BOISE – Death row inmate Paul Ezra Rhoades is denied a stay of execution. The Idaho death row inmate is now expected to die by lethal injection on Friday. This was the decision handed down by a federal magistrate judge Monday. Rhoades was convicted of killing three people and sentenced to death for two of the murders.
Articles from the local newspaper chronicled the series of events from all the way back in1987, when the town of Idaho Falls was living in fear. Two people were already dead, and then a local school teacher was found shot and tortured to death.
Susan Michelbacher was the last of Rhoades' victims in March of 1987. The 34 year old was discovered roughly eight miles west of Idaho Falls in lava rock and sage brush shot to death. Later an autopsy revealed Rhoades shot her eight times before she bled to death.
In February of that year, before he kidnapped and killed Michelbacher, 21 year old Stacy Baldwin was shot after being abducted while working at the Red Mini Barn a convenience store in Blackfoot. She put up a fight against her attacker, Rhoades tried to sexually assault her but she was able to flee, as she ran, he shot her in the back.
On March 17th Nolan Haddon was shot while working at Buck's convenience store in Idaho Falls. The 23 year old was a student at the time at a technical-vocational school. His body was found in the store's walk in cooler.
With three unsolved murders at the time, the residents of Idaho Falls were on high alert. "I think it's a frightening experience to have someone loose in the community who is a brutal killer," that was what Tom Campbel was quoted saying in an Idaho Statesman, he served as the Mayor of Idaho Falls.
Those who worked at Michelbacher's school, Eagle Rock Junior High were also in mourning. Vicky Ballock was a friend and colleague of Michelbacker was quoted in the news saying the deaths were unbelievable. "She was very determined and had a bubbly personality. It's going to be hard to go back to school," Ballock said.
A news article from back in 1987 said investigators revealed Susan Michelbacher was kidnapped at 7 in the morning, by someone who climbed into her unlocked van while she was in the grocery store. Her van was abandoned and found in the parking lot of Alberstons in east Idaho Falls.
Ten days later Paul Ezra Rhoades was arrested in Wells Nevada. He was 30 at the time and still lethargic from the meth he was on. Rhoades was barefoot when he made his initial court appearance, refusing to wear shoes or the slippers the jail provided.
Bingham County Deputy Paul Wilde was quoted in a news article saying, bullets recovered from the three victim's bodies had been fired from a gun confiscated when Rhoades was arrested.
Rhoades was extradited from Nevada to Idaho, was convicted in 1988 and was given two death sentences and a life in prison sentence for murder the murders of Stacy Baldwin, Nolan Haddon and Susan Michelbacher.
Since 1987, Paul Ezra Rhoades has communicated the way he feels about the murders to the Idaho Commission of Pardon and Parole. He said he has struggled with the guilt and remorse he feels for the deaths.