosed with skin cancer, Stephani confessed to the murder of Kimberly Compton and the attempted murder of Karen Potack, plus a third victim, the unsolved drowning of Kathy Greening; investigators soon found Greening's address book, which included the name "Paul S." and a telephone number belonging to Stephani. Stephani died of cancer on June 12, 1988.

Modus Operandi

"Don't talk, just listen."

Stephani targeted women from different social backgrounds, and would lure them into his car by offering them a ride. Afterwards, Stephani would take them to a secluded location and kill them by a variety of ways during random attacks, mostly stabbing. Stephani would then call 911 and anonymously report the murder he had committed. In Greening's case, she was murdered in her own home and Stephani did not call 911 after killing her.

Known Victims

"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!"

  • December 31, 1980: Karen Potack (attempted; bludgeoned with a tire iron at least ten times)
  • June 3, 1981: Kimberly "Kim" Compton, 18 (stabbed 61 times with an icepick)
  • 1982:
    • July 21: Kathleen "Kathy" Greening, 33 (drowned in her own bathtub)
    • August 6: Barbara Simmons, 40 (stabbed 100+ times)
    • August 21: Denise Williams (attempted; stabbed several times with a screwdriver)

On Criminal Minds

  • Season Ten
    • "Fate" - While Stephani was not directly mentioned or referenced in this episode, he appears to have been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Ellen Connell - Both were killers who were married and had a daughter, had mental problems, targeted primarily victims of one gender (Stephani targeted women, while Connell killed mostly men but also women), violently stabbed them to death, deviated from this M.O. at least once (Stephani drowned one victim, while Connell accidentally killed a victim in a car crash), were remorseful and (allegedly in Stephani's case) unable to control themselves, and called 911 at least once after killing a victim. It's also interesting to note that Stephani shares his middle name with Connell's husband's first name, Michael.
  • Season Eleven
    • "Tribute" - Stephani was possibly referenced by a marker denoting to an infamous serial killer, seen on Reid's map of infamous serial killers by location, could be seen pointing to Minneapolis's approximate location, presumably as a reference to Stephani.