In my never-ending search for acts of depravity I happened across an interview with serial killer Paul Runge. Runge was sentenced to death on June 5, 2006 after being found guilty in February of repeatedly raping and cutting the throats of Yolanda Gutierrez, 35, and her daughter, Jessica Muniz. The sexual sadist also confessed to the rape and murders of 5 other women throughout DuPage & Cook counties. During the conversation, Runge told the interviewer, “Not everyone convicted of accused of committing monstrous acts, is a monster.”
I know that I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but if I’m not mistaken, those that, let’s say play football, earn the title of football players, right? People that cook are still considered cooks, or has that changed? The asinine statement made by this predator would definitely not go over well with the families of these women: Yolanda Gutierrez, Jessica Muniz, Stacy Frobel, Dzeneta Pasanbegovic, Amela Pasanbegovic, Dorota Dziubak, Kazimiera Paruch. These are the victims that fell prey to the evil that Paul Runge terrorized the Chicagoland area with from 1995 through 1997.
For those that are unfamiliar with Paul Frederick Runge, let me enlighten you to his personal brand of darkness. In August 1987, a 17 year old Runge manipulated a schoolmate into a private meeting near a horse stable not far from his home in the Chicago suburb of Oak Forest. Under the pretense that she would be helping Runge to hide marijuana, the young lady accompanied Paul to his home where she was punched in the face and raped. During her period of captivity Runge’s girlfriend called him requesting a ride to work. Paul proceeded to stuff the heavily constrained girl into a sleeping bag and left. After being held captive for 15 hours the girl; while handcuffed, bound, gagged and covered with knife wounds hopped out into traffic and was taken to safety by a passing motorist.
In 1988, Runge was prosecuted in Cook County Circuit Court, found guilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Paroled in 1994, Runge moved to suburban Carol Stream Illinois with his fiancée Charlene. In 1997 Paul was returned to prison on a parole violation. During his period of freedom, Paul Runge took the lives of 7 people and changed the lives of countless family members and friends forever.
In early January of 1995, Stacey Frobel, a 25 year old friend of Charlene came by for a visit. After hours of socializing and cocktails Stacey was persuaded to stay over instead of driving home intoxicated. Sometime during the night Stacey was assaulted by Runge who struck the woman in the head with a dumbbell. He then carried Stacey’s bloody body into another bedroom, laid her down on a sheet of plastic and raped the unconscious woman. The following morning, Runge used a saw to dismember her body in a bathtub.
As parts of Frobel’s body surfaced in Northern Illinois & Southern Wisconsin, Paul and Charlene were investigated as they were the last people to see Stacey Frobel alive. The couple swore adamantly that Stacey had left the night before and were oblivious to her demise.
In July 1995, sisters Dzeneta Pasanbegovic, 22, and Amela Pasanbegovic 20, two Bosnian immigrants that answered an ad for house cleaners needed. They arrived at the Glendale Heights home of Paul & Charlene Runge, (who were now married) and unfortunately met their end. Once inside, the two women were handcuffed, raped and eventually dismembered. Runge placed their body parts into large plastic bags and discarded them in garbage containers throughout the city.
Dorota Dziubak, 30 and Kazimiera Paruch, 43, both of Chicago, were selling their respective homes in 1997. In January, Dorota was assaulted and murdered by Runge. Ms. Paruch met her untimely end at the hand of Runge in March of the same year. In each case the victims were bludgeoned to death and their houses set ablaze. Their burned bodies were discovered after firefighters extinguished separate fires in their homes.
Yolanda Gutierrez, 35, and her 10-year-old daughter, Jessica Muniz, lived in a modest apartment on the northwest side of Chicago. Yolanda had placed an ad in a local classified to sell a “Hooked on Phonics,” instructional game that was no longer being used. Unfortunately, evil personified came calling that night in the form of Paul Runge. On January 31, 1997; Runge raped the mother and daughter, slit their throats then set them on fire.
In 2001 Runge, who was still incarcerated from the parole violation, was officially charged in the murders of Gutierrez & Muniz. Confronted with DNA evidence, Runge confessed to the murders of all 7 women. On 2/27/2006, Paul Runge was found guilty of murder and on 6/5/2006 Judge Joseph Kazmierski sentenced him to death. However, in Illinois a death sentence is simply a symbolic gesture. A moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois has been in effect since Gov. George Ryan halted executions in the state shortly before he left office. Prosecutors were later allowed to resume seeking the death penalty in criminal cases, but the state legislature has not lifted the ban on carrying out a death sentence. Currently, a sentence of death in Illinois is actually a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
There is an old saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, what is it? The mere suggestion of Runge that anyone could consider him as anything other than a monster is preposterous. We here in the real world have always and will always judge each other based on our actions. In the words of our cinematic hero Forrest Gump, just as stupid is as stupid does; a monster is as a monster does.