Telling Their Story

Serial Killer Paul Rhoades

Telling Their Story

Emili Currey, Editor In Chief 2020-2021

Paul Ezra Rhoades was born in Idaho Falls on January 18, 1957 and was one of four kids born to August and Pauline Rhoades. Just like most serial killers he went through a very rough childhood that consisted of drug abuse, domestic violence, and alcoholism. At a very young age he had been fully paralyzed by polio and had undergone surgery after surgery, sometimes having to travel all the way to Salt Lake City. Sometimes having to travel all by himself while his mother went back home to take care of her other children. While the doctors tried to help him by casting his leg and sending him home, his leg began to rot and smell. He then returned to Salt Lake for more surgeries, lasting up until he was around 12 years old, the doctors were unable to help with his leg and left him with a limp and mild pain the rest of his life. 

Violence was a routine occurrence around the house , his father and his mother would fight daily. Paul experienced many alcoholic tendencies being around his father. To try and get away from that part of his life he would hang out with his Grandmother and uncle although he felt safer there they were just as bad. They taught him to drink and take recreational drugs around age 10. Many of his family members have either committed or attempted suicide, they have had their lives taken by drugs or are serving time in prison for different violence offenses. 

Rhoades dropped out of highschool at 16 and got a job working with his uncle. He would work during the day and would babysit the kids in the family so their mothers could work night shifts at a restaurant. A Lot of this changed when he became very addicted to methamphetamine, his friends and family didn’t recognise him. Before the drugs he had never had a violent crime on his record, or even thought to be a violent or angry person. Rhoades had lost himself in this new drug.

He began his spree on February 28, 1987 when he kidnapped Stacy Baldwin from her workplace in Blackfoot. Rhoades took her to a very private and concealed place and shot her 3 times, and then left her there to die. Stacy was 21 years old  just married and found a few miles outside of town. 

Rhoades’ second victim was Nolan Haddon, he was shot five times and suffered a severed spinal cord while working in a convenience store on March 17, 1987. Rhoades changes his MO and doesn’t transfer Nolan to a secluded area, maybe there was an altercation and this wasn’t as planned as Stacy’s murder. Nolan was 23 years old and found in the store’s walk-in freezer. He laid there overnight fighting for his life before he was found, he died at Idaho Regional Medical Center not long after he arrived. 

Paul Rhoades was shortening the time between murders, his next murder happened on March 19, 1987. Susan Michelbacher was a 34 year old special education teacher who was abducted at 7am while getting groceries. She was taken to a bank where she was forced to take out $2000. Susan was found in a field a few miles outside of Idaho Falls on March 21, 1987. She had been raped and shot nine times. 

These three muderes put him behind bars and have him the death penalty, but there are three other victims he was not charged for. Christine Gallegos (16), Carla Maxwell (20) , and Lisa Strong (25). He shot all of his victims and he operated on a wide scale from Idaho Falls to Utah. After his last three murders, Stacy Baldwin, Nolan Haddon, and Susan Michelbacher, he crashed his mothers car in Nevada. WHen police arrived at the scene they found the gun and bullets in the car. This connected him to the three murders, the police found him in a nearby casino. On March 24, 1988 Paul Exra Rhoades was sentences to death for the murder of susan Michelbacher and Stacy Baldwins case was added onto this sentence on May 13. 

The case was confirmed and a habeas Corpus case was denied and Paul Ezra Rhoades was executed by lethal injection on November 18, 2011, he was pronounced dead at 9;15 am in the Idaho Maximum Security Institution. His very last words consisted of him apologizing for one of the murders, saying goodbye to his mother and forgiving the state officials for his death.